Drunken Chicken

The mention of “drunken chicken” serves as a great conversation starter, especially when talking with someone who’s never tried it.

The names for this dish vary: “beer can chicken” . . . “beer butt chicken” . . . “chicken on the throne” and even “violated chicken.” 

The first time I had chicken fixed this way, our host cooked it outside on a grill. That’s the more popular way to fix it. But, because the weather has gotten cooler, with earlier sunsets, I resorted to the oven. 

This is so easy to prepare. You’ll find it produces the moistest and most tender chicken ever, even if you leave the bird on a little too long. The beer adds moisture and keeps the chicken from drying out, while the skin gets nice and crispy. When done, the meat practically falls off of the bone.

It requires few ingredients — a chicken, a can of beer and some favorite herbs and spices. With gluten-free beer hard to find in cans, I poured a bottle of brew into a recycled 15-ounce can.

Ingredients: Serves 2-4

1 four-pound chicken
1 bottle of gluten free beer (Redbridge by Anheuser-Busch)
1-¼ teaspoon of paprika

1-¼ teaspoon of salt
1-¼ teaspoon of dry mustard
¾-teaspoon of ground pepper


Remove the upper rack from the oven and place the other rack in the lowest position. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place a piece of aluminum foil in the bottom of the baking dish or pan to simplify cleanup.

Using a 15-ounce can, fill it with beer and set in the baking dish. For the rub, mix all of the dry ingredients in a small bowl.

Remove the neck and giblets from the chicken. Rinse and then pat dry. Season the chicken with the rub on all sides and carefully set your bird over the can. To do this, hold the legs apart and slide the chicken over the can. It will balance in an upright position. Carefully transfer the pan to the oven and bake for one hour. 

When done cooking, let the chicken rest for 10 minutes and then lift off of the can. It’s ready to serve.