Best Beer To Cook Chicken With


We pulled a list of the best beer to cook chicken with. Whether you simply love cooking chicken or have others in your household who cannot stand the smell of cooking chicken, you’ll appreciate this Best Beer for Beer Can Chicken guide either way! Our list is based on what others have testified to work out best and their own recommendations.

Running out of drinking beer and not sure which beer to drink? I’m here to help you make a decision about what beer to cook with. We’ll talk about the best beers to cook with, health benefits of beer, what their similarities are and how you can use them.

Best Beer To Cook Chicken With

Adding a variety of flavors with your brew options

The recipe is simple: cram a full can of beer into the cavity of a whole chicken, stand it up on the grill or in a pan and you have beer butt chicken. Yet, often it’s the simplest of ingredients and recipes that show the way to the most interesting of possibilities. The question here is, which beer is best?

Beer in a Can

Beer butt chicken requires beer in a can. However, that doesn’t mean you have to buy canned beer. All you need is a can.

Whether you begin with an actual beer can or have an empty soda can around, you simply cut the top off and can pour whatever beer you like inside it. Once you realize this, your beer possibilities open up immensely because many of the best beers are only sold in bottles.

Beer Flavor

The next factor to consider is what type of flavor you want to add to your chicken. Does a sweeter bird sound good? What about one of the ales that are often used in beer-cooked food? How about something a little spicy, wheaty, or fruity?

Your options are limitless and the best way to find out what does or does not work is to try it. Yes, that means you’ll have to buy a variety of beer and make beer butt chicken a few times, but that’s part of the fun of backyard grilling season. To help you get started, let’s explore a few possible styles you might consider at the beer cooler.


One would think that a stout is a poor choice for beer butt chicken because it’s too bitter. Given the wide variety of stouts, though, this is oversimplifying the matter a bit.

Guinness is easily the world’s most popular stout. Yet, it would make a poor choice, as would most dry stouts. Sweet stouts or oatmeal stouts, on the other hand, could make a very good chicken.

Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout is a perfect example of what you want to look for. Its sweet, dark chocolate and roasted coffee flavors would season chicken wonderfully and avoid the bitterness. A chocolate stout would be another viable option, as would any rich oatmeal. Take a look at the store and explore your options because quite a few stouts—or even porters—would serve this recipe well.

Sour Beers

It’s also good to look at common flavors that are used with chicken. Many people enjoy adding lemon, even if the recipe doesn’t call for it. The sour citrus seems to make the flavors come alive, so why not try soured beers?

When you think of this style, your mind might leap to the king of sour beer—Berliner Weisse. This one would certainly make the chicken stand up and shout.

Another interesting choice would be lambic beer, the great sour beer of Belgium. Flanders brown ale would bring the sour flavor, along with some interesting complexities of malt and old beer to the chicken as well.

Whether or not these would be good is a matter of personal preference, but it would certainly be interesting to try.

Malty Beers

A safer route to go would be with rich malty beers that are low on hops. This follows the premise that bitter flavors may detract from the beer butt chicken. IPA and barleywine may be poor choices but the other end of British beer styles—brown and mild ales—would be ideal.

These brews are often rich with malt and wonderfully complex from aging or blending. That profile makes them great beers to cook with and natural choices for this recipe. An easy-to-find example of this is Newcastle Brown Ale.

German Beers

The Germans make their fair share of rich, malty beers that would work great. Bock, double bock, Oktoberfest, alt, and weizenbock would all add some pretty interesting flavors to chicken.

One style, in particular, would make a really exciting bird. Rauchbier, or smoked beer, can sometimes be hard to find but it would be worth the search in this case.

When the grain used to brew rauchbier is killed, some of it is smoked in much the same way that you would smoke meat. The resulting beer is amazing and holds a variety of deep and wide flavors; notes of leather, jerky, and soil are regularly detected. This makes interesting chicken.

Wheat and Fruit Beers

Hefeweizen could make a good bird as well, though wheat beer is not commonly used for cooking. It’s possible that the heat would destroy the delicate flavors of this style. Yet, it is a viable option worth experimenting with.

Many fruit beers, however, use wheat beer as a base and do make a really interesting grilled chicken. There’s always the ubiquitous raspberry wheat, which you can probably pick up a growler full of at your local brewpub, especially in the summer months.

Some other interesting fruit beers to try with your chicken: Pyramid Apricot Ale, Pete’s Strawberry Blonde, Grozet Gooseberry, and Wheat Ale, and Lindemans Framboise. Or maybe you could skip the beer altogether and try beer butt chicken with a hard cider like Woodchuck Cider.

Chili Pepper Beer

There is one type of beer that may be an absolutely perfect fit for beer can chicken. Chili pepper beers are an interesting lot, infusing the spice of chilies into a variety of beer styles, from porters to IPAs. It may not be the cold, refreshing brew you would drink, but shove that up your chicken’s butt and you’ll likely be in for a great bird.

what is the best beer for beer can chicken

Do you love beer, chicken, and grilling? Then this article is for you. Beer can chicken is one of the most popular foods to cook on the Pit Boss pellet grill. But which beers pair best with chicken? Luckily for you, there are plenty of beers out there that fit the bill. But does the type of beer you use actually make a difference? 

What’s The Best Beer to Pair With Beer Can Chicken?

The best beer to pair with beer can chicken is a matter of personal preference. It’s best to choose a cheap beer or one you like drinking since you’ll likely be stuck with some leftover you’ll have to drink and it doesn’t add any flavor to the chicken. The purpose of the beer is to hold the chicken legs closer to the heat source than the breasts, resulting in a juicier chicken. This is why it’s totally fine to use any type of beer, soda, apple juice, or even an empty can.

Does It Matter Which Beer You Use for Beer Can Chicken?

This has always been a huge debate in smoking forums online. Some people say it doesn’t matter which beer you use, while others say it does.

I’ve only cooked beer can chicken once and used a Corona beer. The only thing I noticed is the chicken was juicier than cooking a regular whole chicken.

Why Doesn’t Beer Flavor The Chicken?

This video discusses in complete detail of why it doesn’t matter what type of beer you use when cooking beer can chicken.

The reason being is that water boils at 212°F and beer at 170°. The cold cavity of the chicken sits on top of the beer can. Therefore, the beer won’t ever get any hotter than the chicken, even if you overcook the chicken to 170-180°F.

Therefore, the beer never evaporates to produce steam to help flavor the bird.

That said, some people like experimenting with different types of beers when grilling beer can chicken. And who knows you might just find a great-tasting beer you love cooking with.

So in this article, we’ll look at some of the most popular beers on the market, what they taste like and whether or not they go good with chicken.

Types of Beers to Use for Beer Can Chicken

At the time of this writing, there are more than 100 different styles of beer in the United States alone, and that number is always growing. So it’s not uncommon for people to be confused about which types of beer to use for beer can chicken, especially, if you’re not a beer drinker.

Porters are a great choice, but you could also experiment with other dark beers like stout or black lagers. You can even use a Pilsner or your favorite IPA. The choice is endless, and the best part is you don’t even have to buy canned beer, all you need is a bottle.

So let’s take a closer look at the types of beers on the market and what they taste like.

IPA Beer

An IPA is a type of beer that is typically hoppy. When you hold the glass, you’ll often notice a malty, earthy flavor with caramel notes.

Craft beers are great for use when cooking chicken because it packs a lot of flavors, especially, if you use a floral IPA. According to Bon Appetit, an IPA like Bear Republic’s Racer 5 has a great citrusy flavor that pairs great with chicken recipes.


Stout beers are typically dark and strong bitter beers. There are several variations, but they are known for their flavors of coffee, chocolate, and caramel sweetness.

Guinness is the most popular stout. In fact, it’s not hard to find chicken recipes online that call for a Guinness beer. However, the best Stout for chicken is one that has sweet dark chocolate and roasted flavor like Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout.

It has a full blend of aromas with a significant hop presence that won’t overpower the chicken. There are several Stouts on the market, even porters that would taste great with chicken, so be sure to shop around.

Best Beer for Beer Can Chicken

Does beer can chicken actually taste like beer? What’s the point of a beer can? You might be surprised to find out the truth about beer can chicken. Let’s carve up the myth behind this cooking method and get to the truth behind beer can chicken.

The best beer for beer can chicken is whatever cheap can you have laying around – it doesn’t even have to have any beef left in it! The idea that the beer boils as the chicken cooks imparting flavor and moisture is untrue. To add a true beer flavor to your chicken, opt instead to use the beer in a marinade, a sauce, or baste the bird with it.

Let’s get to the bottom of this myth and find out how to actually get a beer taste into your chicken and why the beer can method doesn’t actually work.

Does it matter what kind of beer you use in beer can chicken?

If you’ve been to many barbecues, you’ve almost certainly seen the grillmaster stuff a half-drunk can of beer up an unsuspecting chicken’s backside and leave the bird to roast and soak up the condensed flavors of the beverage. It was probably a delicious piece of poultry, but did it actually taste like today’s beer of choice?

When it comes to beer can chicken, it doesn’t matter what beer you use. The purpose of the can is to make a more evenly cooked, more tender, juicier chicken. The flavor from the beer will not evaporate and therefore won’t be present in the taste of the chicken. You can, however, add beer flavor to your chicken with marinades and sauces.

Since chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 160-165℉, and the temperature to boil water (and beer) is 212℉, the beer will never evaporate into the chicken and it will be like nothing happened to the beer.

The temperature of the grill is well above that 212℉ mark? I’m sure it is – but the chicken is insulating and cooking the beer can.

The best beer styles to use when cooking chicken

If you’re just getting starting with beer can chicken, you may be wondering the best type of beer. The good news is that answer’s shockingly simple: whatever kind you have on hand.

The ideal beer for beer can chicken is cheap, available, and flat. Since the beer won’t impart any flavor or moisture to the bird, use whatever you’re willing to waste. For other cooking methods, however, you should choose a beer whose flavors will complement the final meal without overwhelming it. A standard lager is always a good choice, but feel free to experiment!

While there may be some variation as to what’s appropriate for the dish, a good rule of thumb is that you probably don’t want to use any beer in the cooking process that you wouldn’t want to drink with the meal.

Let’s take a closer look at what ways beer can be used to flavor that beer-can roasted chicken.

How to add beer flavor to a roast chicken

If you can’t add beer flavor to chicken with the beer can method, how can you do it? There are three easy ways to add your favorite beer flavor to your next chicken dish.

Add beer flavor to your chicken through marinades, sauces, and basting. These methods guarantee that the beer flavor gets into or on your chicken.

Keep reading for a more detailed explanation of each method, plus a great recipe to try with your next roast chicken!


A long, slow rest in a flavorful marinade is one of the best things you can do for most pieces of meat, and poultry is no exception.

One of the best marinades for chicken, in fact, is beer because it contains enzymes that break down the tough fibers in the chicken.

health benefits of beer

Toasting to the holidays?  Some studies show that beer consumed in moderation may be beneficial to your health. Here are eight reasons why.

1. Beer is more nutritious than other alcoholic drinks.

We hear a lot about the abundance of antioxidants in wine, but beer has just as many. The specific antioxidants are different because the flavonoids in barley and hops are different from those in grapes, but antioxidants are a good thing. Beer is also higher than wine in protein and vitamin B. Even better, beer contains iron, calcium, phosphates and even fiber. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry

2. Beer can help protect your heart.

Studies suggest moderate beer drinking* may make you less likely than those who don’t drink to suffer from hearts attacks, strokes or heart disease. In fact, studies evaluating the relative benefits of wine versus beer versus spirits suggest that moderate consumption of any alcoholic beverage is associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease. New England Journal of Medicine

3. Beer helps prevent kidney stones.

Drinking beer could help reduce your risk of developing kidney stones.  According to a recent study, men and women who reported drinking a moderate amount* of beer reduced their risk of developing a stone by 41 percent. Beers that contain a lot of hops — for example, pale ales — are rich in kidney health-promoting phytochemicals. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology

4. Beer lowers bad cholesterol.

The soluble fiber in beer can help reduce your LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Increasing your intake of soluble fiber has numerous health benefits, including the promotion of healthy blood-sugar and blood-cholesterol levels. However, because alcohol interferes with the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals, it can also lessen the body’s ability to burn stored fat. American Heart Association: Circulation 

5. Beer strengthens your bones.

Due to its high silicon content, beer may help to build stronger bones. Dietary silicon in the soluble form of orthosilicic acid (OSA) may be important for the growth and development of bone and connective tissue and help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease. National Institutes of Health 

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