Beer Butt Chicken

I first came across this recipe last year when I overheard a conversation in the local pub with some people who had just returned from a trip to America.  I thought it sounded really unusual and thought they must be making it up!  Not long after though, I bought Jamie Oliver’s book “Jamie’s America” and there it was again, I had a quick look at the list of ingredients, spotted that I had everything in so said I’d give it a go. 

The beer in the can creates steam which helps to cook the chicken from the inside so you end up with chicken that’s unbelievably moist and absolutely delicious.  Of course, when the family saw the chicken sitting on the can ready to go in the oven, they thought I’d lost the plot, but they were eating their words once they’d tasted it.  Since then, I’ve cooked it lots of times.

The spice rub I’ve used here is the one from Jamie Oliver’s recipe, it’s not essential but we like it, which is why I’ve listed it here!

What you need:

  • Large chicken (about 1.5kg, but in the pictures I used a 1.3kg chicken)
  • Can of Lager (I use Aldi Lager but you can use any
  • Roasting Tin

For the Rub you will also need:

  • 1 heaped tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 level tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 level tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 heaped tsp brown sugar
  • 1 level tsp mild chilli powder
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil


In a pestle & mortar bash up the fennel and cumin seeds.  Mix with the paprika, brown sugar, chilli powder, salt and pepper.  Stir in about 3 tbsp olive oil (enough to make a nice paste).

 My little assistant preparing the rub

Open your can of beer and place in the centre of your roasting tin.  Pour out about half into a glass and leave to one side.

Lower the chicken’s cavity onto the top of the can so it looks like the chicken is sitting on the can.

Now.  This is where Jamie and I have different ideas, he says to drizzle the rub all over the chicken using your hands inside and out to make sure you get inside all the nooks and crannies.  I on the other hand use a silicone basting brush as I think it’s a bit gross, it’s up to you!

Place the roasting tin into the oven (carefully as it can topple over VERY easily), this should take about 1hr 10mins – 1hr 30mins to cook.

Oh, I forgot to tell you what to do with the left over beer.  Well, you drink it!  Enjoy!


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