Coq au Can: Beer Can Chicken

Where the heck did this idea come from? Must be the South. We New Yorkers are not that inventive when it comes to BBQ.

Some people call this "Beer Can Chicken", some call it "Beer Butt Chicken", but since I am such a snob, I will call it "Coq au Can". I knew you'd like that one.

The idea here is you stick a half full can of beer in the butt (or cavity) of the chicken so it stands up while cooking. You can do this with cola or root-beer if you don't like beer, I don't think it matters. I used Bud Light Lime, because I don't usually buy beer in cans, and that's all I had.

I truly don't get the concept here, but the kid next door was so excited that we were going to stick a can in a chicken's butt.

I made a nice dry spice rub consisting of:

1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp ground fennel seeds
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground black pepper

You can use any spices you like, garlic powder and paprika would probably be good, and fresh herbs would be a nice choice too.

I bought a fresh killed 5 lb. chicken from a local NJ farm, never frozen, no hormones, almost clucking, and couldn't wait to try this recipe.
The poor thing never imagined this would be his fate.

Here's how to do it:

Spill or drink half the can of beer or soda, so the can is only half full.

Spray PAM on the can so when the bird is done, the can comes out easily.

I stuck 2 sprigs of rosemary in the can with the beer.

Insert the can into the cavity to make a stand.

The cumbersome part is transferring the bird w/ the can to the grill, so a good idea is to prepare it outside close to your grill, so you don't have to travel far and drop the bird, like I almost did.

Rub the chicken all over with olive oil and pat the spice rub all over the skin.

Place the chicken with the can on indirect heat (I have an infrared flames) on medium heat and keep the temp around 350F. I shut the 3rd burner off to regulate the temperature.

Cooking time will depend on the size of the chicken. A 4 lb. bird should take about an hour and half.

Important* Don't open the grill for the first hour. Keep the lid closed.
After an hour check on the bird to see how it's doing. Mine was still there and doing fine.

Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness, the temperature should register 165F for leg meat.

Try and have someone there to help you take the chicken off the grill, because it is a challenge. You need tongs and 2 hands. Let rest half hour before slicing.

I am not sure if it was the spice rub, the free roaming fresh killed chicken or the silly beer can, but I swear, this was the best damn chicken we have ever had!


mil said…

Paul has been making that kind of chicken for years. It is delicious. Love your comments.
The JR said…
Cog au Can is a cute sophicated name.
Stacey we make these all the time, it IS the best damm chicken! Extremely juicy and the skin is nice and crispy. I would say invest in a holder, I have a double and single (very resonable)much easier to transport on and off the grill.
Karen said…
This is my favorite way to roast chicken. It's always SO moist and tender. I tried beer, cola, root beer and never could tell any difference, so now I just use an empty soda can and fill it halfway with water. Get yourself a rack that is made for this... much easier to keep steady.
Joanne said…
Coq au can. That sounds pretty damn gourmet. Way more gourmet than "beer can chicken". That just sounds trailer park even if it tastes gourmet.
Lori Lynn said…
I've been meaning to try this, now that it has a fancy schmancy name, I will, sooner than later.
Ellen (SIL) said…
coq au can.. you are a riot. Will you write a book already?
Oui, Chef said…
Coq au Can is very clever, but Beer-Butt Chicken wins with me! I too have read about this technique, but never given it a try. With your endorsement, I'll have to try it soon. The kid next door was a boy, yes? Boys get all giggly about butts of any sort. - S
mil said…
I agree with SIL....
Patty Price said…
What a beauty! Great to hear how much you like it because I have been wanting to try this method to BBQue a bird for quite a spell;-)
lisa is cooking said…
I love coq au can. I even bought the grill tray with connected cans from Williams Sonoma. You can grill two chickens at once if you want, and it's easy to put on the grill and remove. I was a snob too though. I filled the cans with white wine and rosemary!
Ann from IL said…
You crack me up. I've made this before, but yours looks SO much better. Thanks for the laughs and the new ideas.
Foodiewife said…
I've wanted to make this, as I see this recipe all over blogsphere. That you confirmed it was delicious is the final straw. If were every get past our grey skies, and see su again, we're digging out the weber!
Ramona from Switzerland said…
Dear Stacey

I made your coq au can last evening for dinner and it was a huge succes!! Very juicy and tender :) Thanks!!!