PRODUCTION

Chicken is King – Give it a Throne


November 17, 2021

BBQ’d chicken is one of the best meats to cook and serve in so many ways that it is often a go-to for many backyard BBQ chefs.

Beer Can Chicken

We’re always searching for new ways to add some unique flavors to chicken- whether we go with tried and true like lemon and herb, simple salt and pepper, spicy cajun, sweet and sour, or hot wings, chicken is the King of Birds for BBQ. This doesn’t even approach the great flavor combinations and added savory taste that can come from injecting, basting, smoking… the list goes on. But what about beer can chicken?

Traeger Cherry All Natural BBQ Wood Pellets 20lb

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Traeger All Natural Hardwood BBQ Signature Pellet Blend 20lb

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Since 1995, when beer can chicken became a “thing”, people have been swearing by bbq chicken vertically on a beer can. It’s been the topic of wonder, fun and amazement on TV shows, YouTube and many backyards. Heck, it is fun and it’s a humorous way to serve that perfectly crispy-skin roasted chicken.

There are many blogs, articles, opinions and science on whether chicken roasted on a beer can actually makes chicken juicier, absorbs beer flavor or even makes a better bbq chicken.

Beer Can Chicken

There are many recipes and videos out there and, as with all BBQ adventures, there is plenty of room for adding your own ideas to recipes. One of the best things about BBQ is its flexibility! Beverage choices for flavoring and providing moisture into your chicken are almost endless. Some favorite choices are citrus juices (high sugar content and acidity) like lemonade and orange juice, cola drinks, the plethora of beer flavors and types, wine, and more. However, I’ve never heard anyone say that their chicken tastes like the beer, or hops or any of the other liquids that are used in the “throne” process.

Traeger Chicken Throne

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Traeger Meat Injector Kit

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So… let’s be honest. Does beer in a throne or a can actually impart more flavor and award you with a super-moist bird than the process of Traeger-roasting by itself? Some facts- chicken internal temperature needs to be at 165-170 degrees to be fully cooked. Beer boils at about 212 degrees. So the amount of steam that will be coming from the beer is minimal. Because the beer is insulated by the colder chicken flesh around it, it won’t get hotter than the chicken flesh. If you weighed the beer before cooking and then after, you’d probably find that there is no difference in weight, or even that the beer can and liquid weighs a bit more than when you started (because the chicken will deposit juices into the open can).

Traeger, Instant Digital Thermometer

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But wait! Don’t throw away that can of Belching Beaver Deftones Ceremony DDH Hazy IPA (Yes, it’s actually a thing) that you’ve been saving for your first beer can chicken of the season! The best thing about using the “throne” cooking method for chicken is the ease of getting your chicken evenly cooked and obtaining darkened, crispy skin all the way around the bird. And you can add a foil pan underneath to save those juices for basting, or gravy if that’s your thing (to add to the red baby potatoes you cooked in foil with lemon and rosemary next to the chicken). By using Traeger’s Chicken Throne (which is porcelain for excellent heat transfer and easy cleanup), whether you add the Belching Beaver or cola or other liquids, you can gain the advantages of cooking your chicken upright.

Traeger BBQ Shears

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Beer Can Chicken

So go ahead, get that throne and pronounce your chicken “King of the BBQ” and cook on. Add some liquid to the throne, or just add some oranges, limes or fruit juice. But our recommendation for crispy skin and perfectly tender chicken is to spend your time butter basting (or butter-beer basting) your chicken every 15 minutes or so until it reaches the desired temperature and rely on your favorite choice of wood pellets to give the bird the desired amount of smokey BBQ goodness.

Weber BBQ Drip Pan, Aluminum, 8.5 in. X 6 in., 10 pk.

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Whatever method you choose. Just have fun with it and try some new things. But maybe save the Belching Beaver for drinking. You’ll enjoy it more than the chicken will.


We would love to see your Traeger Recipes, use #mywilcolife on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and tag Wilco Stores.

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