Skip to main content

Chicken on a Throne

Chicken on Throne 63.jpg

You might have heard of “beer-can chicken,” but this version matches the tang of ginger-ale with classic Asian flavors. Cooking a chicken in the upright position of “sitting” on a can results in moist meat throughout.

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 6 ServingsServings


  • 1-inch long chunk of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 scallions
  • 1 jalapeño, halved lengthwise, mem-branes and seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • A separate, ¼ inch- thick slice of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 (12-ounce) can of ginger ale
  • 1 (4 - 5 pound) chicken
  • 1 cup hickory wood chips, optional


1. In a mini food processor, combine the chunk of ginger, the garlic, the scallions, ½ of the jalapeño, the soy sauce, and the oil, and process until a puree is formed. Absolute smoothness isn’t required, but don’t leave any large pieces.

2. Open the ginger-ale can and remove (or drink!) half of the soda. If you’re using the wood chips, place them in a mug or cup and pour the first half of the soda over the chips. Set them aside for an hour to soak up flavor.

3. Using an old-style (not crank) can opener, puncture a second hole in the top of the can, opposite the first, so that more of the beverage can escape as steam and season the bird. Drop the thin slice of ginger and the remaining ½ jalapeno into the can.

4. Prepare your grill for indirect cooking,medium-high heat, 325°F to 350°F. If using a gas grill, “indirect cooking” means only lighting the burners on one side. In a kettle grill, that means piling all the coals up to one side of the grill.

5. While the grill warms up, practice “sitting” the chicken on the can, legs down and wings up, on a metal tray in your kitchen. Depending on the size of the legs, either use them separately to balance the chicken, or cross them to create a stand for the chicken to lean on. Once you have the hang of it, it won’t be any harder than tossing raw meat on the grill.

6. When the grill is ready, rub the chicken inside and outside with the ginger puree. If you are using the wood chips, drain them and make a smoking packet. Take a square piece of heavy-duty foil, about 12 inches by 12 inches. Put the drained chips in the center of the foil and fold the sides towards the center to make a closed pouch. Use a fork to put about a dozen small holes on the smooth side of the packet.

7. Carefully place the half-filled can directly on the cooking grate, over the cooler side of the grill. Seat the chicken on the can, being careful not to knock it over. Place the smoking packet over the hotter part of the grill, holes up. Cover the grill.

8. Take care to maintain the grill temperature. After an hour, open the grill and measure the temperature in the chicken’s thigh. If you haven’t reached 180°, close the grill and give it more time.

9. Be very careful when removing the bird from the grill — the can inside the chicken will be filled with boiling liquid. Use kitchen tongs or oven mitts to move the chicken to a serving plate. Let it rest for 5 minutes and carefully remove the can, disposing of it. Carve the bird or separate the parts and serve with hoisin sauce or duck sauce.

Recipe published in JOY of KOSHER with Jamie Geller Summer 2014. Subscribe Now.


Want stories like this delivered right to your inbox? Sign up now for our *free* JOY of KOSHER Newsletter.