Recipe: Casa BBQ Beer Can Chicken Tacos

Photo by Mike McColl

Tacos are a great meal for a small gathering or crowd. Make them with a beer-can chicken for moist and juicy results.

Tacos are a great meal for the whole family to enjoy. Instead of grilling up chicken breasts for tacos or fajitas, try beer canning a whole chicken instead. It’s so moist and juicy that the whole family will be asking you to make this a family staple. Mine did, and now beer can chicken taco night is a regular happening at Casa BBQ. It’s fast and downright yummy! Serves 4

What You Need: 4 aluminum foil or 2 metal pie plates; 2 beer can chicken holders

Fire-Roasted Salsa Verde

6 tomatillos

2 poblano peppers

2 jalapeno peppers

1 small white onion, sliced into rings

4 cloves garlic

4 green onions, finely chopped

1 cup (250 mL) fresh cilantro leaves

2 tbsp (30 mL) cane vinegar

Pinch of kosher salt

2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil

1 lime


2 avocados, peeled and pitted

1 juicy lime

Drizzle of avocado oil

3 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped

¼ cup (60 mL) white onion, diced

1 green onion, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Fire-Roasted Four-Pepper Salsa

2 red bell peppers, halved and seeded

1 yellow bell pepper, halved and seeded

1 green bell pepper, halved and seeded

1 red onion, peeled and quartered

2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil

2 to 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, pureed

2 cloves garlic minced

1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh cilantro, chopped

Juice of 1 lime

Salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste

Chicken Taco Mixture

1 whole chicken (approx. 4 lb/1.8 kg)

¼ cup (60 mL) salt

2 tbsp (30 mL) honey

4 cups (1 L) cold water

2 + 1 cans (12 oz/341 mL) Stella Artois

4 cloves garlic

4 sprigs fresh sage

1 tsp (5 mL) black peppercorns

½ lime, cut into wedges

8 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp (5 mL) ancho pepper powder

2 tsp (10 mL) Bone Dust BBQ Spice (page xx)

4 tbsp (60 mL) olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste



12 flour or corn tortillas (5 to 6 inches/12 to 15 cm)

2 cups (500 mL) pepper jack cheese, shredded

1 cup (250 mL) Fire-Roasted Salsa Verde

1 cup (250 mL) guacamole

1 cup (250 mL) Fire-Roasted Four-Pepper Salsa


Fire up your grill to 350–450°F (180–230°C).

To make the Fire-Roasted Salsa Verde, fire-roast the tomatillos, poblano and jalapeño peppers and onions for 10–15 minutes, until lightly charred and tender. Place the tomatillos into a food processor. Peel and seed the poblano peppers and add roasted flesh to the tomatillos. Add the whole roasted jalapeño peppers. Chop the grilled onion and add it into the blender too. Add garlic, green onions, cilantro, cane vinegar and olive oil. Hit it with a good pinch of kosher salt and pulse until smooth. Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice and adjust seasoning. Transfer to a self-sealing container and refrigerate until needed.

To make the Guacamole, mash the avocados with a fork in a bowl. Squeeze the lime over the avocado and drizzle with a little avocado oil. Add cilantro, white and green onion and season to taste with a little salt and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

To make the Fire-Roasted Four-Pepper Salsa, roast the red, yellow and green peppers and the red onion until lightly charred and tender. Peel any loose skin from the peppers. Dice the peppers and onion; place in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, puréed chipotle chiles, garlic, cilantro and lime juice and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Mix thoroughly, cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

To prepare the chicken, rinse the chicken under cold running water. Place chicken into a large self-sealing bag or small bucket.

In a bowl, combine the salt, honey, water and 2 cans of beer. Stir until salt and honey have dissolved. Add garlic cloves, fresh sage and peppercorns. Pour over chicken, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Remove chicken from brine, discarding leftover brine. Pat chicken dry with paper towels.

Open the last can of beer; take a good-sized sip out of it. Quality assurance! Squish a couple of wedges of lime into the opening of the beer can. Put one pie plate inside another. Place beer can holder onto pie plate, then slide opened can into holder. Slide the chicken over the can so that the beer can is in the cavity of the bird and the bird is standing upright. Tuck the wings behind its back and pull the neck skin flap up over the opening. If there is not enough skin to seal it up, tuck a small lime or a small potato into the neck. This will help keep the steam and extra beer flavor in the chicken.

In a bowl, combine minced garlic, ancho chile powder, Bone Dust BBQ Spice and salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil to make a slurry paste. Set aside.

Place the beer canned chicken and pie plate on the grill. Grill-roast chicken with the lid closed for 60–90 minutes (about 20 minutes per lb/450 g), until the chicken is fully cooked, basting during the last 20 minutes with the garlic and ancho paste.

Remove from grill and allow chicken to rest for a few minutes. Carefully remove the chicken from the beer can. Place beer can aside. Carve the meat from the chicken. Shred all of the chicken meat into a large bowl. Drizzle in a little of the hot beer from the can, just a little.

Warm the tortillas, place a mound of beer can chicken on the warm shell, sprinkle with shredded pepper jack cheese, spoon over guacamole and top with a little salsa. Serve immediately.


From Gastro Grilling: Fired-Up Recipes to Grill Great Everyday Meals by Ted Reader. Copyright © Ted Reader, 2013. Reprinted by permission of Penguin Group (Canada), a Division of Pearson Canada Inc. Photographer credit: Mike McColl.