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"Beer can chicken" did not fit on my Weber charcoal grill!

chefdaddyo Jan 9, 2012 12:00 PM

With the Giants game on kinda early, I decided to finally do a beer can chicken on the 18 1/2" Weber grill. Picked up a Coleman's organic chicken a shade over four pounds. Stopped at the liquor store to buy a single can of suds. Dry rub was smoked paprika, brown sugar salt, pepper and a touch of garlic powder. Fire was ready. Wait, this is way too tall! I squished the bird farther on the beer, and the can kinked. Back to the kitchen. Salvaged the beer and poured it into the drip pan. Had coals off to one side. Chicken over the drip pan. Indirect heat. I know it was too hot, maybe 250-300. A little dark on the outside, but pretty good! Charcoal and hickory flavor a bit strong. 2hrs total. I'd like to do the vertical approach using the can. Ideas?

  1. a
    acgold7 Jan 9, 2012 12:05 PM

    It's been pretty much proven that the beer in the can does nothing. It never boils and adds neither flavor nor moisture to the birds.


    Much better would be to use a proper vertical roaster. My favorite is the Spanek, which is sized and shaped to perfectly fit a chicken, although there are many alternatives and some even have built-in drip pans. It comes up through the neck cavity so your chicken will never be too tall for the grill, even the smallest Weber kettle.

    4 Replies
    1. re: acgold7
      fourunder Jan 9, 2012 12:40 PM

      My take on the use of the can is not so much for the flavorings of the beer or spices in themselves, but rather the can comes in better contact with the heat source. The liquid acts as a weight to better balance the bird with the can inside vertically. With a more consistent heat applied through contact of the metal, the chicken can cook more evenly throughout inside. Without the can, the cavity is not as hot inside during roasting. My experience is that using a beer can or cake pan and roasting vertically is faster than cooking a regular trussed bird on a simple rack with the bird resting on its back.

      1. re: fourunder
        acgold7 Jan 9, 2012 01:21 PM

        Vertical roasting is much better than a regular bird on its back, and I didn't suggest otherwise. But the thermal mass of the cold beer actually slows down the process of heat getting into the cavity. A plain wire vertical roasting device conducts heat much more quickly and evenly than a can of any liquid could, and the bird will balance perfectly because the rack is designed for this purpose.

        1. re: acgold7
          fourunder Jan 9, 2012 01:53 PM

          I'd like to do the vertical approach using the can. Ideas?

          I was responding to the OP...and the use of cans and cake pans...not vertical roasters.

          1. re: fourunder
            acgold7 Jan 9, 2012 05:51 PM

            Ok, sorry, thought you were talking to me, as that's where you placed your post.

    2. Uncle Bob Jan 9, 2012 01:46 PM

      Cook the chicken vertically if you desire....As for the beer....drink it.....As for the can....throw it in the garbage...repeat as necessary.

      1. j
        janniecooks Jan 10, 2012 12:06 AM

        I'd say you need a bigger grill, or maybe a replacement lid. The weber charcoal grill lids are rather squat. Since you can't lower the grill and the lid is a fixed height, what other options would there be for vertical roasting if the chicken is too tall to fit under the lid? Bigger grill, smaller bird, or different cooking method. Or I suppose you could chop off the ends of the drumsticks.

        1. k
          Kelli2006 Jan 10, 2012 07:55 AM

          I had a 12" extension ring for my Weber kettle built by a neighbor and any welding shop should be able to do the same for you. You can but strips of sheet metal at Lowes and Home Depot that can be formed into a ring with a few screws if you want to do it yourself.

          Weber sells a rotisserie with an extension ring but it is pricey.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Kelli2006
            chefdaddyo Jan 10, 2012 12:24 PM

            Thank you all. I guess I was simply venting. All that effort and it didn't fit 'MY' Weber. The riser/ring attachment is too much $/bother. I'll just stick to the indirect cooking. Curiousity got me thinking how it probably is better suited to a gass grill application, with a much taller lid.

            1. re: chefdaddyo
              malabargold Jan 10, 2012 08:38 PM

              Yeah, i have a ranch kettle, and they barely fit on that. Looks like an excuse to get a second grill/bbq.
              I really like the webbers for smoke roasting, and low low bbq. I like gas for high temp grilling, steaks,etc.

          2. b
            bagofwater Jan 10, 2012 01:30 PM

            Get yourself two fire bricks, and make a wall covering about 1/4 of your charcoal grate. Put your fuel behind that 1/4, and put your chicken on the charcoal grate next to the fire bricks, as far to the other side as possible. It will cook just fine in that setup.

            1. c
              Cheez62 Jan 13, 2012 03:06 PM

              I LOVE bagofwater's suggestion. That's a great tip! I say try that.

              I was going to reply that I have cooked a couple of "beer can" chickens on another charcoal grill, so I'll still mention it. I have two of the stands that hold a can and on which you put the chicken. The last time I did this, I used the stands, but left out the cans, as I agree that the cans can't get hot enough to boil or steam the beer. What I did do, though, is to put the stands in a shallow pan, and pour some beer and some aromatics into the pan. That way it did boil, and also catch the drippings. I got some of that beer aroma/flavor, and was able to make a very tasty sauce from the liquid in the pan. No, I didn't do this on a Weber - I have three of them on the patio right now, but you're right, the chickens don't fit upright - but I think that if you combine this with bag's awesome idea, you will have a winner!

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