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Oct 4, 2008 07:42 AM

Dixie Chicken Cooker (for beer can chicken)

A Dixie Chicken Cooker is a ceramic deep dish with a ceramic cylinder built into the center. The idea, of course, is to fill the cylinder with liquid, set the bird on it and make "beer can chicken" in the oven. My question is, does anyone out there have one of these (or similar) and has any advice/recipes? I have followed the directions on the box, but my chicken never browns very well, and the remaining liquid/drippings aren't nearly as flavorful as traditional roasting. Any thoughts? Thanks!

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  1. I use a stainless steel device similar to yours. I rub the chicken with paprika and kosher salt, and jam it upright onto the SS cup with no beer or extra liquid. Then it is roasted (offset from the heat) for 50 minutes in a very hot charcoal Weber, lid on, turned once. This works well, though the juices may be slightly smokey, but they will make a good gravy if I have time.

    In winter I do much the same thing in a 500 F oven. Lower temperatures will not brown the skin.

    1. It is a variation on the beer can method. If I remember correctly, there is a wide base at the bottom of the cooker, essentially a platform upon which the upright chicken will sit. While this adds considerable stability over a regular beer can (in which you need to balance the can and the chicken's two legs in a tripod formation in order to remain upright), the downside, I would imagine, is that the chicken in the cooker is getting indirect heat only and doesn't get the browning benefit that a chicken cooked using a beer can might because the base is between the chicken and the grill.

      What I do is use a mostly full can of beer, not the kind with plastic insulation, and place the chicken/can in the middle of my three burner Weber gas grill. I light all three burners, then set the middle one, (the one directly under the chicken) to the "off" position and the two outer burners to low/medium. This manages to result in a great chicken with incredible browning. I would think the cookers that are sold would not brown as well because the heat doesn't reach the chicken at all in a direct way since the base blocks it.

      4 Replies
      1. re: RGC1982

        You are correct, the base blocks the heat from the bottom element in the oven. This thing can't go onto a grill. I'm beginning to think it's something that looked like a great idea, but has too many limitations to actually work properly.

        1. re: jacquelyncoffey

          I have seen metal ones that do go on a grill that have the same problem with the wide base even when used on a grill. I realize you are using a ceramic, but I can't see anyway around this no matter what you are using, because the grease has to drip somewhere in an oven or you will start a fire. On a grill, it drips into the grill and can also start a fire, but by turning the middle burner off, it minimizes the chances of it happening. I don't think you can really achieve the same effect in an oven as with a grill because of the bases, and I doubt that these cookers will brown the same way as a simple beer can does on a grill. You are right, great idea, but it doesn't work properly.

          1. re: RGC1982

            Yes, I think it's one of those "looks good on paper" items. I'm going to fiddle with it a bit. I think I will use less liquid, and warm it first, also make sure my chicken is closer to room temp. I can probably increase the oven temp. a little without risking cracking it.
            Oh well, it was free! ;-)

            1. re: jacquelyncoffey

              I've never used one of these, but I roast a lot of chickens. In an ordinary roasting pan there is no direct exposure to heat either, and the chicken browns well. So, I'm guessing that the problem is that in the vertical position the fat is running off so fast that it's not "basting" the skin. You need fat on the skin for it to get brown. Have you tried rubbing the skin with olive oil or butter before you put it in the oven? As for the drippings not being flavorful enough, do you mean in the center cylinder, or do you mean in the drip pan?

              Also, I find that different brands of chicken vary widely in how fatty they are. What about trying a different brand of chicken?

      2. This looks awesome. I cannot wait to try. Thanks for the advice