Chinese beer-can chicken

Chinese beer-can chicken

At Home with Ben
Mark Roper

A version of this recipe appeared in my first book, Outdoor. I love to experiment, and I’ve been playing around with different ways of barbecuing, using my new barbecue, the Big Green Egg. It’s a modern version of a Japanese kamado oven, a traditional wood- or charcoal-fuelled earthenware stove. It takes cooking a chook on a beer can to a whole new level of sophistication!

This recipe is great served with steamed rice, bok choy and oyster sauce. You can freeze any leftover glaze and use it next time you cook up this recipe. You will need to buy yourself a beer-can chicken stand from a barbecue store.


Quantity Ingredient
1 x 1.8kg chicken
1 spring onion, halved
1 garlic clove, halved
1 star anise
375ml beer, (Chinese, if possible)
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil


Quantity Ingredient
1/4 cup light soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 star anise
1 stick cassia or cinnamon
6 thin slices ginger
1/2 teaspoon sichuan pepper
25ml shaoxing rice wine
50g maltose or glucose


  1. To make the glaze, combine the ingredients in a saucepan with 1 cup of water and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the spices and set aside.
  2. Hold the chicken by the neck over a bowl and use a ladle to pour the hot glaze over it. Place the chicken on a wire rack and leave to dry for 15 minutes. Repeat this process three more times. Ensure the chicken skin is evenly coloured; it will tighten and take on a well-tanned appearance.
  3. Place the chicken in the fridge for 3 hours before cooking, leaving it on the rack to dry out.
  4. Heat your barbecue for indirect cooking or preheat the oven to 200°C.
  5. Push the spring onion, garlic and star anise into the opened can of beer. Place the can of beer in your beer-can chicken stand, then push the chicken onto the can of beer. Place the chicken and can on a tray and cook in the barbecue or oven for about 30 minutes.
  6. Allow the barbecue to cool to 180°C degrees. This can be achieved quickly by opening the lid and turning the gas down. The Big Green Egg allows you to close off the airflow to lower the temperature. If you’re using a conventional oven, reduce the heat to 180°C. Cook the chicken for another hour. When cooked, cover with foil and leave to rest for 30 minutes before serving.
  7. To make a gravy, combine the juices from the chicken with a little glaze mixture and sesame oil.
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