Beer Can Chicken with White Barbecue Sauce

, from Issue #88. February, 2020
Photography by Josh Griggs.
Beer Can Chicken with White Barbecue Sauce

A pretty hilarious way of cooking a chicken using a partially filled can of beer that is placed in the chicken’s cavity prior to cooking. It results in juicy, tender meat with a deeply golden skin.


Serves: 6


1 fresh chicken (I used Bostock Brothers)
1 can beer
2 whole peeled cloves garlic, lightly smashed
1 sprig herbs, e.g. thyme or rosemary 

Spice rub
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon each ground cumin, smoked paprika, English mustard powder and salt
4 teaspoons olive oil

To serve 
White Barbecue Sauce (see recipe below)
handful rocket (optional)


Spice rub: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Pat the chicken dry with kitchen towels. Rub the cavity with some of the spice rub then spread the remaining rub all over the skin of the chicken.

Drink or pour out a third of the beer then push the garlic and herbs into the can. Lower the chicken onto the can so it’s sitting upright with the can in the cavity. Place in a shallow heatproof dish and pour in enough water to cover the base of the dish.

Place the dish on the barbecue and lower the lid. Cook over a medium heat for about 1¼ hours, or until fully cooked, periodically adding more water to the dish so it doesn’t dry out.

When the chicken is cooked, remove from the heat. Leave the chicken to rest for 10 minutes then carefully remove the chicken from the can. Cut into pieces and serve with rocket and the white barbecue sauce.

White Barbecue Sauce

A tangy, creamy twist on a traditional tomato-based barbecue sauce. It's delicious with grilled chicken, pork, lamb, fish, burgers, potato salads, coleslaw, green salads, baked potatoes…

¾ cup good-quality mayonnaise (I used Best Foods)
2 tablespoons malt vinegar or apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons each runny honey, Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon hot mustard (I used Al Brown’s Old Yella Habanero Mustard)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon sea salt

Whisk everything together in bowl until smooth. Makes about 1 cup