Jamaican Beer Can Chicken

My friend Cheryl and I decided we could pool our spare change together and scratch out a trip to Jamaica on a budget. So we clinched a great deal: ten sunny days in a quaint little cottage, right on the beach in Negril. How fun would this be!

Well, the road to the cottage was a long, dirty walk from the station that served as a check-in counter, dragging our new matching luggage through the soil. The cottage turned out to be a plaster hut with no glass in the windows, and that first sunny (sweaty hot) day later turned into a tropical storm. Disillusioned, and a little frightened that everyone in the village seemed to have our door key, we attempted to make an emergency call to our travel agent, from the check-in station. Apparently a $100 deposit was required to even attempt a call, which they said was only successful half the time. Welcome to Jamaica.

But we ended up having a blast that week, climbing gorgeous waterfalls, sunning on the beach, and horseback riding along the tropical trails. Most of the time we were off the tourist grid entirely and experienced the local people and their warmth and cooking. I do have fond memories of that trip and this recipe takes me back…well as close as I ever dare to be again.

Jerk Rub
1 T. onion powder
1 T. dried onion flakes
½ T. ground allspice
½ T. pepper
½ T. cayenne
½ T. Sugar
1 t. dried thyme
½ t. ground cinnamon
Dash dried ground Habanero chile

Beer-Can Chicken
1 Chicken
½ can Jamaican beer
2 T. Jerk Rub

Tropical Jerk Sauce
2 c. chicken stock
Juice from 4 oranges
2 T. Honey
2 T. Gingeroot, minced
2 T. tropical Jelly
2 T. Pickapeppa, Worcestershire, or Tamarind concentrate
2 T. Jerk Rub

Make the Jerk rub by mixing ingredients in a small bowl. Rub half on both the outside and inside of the chicken, and save the other half of the rub for the sauce.

Drink half the beer, and place the can in the chicken rack. Plop the chicken on top of the rack. Put the whole thing on the grill. On a covered gas grill, cook at 300 degrees on indirect heart for 1 ½ – 2 hours or until done, using a thermometer.  Rest 10 minutes before serving,

About a half hour before the chicken is done, combine the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until it is reduced by 1/3, approximately 20 minutes. Strain if desired. Serve warm with the chicken.


Pair any canned beverage or beer variety with a complimentary sauce. For instance, Orange soda with a sweet and sour sauce; Light beer with a lemon-caper sauce; Dr. Pepper with a fig sauce, etc.

Leave a Reply