Also known as a ‘beer-butt’ chicken, these roasters are a hit with guests and the roasting process is as delightful to enjoy as the cooked bird.
While other brands of chicken roasters will do fine, after trying several brands, we find the Weber Chicken Roaster to be the best one to use for several reasons.
And you don’t have to use beer if you don’t want to – any juice such as orange or apple will do or any soft drink will work well – the liquid is merely to add moisture and steam from the inside out of the chicken. What you use though, will add some flavor as well – fruit juices will add a slightly sweetened fruity taste.
Roasted barbecue chickens are extremely tender, moist and flavorful, take very little prep work and about 1-1/2 hours to roast, depending on the size of the poultry. Only small chickens – 3# or under should be used with most smaller brands of chicken roasters. The Weber roaster is a little larger so it can easily take a slightly larger chicken. You want to avoid having it overly top heavy, especially if you are using a small size roaster to reduce the risk of burns from the hot grease.
Here’s What You Need to Roast a Whole Chicken:
A barbecue with a high top is a must for roasting a chicken (beer-butt chicken) in an upright chicken roaster. Preferred size for the whole chicken is around 3 lbs. You’ll also need about 1/2 cup of beer, juice or soft drink.
Next, you’ll need spices – you can use a chicken roaster blend, or your own favorite BBQ spices for chicken and an upright style chicken roaster.
The Weber Chicken Roaster is my favorite and the one featured. All parts are nonstick (most others are not) for super easy cleaning, is larger than most other chicken roasters with a shape that makes handling a hot grease-filled roaster that much easier, and it has a good size recess for the beer, juice or soft drink liquid. It’s well priced too.
Steps for Using a Weber Chicken Roaster on a BBQ:
Check for the giblet bag and discard. Use paper towels to damp dry the chicken, but leave it slightly damp so it can absorb the spices. You can also sparingly rub the bird with olive or vegetable oil, but it does make the bird slippery to handle.
Sprinkle well with your favorite chicken roasting spice blend making sure to cover the whole bird, even underneath. Then rub the spices into the skin. You can also add a little salt and pepper. There are lots of interesting chicken roasting spice blends. Experiment and find one that you like, but be careful not to overdo – some have a high salt content. The idea is to go more with barbecue spices for extra flavor, rather than seasonings you would usually use for oven roasting.
Set the prepared chicken aside and fill the liquid recess with either beer, juice or soft drinks. We’ve used apple juice or Ginger Ale when beer was not available. You can even just use water – it will steam, albeit without adding flavor.
To make your chicken moist, you must have some liquid. It keeps it from drying out while roasting.
There are steam holes in this part of the Weber Chicken Roaster. All parts of this chicken roaster are nonstick, so there’s no greasing required with this BBQ roaster.
Some barbecue roasters are smaller and shorter, making this task a little more difficult to set the chicken.
Roasters that use a wire framing mechanism are actually more difficult to add the chicken to.
This part is important – it keeps the steam inside the bird during roasting, rather than it escaping out the top.
You’ll get the best flavor and a moist chicken by making sure your chicken is well seated and ready.
This is a good time to make sure your barbecue is preheating. We use a medium roasting temperature, but this will vary with barbecue output. Start lower if unsure; you want to avoid charring the bird.
To help balance out the chicken and reduce the risk of it falling over, truss the bird. You do that by tucking in the wings as shown.
Here’s what your trussed bird should look like with wings tucked in. No string is necessary if you tuck them in the way we do. This just better balances the chicken and makes it more stable on the roaster.
Your chicken is now ready to roast.
Roasting at medium heat will take about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours for a 3 lb or less chicken. Cover the barbecue to keep heat in.
Monitor roasting, watch for smoke which means there could be charring, and adjust heat as needed.
During roasting, occasionally baste with a spoon or silicone brush from the drippings that have accumulated in the roaster pan.
When done, turn off the barbecue and remove the roaster pan carefully to a waiting wooden board. Make sure to use oven mitts or pot holders – roaster will be extremely hot.
Once on a stable platform, you’ll need to transfer the chicken to a serving platter.
Gently lift the bird from the roaster to a waiting platter, making sure to not upset the roaster pan. Since every part of the Weber Roaster is nonstick, it makes this step very easy – it just glides off.
Cool and dismantle the chicken roaster, taking care not to use metal tools to avoid scratching the finish. Remove the top section from the bird.
Note that these chicken drippings and the beer or juice MUST be discarded since they can contain some raw chicken juices. To make gravy, make the prepackaged chicken or poultry gravy variety.
Your roasted chicken is now ready to serve and enjoy. The aroma during roasting should have stirred up some appetites.
One 3 lb chicken is sufficient for serving up to four, but you can easily roast two chickens side-by-side for more dinner guests.
Chicken roasters are mostly available in single’s but you can find some models that are designed to hold two chickens. Ensure that your barbecue is properly sized before buying a larger unit.
A chicken roaster replaces the need for a rotating roasting bbq spit in order to roast a chicken. The end result of using a chicken roaster is a moist and flavorful bird that’s big on presentation, as well as taste.
Make sure to hand wash nonstick roaster parts if you want the nonstick coating to last.