Feta-Brined Beer Can Chicken

December  7, 2015
Photo by jillhaap
Author Notes


"Beer Can Chicken" is a really popular way to do chickens on the barbecue, and there's a reason why. Allowing the beer to steam inside the cavity keeps the meat really moist and tender, which is often a problem when trying to cook a whole bird over fairly high heat.

While the beer does help build some flavour, your chicken won't end up tasting like the beer, so it really doesn't matter what kind of beer you use (this isn't comparable to the if-you-won't-drink-it-don't-cook-with-it wine rule).

The real purpose of the brew is to keep the meat from drying out. Pair this method with a flavourful feta brine, like I've done here, and you will end up with the juiciest chicken you've ever tasted. Since you're barbecuing or roasting for some time, the skin will still crisp up nicely, resulting in a seriously flavorful, succulent bird. —Jill Haapaniemi

  • Serves 4-6
  • 5 ounces quality feta
  • 1/2 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Water (enough to cover chicken)
  • 1 small free-range chicken
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can beer
In This Recipe
  1. In a food processor or blender, purée feta, oregano, tarrgon, thyme, garlic, and enough water to form a smooth liquid (about 1 cup). Place chicken into a large stockpot; add feta mixture. Fill stockpot with enough water to just cover chicken. Add bay leaf and stir. Cover and refrigerate 4-8 hours (ideally overnight).
  2. Heat barbecue to high, or preheat oven to 375°F.
  3. Remove chicken from fridge about 20-30 minutes before cooking; transfer to a paper towel-lined surface. Discard brine. Using paper towel or a clean dish rag, dry chicken completely. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; rub into chicken and under skin.
  4. Open beer can; drink (or if it's 8 in the morning, pour our) half the beer. If barbecue/oven space is limited and you have to cook your chicken breast-side up, the can will need to be about a quarter full so it doesn't spill when horizontal. Insert beer can into chicken cavity.
  5. Carefully transfer bird upright onto barbecue or onto a roasting pan and into the oven (or laying down, if needed). Roast until chicken is cooked through and skin is crisp, abour 1 1/2 hours, depending on the size of your bird, or until an instant-read thermometer reaches 165°F in the thickest part of the leg.
  6. Remove from heat. Allow to rest 15-20 minutes. Carve as desired and serve.

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