Beer Can Chicken in the Oven

Posted on 29/01/2011 by Erock

You can cook beer can chicken in the oven? Well I wish I had thought of this idea sooner…it’s 49 degrees and the rain is blowing sideways in Seattle today. It’s high time we talk about moving the party off the back porch and making a beer can chicken in the oven.  And if you haven’t read our standard beer can chicken recipe, check it out first, Cuz.

Beer Can Chicken in the Oven

The Eagle Has Landed! Beer Can Chicken in the oven is a delicious dish for summertime grilling flavor all year long.

Yes, it is completely legal in most states to cook beer can chicken in the oven – just don’t tell the neighbors! Some people might scoff at taking a time-honored grill and bbq favorite and cooking it safely inside, but if it’s raining buckets outside who’s gonna know?

First a few observations:

  • If you don’t feel like wrangling the aluminum can, or feel weird about cooking with a beer can for any reason — go with a ceramic or metal vertical roaster for added stability in the oven. We have reviewed a number of these can racks and roasters.
  • If you have ever baked a chicken, and have taken a look at our Basic Beer Can Chicken Recipe, then you already know the drill. If you haven’t read through the basic recipe, or this killer oven beer can chicken recipe, take a minute to read those over. That covers the basics. Now, crack open a cold one and take a look at a few pointers, particular to the oven chicken tip. As in, don’t tip over the bird!

Tips for Beer Can Chicken in the Oven

Good idea to have a Beer Can Rack — this is one of those gizmos used to hold your beer can upright and stable on the grill. (We reviewed a few you can read about here.) This makes moving, rotating and removing the top heavy bird so much easier. Of course you can simply mount the chicken on the can, and use the legs and can as a kind of tripod…that’s how the original pit masters did beer can chicken. The problem is that when you slide your oven rack out the bird is a liable to tip over. Well, what the hell, it was time to clean the oven anyway, right?

  • Beer. Don’t forget your can of beer. If you are attempting this without a can-holder, it’s better to use a tall boy. (16 oz. Can) I used a can of Pilsner Urquell. Of course with a vertical roaster, such as the Poultry Pal or Sittin’ Chicken, you can fill up the chamber with wine, soda, fruit juice or whatever you prefer.
    NOTE: Always open the can first, and drain or drink about 1/3 of the beverage first. How you drain it is up to the cook.
  • Liquid Smoke. Without the benefit of hot coals and/or hickory chips on the grill, I took a tip from Mr. Steve Raichlen – author and Beer Can Chicken Guru – and added about a teaspoon and 1/2 of CedarHouse Liquid Smoke to the open beer can before putting the bird on top. The idea is to infuse the breast meat with some of that smoky flavor from the inside out. Careful! A little of this stuff goes a long way.
  • Basic Rub. I used the standard generic chicken rub, which you can grab from the earlier post on Rubs. Of course any rub you like will work, including the old school standby of: Salt, Ground Black Pepper and Paprika. I also applied a little butter to the breast, working it in before I applied the rub. Butter + Spice Rub + Beer = How could you go wrong?!
  • Want some more recipe ideas? The sky’s the limit, because there are hundreds of beer can chicken recipes.

Temperature and Cooking Time

Pre-heat to 400 degrees F. Put the bird in on the can for an initial 10 minutes, then reduce the temp to a nice even 350 for an hour. I find this gives the bird a nice crisp sear. After the initial blast at 400,  let the bird cook for about an hour, checked with your handy and ever-reliable meat thermometer. Cooking times may vary with your bird and oven, and it’s a good idea to rotate (gently!) the beer can chicken in the oven once or twice when you take a look.

You want the Dark meat to read at about 175, and breast meat at about 165.

Final Verdict.

Well it’s pretty darn easy to make the beer can chicken in the oven. In fact I think it was one of the best oven chickens I’ve ever made. The rub & butter combo created a rocking crispiness, with a solid back-beat of smokiness provided by the beer can and liquid smoke. I could have gone with a little bit more liquid smoke I think, but other than that, no regrets. I’m warm, dry, and I’m looking out at the wind and rain…and waiting for spring.

For variations on beer can chicken in the oven, you may also want to check out this post.

6 Responses to “Beer Can Chicken in the Oven”

  1. Carl

    14/03/2011 at 3:16 AM

    Okay there are lots of dry rub recipes out there .What ever recipe you use,
    not only on the skin but under the skin. I put a little lemon zest
    under the skin . I like to slow roast at 325 . For a 4 lbs chicken
    about 2 hrs 160 145 deg or until the juices run clear.

  2. Carl

    14/03/2011 at 3:19 AM

    that ia 160 165 deg

    • Allie

      28/06/2011 at 12:03 AM

      Thanks guys, I just about lost it liokong for this.

  3. Erock

    21/03/2011 at 6:52 PM

    Thanks Carl. I have a post I’m working on that works in lemon zest in the rub…sounds good to me!

  4. Melea

    11/07/2011 at 1:06 AM

    This sounds awesome. I’m definitely going to try it. Have you ever done this with cornish hens? I have a studio apartment with a smaller-than-average oven and a regular bird may be too large to stand up.

    • Erock

      11/07/2011 at 9:18 PM

      Indeed you CAN use a CAN to cook a game hen. The master of the art, Steve Raichlen even spells it out for you here…and of course his book “Beer Can Chicken” has a bunch of game hen stuff, some that even call for those airplane-sized orange juice cans! Here is an interesting root beer version. Check out our Resources page for links to this and other books.