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May 29, 2007 05:41 PM

Beer Can Chicken - is it safe?

Okay, I have been wanting to make "beer butt chicken" for awhile but my boyfriend says he won't eat it because of all the dyes on the aluminum cans and the toxic chemicals they will produce when heated.

Is there any truth to this? Has anyone come up with a solution that would produce the same result but not use an actual beer can? I was thinking a really clean tin can with beer in it... But I really don't know.

Any thoughts?

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  1. There's always this:

    Works fine, but I wouldn't fear the beer can either.

    3 Replies
    1. re: sweetpotater

      that looks so cool...i just might have to buy it...thanks

      the blurb mentions "up to a 12 pound chicken"...yikes, that's one big chic!!!

      1. re: kleinfortlee

        Somebody gave us one as a housewarming gift. It actually works very well indeed!

      2. re: sweetpotater

        This is what I use, got it as a gift and it's great. I've used it in the oven and on the grill w/wonderful results. The liquid you choose dosn't seem to matter.

        I also received this one for cooking turkey, again best results I've ever had cooking turkey.

      3. Steven Raichlen who wrote the book on beer can chicken has said himself that it's safe. Basically, the ink is applied at 500 degrees. In the cooking process, you'll never go above 212 degrees if you follow that process. In other words, you can't get hot enough to get the dyes to revert back to a gaseous or liquid form - no seepage.

        As the other poster suggests, there are always the kits (Mr. Raichlen makes one himself) that allow you to encase the beer can if this is a sticking point.

        4 Replies
          1. re: meltedcheese

            sounds too simple to me... (j/k)...such a practical solution, seems like a good idea whether it is necessary or not

            1. re: meltedcheese

              Yes, but some people also want to avoid their food having with aluminum.

            2. re: Stephmo

              The beer can will probably be exposed to well more than 212 of heat. The grill is much hotter than that, and generally some part of the exterior of the can is exposed to direct heat. But I agree that there is probably no reason for concern -- particularly when you factor in that grilling itself is not e very healthy way to cook.

            3. Go For It !!! It is safe, lets all stop being so cautious, while you are at it, drink from the garden hose and toss out the bottled water !!

              3 Replies
              1. re: Jimbosox04

                I say go for it as well. I really hate it when these overpriced cookware stores like Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table make something like this fancy beer can chicken cooker for $30. The whole point here is that you have something around, like beer, and use the can for something else. Pretty soon they'll come up with a stainless steel coffee can to bake Boston brown bread in and charge $40.

                1. re: oakjoan

                  But coffee cans are too small now for my mom's recipe for BBB!

                  1. re: oakjoan

                    I got the W-S vertical roaster on clearance a few years ago (Who pays full price for things at W-S, anyway? :-) ) and I really love it. The base makes a fine basket for grilling veggies, and the bird is more stable and much easier to handle. I never worried about toxins leaching from the can as much as I worried about the bird falling over or losing it when trying to move it from the grill to the plate.

                2. I make beer can chicken alllll the time and it's always delish. Never had a problem with a tinny taste or any of the dyes.

                  Also I usually add a peice of ginger into the beer for another aromatic :)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: starlady

                    I'll definitely drop some ginger and garlic into the can next time. As other people have said, I don't think it matters what liquid you use. We seldom have beer around and usually use Coke. I've also used La Croix lemon fizzy water. What you put on the chicken (I put Stubb's rub all over it, under the skin, and inside too) seems to matter more.
                    I love to make beer can chicken--fun, easy, always comes out moist and tender. I read about a guy who made a contraption that could hold up to six chickens at once! Now that's a party!

                    1. re: Jimmy Buffet

                      Worth it? You bet your can it's worth it. It's some of the most tender, succulent chicken ever to come off my grill. Sometimes I use a can of frozen pink lemonade instead of beer and we like that even better.

                        1. re: greenstate

                          Frozen pink lemonade? Is that concentrate, or actual soda (Minute Maid?) that's been frozen?

                          ETA: Or a beer can emptied and refilled with pink lemonade. Sometimes I am really dense... at least I didn't try freezing a can of soda *cough* again *cough*.

                          1. re: dietfoodie

                            Frozen pink lemonade concentrate is something I always have, so one day I pulled it out of the freezer, stuck the chicken on top of it, and baked. Necessity is the mother of invention!

                            1. re: greenstate

                              I am totally going to try that next time I do a chicken! You didn't have any issues with the paper container melting or anything? (I can't afford another fiery grill disaster until everyone's forgotten the last one.)

                              1. re: greenstate

                                Interesting! However, in my town, pink lemonade comes in a cardboard can with metal ends. That, I'd have to pass on.

                          2. re: Jimmy Buffet

                            As a native New Yorker now living in Texas, I never ate beer can chicken until a few weeks ago. Bone Daddy's, which is a pedestrian barbecue chain more known for skimpily clad waitresses than food, had been overflowing with diners since it opened near the DFW airport a couple of months ago. You can't even find a parking spot in the lot because of the crowd. We wanted to see what all the fuss was about. (I do think it is about the young girls, and not the food.) So, my husband and I tried it because it seemed like it could be one of the best things on the menu. Apparently it is --juicy, flavorful, and, hopefully, really cooked using a beer can. At least that's what they said, but who knows? Their kitchen might be stocked with dozens of WS's imitation beer can chicken holders for all I know. I was so surprised at how good it was that we are going to try to cook it at home on the grill one of these nights.