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Beer Can Chicken - Shots fired

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  • Troutman
    Club Member
    • Aug 2017
    • 7197






    The only thing funnier than that Nate ;

    ...is this, yea I already booked MY venue .....


    • klflowers
      klflowers commented
      Editing a comment
      Texas looks like my kind of state.
  • Spinaker
    • Nov 2014
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    I feel like the whole "it just tastes more moist, I don't know why."

    Seems like a placebo effect to me. If you will it, it shall be.


    • Murdy
      Murdy commented
      Editing a comment
      Another theory, the can plugging up the chicken prevents air from circulating through the abdominal cavity, reducing the drying effect, and also, less air means less convection means less heat means less drying???

    • surfdog
      surfdog commented
      Editing a comment
      Murdy I suppose that could be part of it...but I still think time & temps are a bigger factor. My vertical roasted or rotisseried (<real word?) chickens don’t turn out dry despite not having a beverage stuffed into them...thus maximum air flow.

      Many “Oven people” tend to cook by time as Spinaker noted. Grillers, Q’ers, and “better” cooks tend to be more aware of temps. Temps don’t lie.

    • Steve R.
      Steve R. commented
      Editing a comment
      Murdy, based on that explanation, I think you have hit upon the reason that spatchcocking is a terrible way to cook chicken because it dries it out.
  • mountainsmoker
    Banned Former Member
    • Jun 2019
    • 1851
    • Bryson City, NC

    I happen to like Steven Raichlen and tape his show Project Fire. Don't do beer can chicken. Have several of his books.


    • Donw
      Donw commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you for supporting Maryland Public Television, the PBS producer of his shows.🙂

    • HawkerXP
      HawkerXP commented
      Editing a comment
      We also record his shows. Some are very interesting. I like when the staff get down on him.

    • Troutman
      Troutman commented
      Editing a comment
      His was the first actual bbq book I ever bought. I still cook a lot of the recipes from it. He doesn’t bother me but does have some strange ideas sometimes.
  • Attjack
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    I have this book and yet I don't do beer can chicken. Maybe should do 2 chickens in the near future side by side? One spatchcocked and one canned?

    Click image for larger version

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    • Grapefarmer
      Grapefarmer commented
      Editing a comment
      for a few years I used to do beer can but now spatchcock as I get a much better tasting chicken and if done correctly is as juicy as beer can chicken.

    • Greygoose
      Greygoose commented
      Editing a comment
      How ‘bout 1 lager,1 porter,1 IPA, 1 bock,1 stout, 1 ale,1 Old Gran Dad, a Bud ,a Tecate, and a Lone Star, acouple of chicken wings

    • Troutman
      Troutman commented
      Editing a comment
      You could use it as kindling
  • fzxdoc
    Founding Member
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    I don't get the hype of Beer Can Chicken. I think it may be something that has a bit of caché--you know, beer and whatever goes with it...OK, chicken works.

    People have been using alcoholic beverages to flavor food for centuries; nothing new about that. With this, it's the thermodynamics of the setup that is bothersome. If the beer truly got hot enough to boil and then was actually capable of flavoring the chicken, that would be one thing. But instead the liquid inside the cold chicken acts as a heat sink--or vice-versa, at least in my experience back in the day (as in before AR).

    Still, I remember the incredibly hot Matthew McConaughey talking about beer can chicken and he almost had me convinced. OK, that guy is so cute, he may be able to convince me about almost anything (Note to my dear husband: don't read this part). Maybe it's that Texas drawl. But I digress...


    Anyway, it's not the verticality of the chicken, it's about an inserted small jug of flavorful juice that's supposed to theoretically heat to boiling before the cold chicken actually starts to cook. Makes me want to dig out a couple Fireboard thermometer probes, put one in the beer and the other in the chicken and see what the readings turn out to be. Oh wait: Meathead and Dr. Blonder already did that.

    The thing about Raichlen, for me, is that he's not as scientific about food as I would like him to be. Enter Meathead. Thanks for all you do, Meathead .

    Last edited by fzxdoc; July 31, 2019, 08:55 PM.


    • Troutman
      Troutman commented
      Editing a comment
      My name is Matthew McConaughey

    • fzxdoc
      fzxdoc commented
      Editing a comment

    • Steve B
      Steve B commented
      Editing a comment
      What a great reply. You’re always on point. Love it. 👊
  • Meathead
    • May 2014
    • 1345
    • Chicago area
    • Remember, no rules in the bedroom or kitchen

    I am a fan of Steven. When the article first appeared, another person's byline was on it and if you read it it speaks of SR in the third person. I am pretty sure it was written by someone else on his team.

    1) Cut the bird up. It cooks faster, loses less moisture, and browns all over. With a can up its butt the cavity can't brown
    2) With a can up its butt the heat must travel farther to cook the rib cage to safe temp and in the process the outer layers are overcooked.
    3) Cut it up and you can cook each piece to perfect temp.
    4) jecucolo So if you steam the beer it cannot go through the sides of the can. It will steam ONLY a small amount of meat beneath the shoulder. And yum, I love steamed chicken.

    Vertical roasters are NOT the same as a can filled with liquid. They're ok. I prefer to cut up the biird.

    He has a book and a device to sell. No wonder "it just tastes more moist, I don't know why."

    I think I dealt with this thoroughly in my article with Dr. Blonder. https://amazingribs.com/beer-can-chicken
    The ONLY reason to stick a can up a chicken's butt is because it looks cool.


    • binarypaladin
      Club Member
      • May 2017
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      "Here I must rely on experience: beer can chicken just tastes moister than most conventional roast chicken. Scientifically, I can’t explain why."

      While I have no problem with this when it comes to personal preference, there are dozens of reasons perception and experience colors taste in ways that cannot be measured by our current tools, you cannot use that as a basis for "debunking" anything. This is basically the taste equivalent of the placebo effect.

      If the guy could tell the difference in a double blind test between one with a beer can and and one without a beer can with consistency, maybe there would be something to this. However, I'm guessing he knows when there's beer involved and it colors his "experience."

      Vertical roasting is good, but for home-cooked chicken, hanging PBC-style is easily my favorite method. (Does this count as vertical roasting?)

      Also, I need a rotisserie.


      • RichieB
        Club Member
        • Apr 2018
        • 1401
        • Western Mass

        I've done bcc many times. Have 2 vertical roasters. I like the results. Moist, crisp, and rather tasty. Going food shopping tommrow. Guess I'll get a roaster and stick a can up its butt. Haven't done it in awhile.


        • Troutman
          Troutman commented
          Editing a comment
          Might I suggest a nice IPA with that?

        • RichieB
          RichieB commented
          Editing a comment
          No double IPA. That's to drink I'll buy a single of a cheap beer to stuff up the butt.
      • Polarbear777
        Club Member
        • Sep 2016
        • 1691

        Just remove the large heat sink that blocks airflow and it works pretty well. ;-)

        I’ve always had better results with spatchcocked birds or in parts, but sometimes laziness wins and hanging them whole in the PBC wins due to convenience and about 90% as good.


        • mountainsmoker
          Banned Former Member
          • Jun 2019
          • 1851
          • Bryson City, NC

          fzxdoc You mentioned that you would prefer if Steven Raichlen was more technical. In some ways that is true. But he is a Cordon Blue trained chef and that makes up for it in that he understands the mixing of flavors better than Meathead as far as I have seen so far in going through the recipes on here. I am down through Turkey's on here and have gone thru all of SR recipes on his online site which is more extensive.


          • Meathead
            Meathead commented
            Editing a comment
            I should clarify: He studied at LCB in Paris.

          • Meathead
            Meathead commented
            Editing a comment
            I should also point out that understanding that beer cannot steam at 160F and that it cannot penetrate aluminum of muscle is not really complex modern food science.

          • surfdog
            surfdog commented
            Editing a comment
            Le Cordon Bleu..? Meh
            One of my Bachelors Degrees came from LCB. And I not only refer to @Meatheads book more often than the two I have from Mr. Raichlen...but I think he’s done more for the avid griller. Just look at that beer can contraption. I lost a lot of respect when I saw that. “Sure, you can use my name on it...so long as the numbers are right.” Phooey

            The only product I know of that has Meathead’s “endorsement” is the Thermoworks ThermoQ...and that’s not exactly marketed to the masses.
        • treesmacker
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          I've just never been that good with chicken, and I've done beer can, spatchcooked, pieces, wings, legs, thighs, breast, vertical electric rotisserie - all of it. Now, spatchcooked whole or just breast done sous vide and then browned and crisp by searing... that's my method for best moist chicken. No beer can - it didn't impress me! I think a good rotisserie would make second best. Kinda off the subject, but I'm surprised no one brought sous vide into the conversation.


          • Potkettleblack
            Potkettleblack commented
            Editing a comment
            @Tree: TV is a perfected world. If you want messy reality, there’s a YouTube for that.

          • surfdog
            surfdog commented
            Editing a comment
            SV can be a magical thing. I used them in a commercial kitchen and never understood why someone would want one at home. Then I got one. That said, it only gets used a couple time a year.

            As for the thermometer thing. Editing IS magic. ;-)

          • Willy
            Willy commented
            Editing a comment
            @Meathead: America's Test Kitchen must have one of those thermometers too--every time they measure a temp it's spot on target. My wife and I have been laughing about this phenomena for years. Now I know. Thanks!
        • JimLinebarger
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          • Jun 2017
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            About me
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          Logical, practical thinking sometimes goes out the window especially when "traditions" are concerned. Beer-can chicken is no exception. As I pondered the boiling/steaming point of a liquid, I started looking at the logistics of the idea.

          The average beer can is about 5" tall and about 3" in diameter unless using the taller ones, whatever they are called (I'm a non-drinker but that is another story.) The cavity of the chicken has varying dimensions. IF the cavity is the same size as the can, the top of the can is wedged right up to the inside with little to no room for air let alone steam. A beer can has a small opening which is set more to one side of the can (or edge rather since it is round). This opening is ¾" to 1" max. That means in a same size cavity, only the area directly above the opening would get the steam. But the inside of a chicken has a membrane of some sort that covers the bones. The steam would have to penetrate the membrane first. Then it has to penetrate all of those bones to get to the edible breast meat. Also, if it gets past all of that, it would only flavor/moisten the outside of that specific breast, or portion of the breast.

          Even if you heated the beer prior to insertion, and you had head room above the beer can, and the steam passed through the membrane and bones, it would still only “flavor” or “moisten” the outside of the top of the breasts. It would never penetrate the meat. At least not in the time frame of the cook, even if done low and slow.

          It’s a gimmick, looks cool, but it does free up space for more stuff to grill. And all of those seasonings in SR recipes will make the chicken taste good. I spatchcock or half chickens now more than I rotisserie. I would need to get a stand for upright cooking. Or just hang it in the PBC on the turkey hanger.


          • Meathead
            Meathead commented
            Editing a comment
            Absolutely correct! And remember the meat in the headspace is cool so vapors condense on it and flow back into the can.

          • surfdog
            surfdog commented
            Editing a comment
            Got it in one! LOL
        • Old Glory
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          I have done the beer can thing back in the day when it first was the new thing to do. The chicken did come out great and was super most. It was fun and did look cool. I hated the mess of dealing with a hot can of gross beer. Then I bought a vertical roaster and solved that issue. I have spatchcocked and done rotisserie chickens all have been great. (Some day I will get a PBC and try that).

          Out of all the chickens I have had nothing beats my Mom's oven roasted chicken with homemade gravy and mashed potatoes.


          • Meathead
            • May 2014
            • 1345
            • Chicago area
            • Remember, no rules in the bedroom or kitchen

            Again, let me cut to the chase: Beer Can Chicken tastes GREAT! That's because it is roast chicken and roast chicken is always GREAT if you don't overcook it. BUT the beer and the can have NOTHING to do with it and in fact hamper it from being better. All the details are described in my article. The fact that SR, a man whom I admire immensely, has acknowledged some of the flaws but not all of them is frustrating, but understandable since he wrote a book about the method. It is really hard to say "I was wrong".


            • klflowers
              klflowers commented
              Editing a comment
              My wife has no problem with saying I was wrong. Wait, you are right, what she says is YOU were wrong (meaning me, of course)
          • ComfortablyNumb
            Club Member
            • May 2017
            • 3255
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            First off, let me make it clear I don't have a dog in this fight. I don't own any Steven Raichlen cookbooks (in fact, I don't own any cookbooks) nor have I seen his show other than brief flips through the channels. I have neither love nor loathe for him. As for Meathead I've read some of his cookbook (checked it out at library) and have benefitted from this site. And as much as I have enjoyed and benefitted from the site, I'm going to say in this instance I have to disagree with one thing.

            SR does not need to say, "I was wrong."

            Because SR said, "It's fun! There's whimsey and irreverence to roasting a chicken upright on a can of beer. It's fun to see, fun to do, and fun to serve."

            He's not saying it is scientifically the best way to cook, in fact he says he can't even explain it. He's saying it's fun, at least for him, and it turns out the way he likes it. Since it's fun for him, and nobody gets sick or dies from eating it, it isn't 'wrong'.

            I did make Beer Can Chicken a few times a few decades ago. It was an amusing novelty, the chicken came out fine, but wasting a beer, even a cheap beer, got the best of me and I quit making it. And I can see how, at a party, it would be fun. Everyone watches the cook shove a can of beer up the chicken's vent (technically they don't have an 'butt') and stands around shooting the breeze while watching it cook. Then they all eat a "GREAT" tasting chicken because it is roasted chicken and all go home happy. It may not have been the 'best' way to cook it, nor did it make sense scientifically, but they had fun and nobody got hurt. I don't see a need to criticise that, nor should any apologies be necessary.

            It's my opinion (which coupled with a dollar won't get you coffee at Starbucks) that we should cook however we choose to do and not worry about how someone else chooses to. And I encourage trying different methods to find the one that you like the best. If you're like me you'll wind up taking a little from here, and a little from there coming up with your own.


            • Willy
              Willy commented
              Editing a comment
              Raichlen's current financial interest is selling the device that holds the beer can and the chicken. I suspect he also sells more of his BCC cookbook in conjunction with that device.


            • ComfortablyNumb
              ComfortablyNumb commented
              Editing a comment
              Willy Seriously? LOL, I'm sure at $16 he's not challenging Bezos or Gates. Interesting are the reviews, the majority are happy with it and the results. Hell, even Meathead says "BCC chicken tastes great" and Huskee says it "makes good chicken" Besides, Raichlen says it's whimsical and fun. I'm almost sold! Regardless, I don't see a need for a pissing match over it, nor anyone apologising for how THEY cook THEIR chicken.

            • Huskee
              Huskee commented
              Editing a comment
              I don't see a pissing match here, let's please keep it that way. Cook what you like and we'll all discuss the merits of what's great and not so great..



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          Our Favorite Backyard Smoker


          The amazing Karubecue is the most innovative smoker in the world. The quality of meat from this machine is astonishing. At its crux is a patented firebox that burns logs above the cooking chamber and sucks heat and extremely clean blue smoke into the thermostat controlled oven. It is our favorite smoker, period.

          Click here for our review of this superb smoker

          Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker


          This is the first propane smoker with a thermostat, making this baby foolproof. Set ThermoTemp's dial from 175° to 350°F and the thermostat inside will adjust the burner just like an indoor kitchen oven. All you need to do is add wood to the tray above the burner to start smokin'.

          Click here to read our detailed review

          Digital Thermometers Are Your Most Valuable Tool And Here's A Great Buy!


          A good digital thermometer keeps you from serving dry overcooked food or dangerously undercooked food. They are much faster and much more accurate than dial thermometers. YOU NEED ONE!

          Click here to read our complete review

          Track Up To Six Temperatures At Once


          FireBoard Drive 2 is an updated version of a well-received product that sets the standard for performance and functionality in the wireless food thermometer/thermostatic controller class.

          Click here for our review of this unique device

          The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted


          Napoleon's NK22CK-C Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It's hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the NK22CK-C a viable alternative.

          Click here for more about what makes this grill special

          Finally, A Great Portable Pellet Smoker


          Green Mountain's portable Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it's also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Davy Crocket from your smart phone or laptop.

          Click here to read our detailed review and to order