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5 from 4 votes

Peking Style Beer Butt Chicken

Peking Style Beer Butt Chicken is a juicy succulent grilled whole chicken cooked over a herb-infused beer can and glazed in a sweet and savory Peking sauce
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Course: Mains
Cuisine: American, Chinese
Servings: 6
Calories: 540kcal
Author: HWC Magazine


  • grill
  • disposable aluminum pan


  • 5 pounds whole roasting chicken
  • 12 ounces beer in a can can of your favorite beer (whatever you like to drink when you are out grilling) If you are gluten intolerant substitute with a dry ginger-ale.
  • 2 tablespoon butter
    or dairy free margarine in needed
  • salt and black pepper
    to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 8 cloves garlic
    minced ( 2 cloves to rub the outside of chicken, 2 clove in the herb butter and 2 clove to put in the beer can, 2 clove for the Peking glaze)
  • 2 tablespoon ginger
    freshly grated ( 2 teaspoon to rub the outside of the chicken, 2 teaspoon to go inside the beer can and 2 teaspoon for the Peking sauce).
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
    (1 tablespoon to rub the outside of the chicken and 1 tablespoon for the Peking glaze)
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns whole
  • ½ teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
    whole (Szechuan_
  • ½ cup hoisin dipping sauce (if diabetic or gluten intolerant can substitute with sugar free plum jam)
  • ¼ cup tamari (soy) sauce (dark soy sauce is preferable in this dish to give that dark beautiful color to the glaze)
  • ¼ cup oyster sauce
    (if you are gluten intolerant, omit and increase amount of tamari sauce)
  • 1.5 teaspoons Chinese five spice powder
  • 2 tablespoon honey (can substitute sugar alternative)


  • First things first! If handling raw chicken bothers you, wear disposable gloves.
  • Make sure that the area you are pepping the whole chicken is free from any dishes and that your counters have nothing on them. The goal is to avoid cross contamination from inadvertently splashing raw chicken juice on other food, dishes, or utensils. Everything the chicken touches or may have touched will need to be bleached down or washed with hot soapy water after use.
  • Open the chicken cavity and remove the giblets. Remove the butt fat! Yep, we went ahead and said it. You know, cut that little flap off. If the butcher left on some of the neck bone, cut that off as well.
  • Carefully remove the weird things inside (like kidneys, blood vessels and such) that the butcher left behind inside a whole chicken. It is your job to clean it up.
    We will leave this up to you but we like wash our whole chicken inside and out with a little abrasive salt and water. You just cannot get it properly cleaned unless you do. Put a little salt in your hand. This works like an abrasive and rub it all over inside and outside the bird. Then, rinse and dry the whole chicken with paper towels. Drying is super important. It ensures that you will get a crispy skinned chicken. REMEMBER: Wash everything that your chicken may have touched and your hands well!
  • Preheat your gas or charcoal grill to a very low setting about 250 degrees F (121 degrees Celsius). If you do not have a grill then you can make Peking Beer Butt in the oven preheat your oven to about 350 degrees F (176 degrees Celsius).
  • Make the herbed butter mixture. In a small bowl place butter, salt and pepper, 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 teaspoon fresh ginger and 1 teaspoon of paprika. Mix to combine and set aside. Set aside in a clean bowl the remaining chopped garlic and ginger and spices for later use.
  • Rub your fingers on the inside of the chicken between the breast meat and the skin to make a pocket to place the butter herbed mixture. Stuff the butter herbed mixture with your fingers into each side of the breast and flatten and smooth with your fingers.
  • Season the chicken well inside of bird with salt and pepper. Take a little olive oil, 2 cloves minced garlic and 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger on your hands and massage your chicken well all over. Season the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper. (Remember to reserve garlic and freshly grated ginger for the beer and Peking Sauce)
  • Open the can of beer (or dry ginger ale), either drink 2 ounces or pour out 2 ounces. Add 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger, black peppercorns and Sichuan peppercorns. The beer will fizz and bubble. Push the opened end of the beer can first into the bottom of the chicken (chicken's butt) and set the chicken into a aluminum disposable baking tray. Make sure that the beer can is deep into the cavity of chicken so that it sets stable and upright on the aluminum pan. Wash you hands and everything that came in contact with the chicken very well.
  • Make your Peking glaze: In a small frying pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 cloves minced fresh garlic and 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger and fry until it becomes aromatic. Add hoisin sauce, soya sauce, oyster sauce, honey and Chinese five spice. If gluten intolerant or diabetic please read our substitution suggestion in the notes below. Cook over low heat for about 5-10 minutes until thick and caramelized. Set aside.
  • Place the chicken on the grill and carefully cover the lid of the grill. Cook the chicken low and slow. Enjoy a beer or a ginger-ale. About ¾ of the time in your cooking process or when the internal meat thermometer reads about 150-155 degrees F (65 to 68 degrees C) in the thigh of the chicken, start brushing your chicken all over with your thick and delicious Peking sauce. We brushed the chicken twice all over before taking the chicken off the BBQ grill.   (Please remember to use indirect heat on the grill. do not place the chicken directly over the flames) However, because the temperature is very low and it is cooking in a aluminum pan it will still be okay. Our grill is quite small so we had to place the chicken in the center for it to fit.
  • How to know when your chicken is ready to eat? Your goal is to have the internal temperature with your meat thermometer read at least 165 degrees F (73 degrees C) in the meaty park of the thigh. The juices should run clear and the chicken should be a beautiful dark red bronze color . Depending on the size of your chicken (about 5 pounds) took about 2 hours on the grill. It takes roughly about 20 minutes per pound. Do not trust time, trust your meat thermometer as this is the only true way to know that your chicken is cooked perfectly.
  • Let your chicken rest for about 10 minutes. Lay your chicken on its side and carefully remove the beer can from the bottom of chicken. A pair of tongs, a fork and a second pair of hands is helpful. Wear kitchen gloves and be careful as the chicken and the beer can are very hot!
  • Place your Peking style beer butt chicken on a carving board and cut into servings and enjoy this delightful fall of the bone tender meal. If you happen to have thin Mandarin pancakes, sliced spring onions, cucumbers and hoisin sauce this would be fantastic to serve up just like Peking duck. Otherwise just delicious as it is with a side a Hong Kong fried rice and Chinese veggies like baby bok choy or snow peas.



Ingredient Substitutions
Spices and Aromatics
Butter – good old fashion grass fed butter is best. If you need to keep things dairy free, opt for a vegan style butter alternative.
Aromatics like garlic and ginger make this recipe extra delicious. Fresh is always best. However, you can exchange ¼ teaspoon of ground dried ginger for ever tablespoon of fresh ginger in this recipe. In addition, ⅛th a teaspoon of dried garlic powder for every clove of garlic. Aromatics make Chinese recipes, like our Ginger Chili Fish Stir Fry, savory and delicious without adding a lot of extra salt (sodium).
Sichuan (Szechuan) whole peppercorns add that familiar mouth numbing spice. If you find Sichuan peppercorns online or at an Asian grocery store, be sure to try our Homemade Sichuan Garlic Chili Oil.
Chinese Five Spice Powder is made with cinnamon, fennel seeds, star anise, Sichuan peppercorns and cloves. This spice also give a great depth of flavor to our Chinese Beef Noodle Soup Recipe, Tofu Veggie Pancakes and our Hong Zao Bread.
Hoisin Sauce – is a bold, sweet, and savory Chinese barbeque sauce. This is a must have ingredient for our Peking Style Beer Butt Chicken. If gluten is an issue, Kikkoman has a gluten free hoisin sauce. The base of hoisin sauce is fermented soybean paste that gives food that funky addictive flavor. Funky is good! If you need to keep this lower carb or diabetic friendly, substitute with a sugar free plum jam for the hoisin sauce and skip the honey.
Soy sauce – we love dark soy sauce to give the chicken a deep red glaze. We know that dark soy sauce can be difficult to find if not living near an Asian food market. You can easily substitute regular soy sauce for dark soy (or soya) sauce or tamari to make this recipe for Peking chicken gluten free.
Oyster sauce is made with (you guessed it) dried oysters and soy sauce.  It’s thickened with cornstarch. If you have a gluten sensitivity, Kikkoman has a gluten free vegan option that is quite delicious. Three more delicious ideas using oyster sauce is our Easy pork Shiitake Mushroom Stir Fry, Asian Eggplant in Garlic Sauce and our Pepper Lunch Steak and Rice Sizzle.
Honey – a little sweet added to the savory is delicious. You can substitute a sugar alternative of choice.
What is the best beer can chicken grill temperature setting?
To make a tender juicy whole beer can chicken, set the grill at 250º degrees F or 121º degrees C. We placed our Peking Style Beer Butt Chicken in a disposable aluminum tray directly on the grill for easy cleanup. If you want to cook your chicken at a higher temperature, make sure that your chicken is not set on direct heat and flames of the barbeque grill.
How long does it take to cook a whole beer can chicken on the grill at 250 degrees F?
For each pound of chicken, it takes about 20 minutes under a covered grill. For example, a 5-pound whole chicken will take approximately 2 hours of cook time to have a fall off the bone tender chicken. However, the only true indicator that the chicken is fully cooked is when the internal thigh temperature of the chicken reaches 165º degrees F (or 73º degrees C). The juice of the chicken should run clear, and the chicken skin should be a beautiful bronze color.
When do you put the Peking sauce on the beer butt chicken?
When the internal temperature of the chicken is about 150º to 155º degrees F or 65º to 68º degrees C, we slather the delicious Chinese Peking sauce all over the beer can chicken. At this point, the beer butt chicken is about ½ hour away from being fully cooked. We usually brush on the Peking sauce twice before taking off the grill.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 540kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 146mg | Sodium: 751mg | Potassium: 408mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 535IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 2mg