Beer Butt Phoenix Chicken

Our good friends Dee and Kerry sent us a "Beer Butt Chicken Plank for the holidays.  We're big fans of cedar plank cooking as we've done gourmet recipes of both cedar plank salmon and cedar plank Mahi-Mahi so we're no strangers to plank cooking.  The product label was accurate and a true representation of a quality product...

So... It is Mike's 46th birthday and we decide to use Dee and Kerry's holiday gift to celebrate with some fine cedar smoked-beer-steamed-poultry.

First Step: Soak the cedar plank in water for over 90 minutes...


Here we see the "Beer Butt Chicken Plank" in our choice of soaking locations.   Due to the small size of our house we had the following choices...

  1. Our kitchen sink (which was too busy)
  2. Our bathtub (yuck)
  3. The bird bath in the back yard (we sprayed it out and decided we were going to set the plank on fire anyway).  Per the instructions we followed to a "T."  The cedar plank did indeed swell to lock the can in place.

We wish we had taken the following pictures to go with this...

  • A picture of the chicken ready to go on the plank.  It had been carefully treated inside and out with "Arthur Bryant's" meat and rib rub and spent 24 hours basking in this rub.  Thanks again to Dee and Kerry for sending this along with the beer-butt plank.
  • A picture of us placing this masterpiece on our grill.  It was as if this monolith of redneck culinary flavor was on the launch pad ready to blast off.

After we placed the carefully crafted assembly of beast and wood on the grill, we closed the lid and began discussing the next steps:

  • Andie mentioned her past professional culinary training and experience suggested "1 hour or less" was not going to be appropriate for a bird of this size.
  • Mike suggested the beer can shoved up the chicken's butt would be a vertical conduit for heat and metal is an excellent conductor of heat (even Miller Light beer cans locked into a swollen cedar plank).
  • Neither one of us read the instructions past this point.  (Naturally we didn't actually discuss the following but instead glossed over it separately without discussing it)
What the Instructions Said What We Actually Did
Secure beer can in hole of plank Check
Soak for 90 minutes Check
Steps 4, 5, 6 and 7 (blah blah and blah) Check, check, check and check
Check the chicken every 10 minutes or so. We're so "checked" out right now so we say "screw it."  We estimate at least an hour for this part (based on what little discussion actually went on).  We'll just set a timer and go get our bird when the timer goes off.  Until then, crack open the rest of the 12-pack that wasn't used to support the chicken.
Step 9... Cook for approximately 1 hour or until cooked to your liking We've already mentioned we fixated on the "1 hour" part of this statement.

After our 1 hour timer went off, we decided to pursue the official "Step 10" which was "Remove chicken from the grill and enjoy."


We haven't laughed so hard in quite some time.  Apparently they were not kidding about "Check the chicken every 10 minutes or so".  They also gave other instructions about flare ups, etc. which we blatantly chose to ignore (because we were not around for that part) and thus... I give you our "Phoenix Beer Can Butt Chicken Recipe."

Here we see the beast, standing proudly on it's own, structurally intact, much the way we placed it on the cedar plank. In the photo, we see it defiantly sitting on the ash ring of the cedar plank that gave birth to it's final fiery finally.  We suspect the cedar plank converted itself into the ash ring a good 20 minutes before we could be bothered to look at it.

Much to our surprise, after chipping away the char, the beast was actually quite moist and tasty. 

We've decided to honor it's sacrifice with the official recipe for "Phoenix Beer Butt Chicken" because even a chicken can rise from the ashes.  (Don't try this at home)


  1. One Beer Butt Cedar Plank.
  2. One organic whole chicken.  (We choose organic because it is more expensive and thus more of a meaningful sacrifice should you end up setting it on fire and there will be less chemicals, hormones and preservatives in the smoke)
  3. "Arthur Bryant's" meat and rib rub
  4. A 12-pack of beer.


  1. The day before, rinse chicken inside and out, pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Dust chicken with meat and rib rub both inside and out and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Using a garden hose, rinse the bird shit out of the bird bath and replace with fresh water.
  4. Insert beer can (unopened) into Beer Butt Cedar Plank and soak it in the bird bath for at least 90 minutes.  Use a rock or other heavy object to keep it submerged.
  5. Set the grill on the "scorch" setting and preheat.
  6. Remove beer/plank assembly from bird bath, place on grill, open beer, and make sure the bird "goes down" properly on the can.
  7. Close the lid and ignore for at least 1 hour while you consume the remainder of the 12 pack.
  8. For true Phoenix traditional significance, garnish with choice of plumes in gold, scarlet purple, blue, and/or green.

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