Beer Butt Chicken: A Blogiversary Dinner

Roast chicken is a like a little Thanksgiving in September. Or May Or whenever.

One year in the same apartment is a pretty serious relationship by New York standards.

And one year with the same blog? True commitment.

We recommended that you use the injector to get beer into the bird, not the cook.

Our first apartment anniversary came and went with our summer vacations – mine to visit family in Zamboanga City, Raphe’s to visit friends in Seattle. The event passed without fanfare. The blogiversary of Kensington Kitchen, however, will not be treated so lightly.  Now, we share with you one of our very favorite recipes – a dish we cook for friends and family, to celebrate small triumphs or comfort small losses.

Let’s go back to the beginning, shall we?

The chicken sits on this can of flat beer, onions, garlic and aromatic spices for two and a half hours

Cooking is what Raphe and I do best together – its been central to our relationship from the beginning  (his big line on our first date: “by the way, I make my own barbeque sauce.”  I was hooked.)   Writing is something that I feel compelled to do.  When I found my personal blog overrun by recipes and food musings – mostly inspired by the cooking Raphe and I were doing together – we started talking about offering our food to the world.  We settled into our cozy attic apartment, returned to the kitchen, adopted Snowball and somewhere along the way decided to start a blog. Thus, the Kensington Kitchen was born.

Getting the chicken to sit up on the damn can can be a challenge.

Which brings me to today’s recipe: roast chicken.  We’ve kept it to ourselves for so long, but it’s time to share.  We roast our chicken over a can of cheap American beer, but the result would be equally at home in any number of international cuisines.  My Filipino family shared lechon manok with rice and lechon sauce (a sweet gravy made from chicken or pork livers) more than once in the time I visited. A European family might serve their chicken with roast potatoes or ratatouille.  South Asian cuisine generally recommends cut up chicken rather than whole for marinating and roasting.   Raphe and I  usually eat ours southern American-style, with onion beer rice and gravy, spinach, green beans or sweet potatoes on the side.  In every version of roast chicken the general idea remains the same: rub down a chicken with oils, flavoring liquids and spices and cook it in dry low heat for a few hours.  The process yields crispy, spiced skin and juicy meat for immediate consumption and a carcass for stock afterwards.

Everybody wins.

More meat in the Kensington Kitchen

Recipe Notes

  1. Beer can roaster.  Roasters can be found at places like Target, Wal-Mart or Bed, Bath and Beyond.  Here’s one on

    A regular 12 oz can fits neatly in center. A shallow pan catches the drippings.

  2. Injector: We had a harder time locating an injector recently.  Specialty cooking stores should carry them.  Again, here’s one on

    Yes, our bird is getting a big shot full of beer. We recommend the cook sticks with a pint glass.

  3. Late.y, we’ve been using chickens with internal thermometers like Perdue’s Oven Stuffer.  If your chicken does not have a thermometer, then cook it until a “thermometer inserted into the inner thigh (close to but not touching the thigh bone) reads at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C)”. See All Recipes on Roasting Chicken.
  4. [update 12/31/11 – Thanks to Raphe’s Mom for the edit] You’ll notice that we’ve completely removed the top of the beer can to add the onions and garlic to the beer.  You’ll need a special can opener to do so – it cuts on the side of the can rather than the top.  Here’s one on   You can also use a soup can to get the wide mouth effect. Feel free to forgo the onions and garlic, though, if you can’t get them into a regularly opened can – the aromatics are nice, but the chicken still delicious without them.


Beer Butt Roast Chicken
Serves 4-6 or 2 with a week’s worth of leftovers
Prep time: overnight + 20 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients Local sources
Whole chicken, 3-7lbs ShopRite Brooklyn
12oz. can of beer Thrifty Beverage Center
1 onion, coarsely chopped I&D Interfoods
2-3 garlic cloves, sliced Eastern Fruit and Vegetables
Salt Various
Pepper Various
Paprika Various
Seasoning Prep
  1. Open up a can of cheap beer.  Leave it out over night.  If you forgot to open it the night before, just crack it open and proceed directly to step two.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and move the rack to the lowest level.  Add chopped onions and garlic to the flat beer.
  3. If you’re working without a partner, take a moment to mix salt, pepper and paprika in a small bowl for rubbing the chicken, so as not to touch spice jars with gross chicken hands later.
Chicken Prep
  1. Wash chicken and pat dry.   Remember to remove the bag o’ guts and wash the body cavity!  Save guts for stock or gravy.
  2. If you have a partner, rub down the chicken with olive oil.  Have your partner sprinkle on salt, pepper and paprika.  Rub spices into the skin. (If you’re doing this along, do this after position the chicken on the roasting stand/beer can.)
  3. Gently place the chicken on the beer can.  The can should fit neatly into the body cavity and the chicken should be supported by only the can and the drumsticks.
  1. Roast at 350 degrees F for the time indicated for your size chicken.  We use this chart.
  2. Remove roast from oven.  Cover with foil and let stand for 10-30 minutes before serving.  This is an excellent time to make gravy and sides.

One response

  1. Pingback: 2011 in the Kensington Kitchen | Kensington Kitchen

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