Beer-Can Chicken With Lemon Verbena & Thyme

I’ve been enjoying this method of preparing chicken for years now. I have yet to find anyone not like it…what’s not to like about moist chicken with crispy skin? Beer can chicken works as such: open a can of beer, drink about 1/3 of the beer, you may add add aromatics into the beer like herbs, garlic, etc. The chicken is placed on to the beer can (up into the cavity) and the beer can plus the two legs act as a tripod. The chicken stands in your grill or oven in an upright position and the magic begins.

What’s happening here is the beer steams inside the chicken’s cavity, leaving you with a moist chicken, perfumed lightly with the aroma and flavour of the beer and anything else you added to the can. The skin becomes crispy, golden-brown. This is one of my favourite ways to prepare roast chicken and the method can easily be adapted to roasting in your home’s oven.

If using your gas or charcoal grill, beer can chicken works with indirect heat. You want one side of your grill to have heat and the other to be without any heat source. The beer-can chicken is placed on the side with no heat and the lid is closed. What now occurs is a circulation of heat – much like what happens in a conventional oven. Conversely, beer can chicken can also be done in your oven with placement of the bird simply being on the lower-middle rack.

In both cases, a drip pan must be used as fat renders and some liquid from within the can may still bubble out (that’s really why you drink a 1/3 of the beer). You don’t want fat flare-ups occuring in your grill and you certainly don’t to create a mess in your oven either! There are many stands for beer can chicken out there…tailored for both outdoor and indoor (oven) use. This simple beer can holder works well in both instances.

The dressing of your bird is really up to you and I change-up the flavours depending on my mood, what herbs are available to me. On this occasion I used lemon verbena and thyme, both from my garden. Chicken (poultry) loves lemon and I always squeeze lemon juice on my chicken. I also like to add the same flavourings into the beer can.

Today, I’m using garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, sweet paprika, lemon juice, lemon verbena and thyme. As a side, I made some garlic-mashed potatoes and served a side of steamed broccoli and cauliflower tossed in extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and chopped fresh chives.

Beer-Can Chicken With Lemon Verbena & Thyme

1 whole roaster chicken
1/2 small lemon

1 tsp. sweet paprika
2  tsp. fresh thyme
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon verbena, chopped
1 clove of garlic, smashed
1 clove of garlic, minced
approx. 1 Tbsp. olive oil
coarse sea alt and fresh ground pepper

1 can of beer

  1. Rinse and pat-dry your chicken. In a bowl, add your olive oil, minced garlic, paprika, thyme and lemon verbena and reserve. Light your BBQ and only have 1 burner lit with the lid closed and adjust the dial so that you get a BBQ temperature of approx/ 350-375F. Open your can of beer, drink a 1/3 of it and place into the stand. Insert any aromatic you like into the beer (I added the smashed clove of garlic, the leftover lemon peel, some thyme sprigs and lemon verbena leaves).
  2. Put the chicken, stand and drip-tray in the side of the BBQ that’s not lit. Close your BBQ and allow the chicken to roast for about 80-90 minutes or until an internal temp. of 180F is reached or juices run clear.
  3. Check the chicken every-so often in case of BBQ hot spots and rotate the bird to roast & colour evenly. Allow your chicken to rest for 15 minutes before carving and serve.
  4. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes, steamed cauliflower and broccoli. Serve with a Kir Yianni Petra Roditis white.

*Beer can chicken is just as easy – middle rack position, pre-heated 375F oven, place chicken on beer can stand on a tray to catch drippings.

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© 2007-2010 Peter Minakis

© 2010,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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30 Comments for “Beer-Can Chicken With Lemon Verbena & Thyme”

Karen

says:

It’s the season for Beer-Can Chicken!
We all love to cook and eat it at our house…

Βarbara Tavlaridou

says:

O νονος μου μενει στον Καναδα και λεγεται Σπυρος Μεταλληνος.Οταν μας εφτιαξε τον κοτοπουλο με αυτον τον τροπο ολοι εντυπωσιαστηκαμε……..Ηταν παννοστιμο και νομιζαμε πως ηταν δικη του πατεντα……Χμμ τωρα ομως καταλαβα πως καπου το ειδε εκει στον Καναδα και το αντεγραψε..οπως και ναχει ομως ειναι μια σπεσιαλιτε αξια συγχαρητηριων…………….

says:

That is so cool Peter! I don’t know who came up with that idea, but he/she is a genius. I love the combination of flavours and the golden crispy skin.

says:

I know it’s about the moist inside, but the skin looks great!! I’ve always wanted to try this but have not yet. Did you ever try it with wine…I saw somewhere that someone filled an empty can with wine. I guess it imparts a different flavor.

says:

Yummmm….we are big fans of beer can chicken. Especially in the summer when we do not want to turn on the oven. Yours looks particularly wonderful!

Merryn

says:

This looks great! I’ve not heard of this at all in Australia but will definitely be firing up the BBQ on Saturday afternoon to try this delectable offering. Thanks for the inspiration Peter.

says:

It is such a great way to do chicken. Have you tried doing it with a can of artichoke hearts? You end up with some tasty chicken fat artichoke hearts as a side.

Costas Metallinos

says:

I make beer can chicken several times a year on the BBQ during the summer, but never in an oven. It’s definitely better than rotisserie chicken. Barbara, for the record, you should know that your godfather learned to make this dish from his Canadian-born son. Say hi to Thano for me.

says:

I have the beer-can chicken bookmarked to make for years. The problem is that we do not buy the beer in cans, only bottles. I have to really plan ahead with this one, because I heard only good reports. And your chicken looks so beautifully crisped up and browned.

says:

Εντυπωσιάστηκα από το κόλπο με την μπύρα!!!
Peter ‘ερχομαι στον Καναδά να μου κάνεις το τραπέζι;-)
Φιλιά!

says:

Delicious Peter! I’ve only ever done this once before but really liked it especially like the fact that the chicken gets a golden brown all over………crispy skin = yummy!!

says:

Mr Minakis, this is utter torture to look at! I think beside the steaming happening, the fact that the fat runs off the skin results in extra crispy skin too!! Love the verbena!

says:

If you are cooking for Coeliacs/Celiacs (for whom gluten is a darn right nasty) then drink the all of the can of beer, rinse the can very well and then continue with the recipe – only replace the beer element of your ingredients with a favourite wine in the beer can. While the results will have a different flavour they wiil still be delicious, and the Celiacs will love you!

Eleni

says:

I have never seen anything like this before! It looks great and I think my family will love it…thanks Peter!

says:

Yes, that is a fun way to roast chickens. Doing my first beer can chicken (minus any actual beer) was such a switch up from my usual method of spatchcocking. Less messy too.

Thyme is a staple in my kitchen, but I’m not sure I’ve ever used lemon verbena. Must try…