Beer-Can Roasted Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

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Beer-Can Roasted Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes by Daniel Cedillo
Story and Photos by William Gilbert

The aromas of various spices intermingle with the powerful smell of boiling beer and seasoned, baking chicken.

The smell evokes a sense of comfort and gratification. The meal is prepared by Daniel Cedillo, a junior English Communications major who, in his spare time, loves to cook.

He says his future plan is to be a journalist.

Being a full-time college student, Cedillo also likes to find meals that are both economical and able to be made into delicious left-overs.

He learned to make his Cajun Beer-Can Chicken while researching meals to prepare when he moved to his off-campus home.

Originally from San Antonio, Cedillo graduated from Holy Cross High School before enrolling at San Antonio College and eventually transferring to St. Mary’s University.

“I kind of grew up in the whole ‘private school’ circle and the feel of everyone knowing everyone else made me comfortable. St. Mary’s feels like a family,” Cedillo says.

Presently living near downtown San Antonio, Cedillo found that the lack of a dining facility led him to his passion for cooking.

“I love to cook and this recipe combines my favorites, beer and chicken!” he says.

Cedillo enjoys cooking and likes to try many different recipes such as Italian food, barbecue, and other chicken dishes.

“My personal all-time favorite food is real, authentic Mexican enchiladas. It has to have the Mexican cheese and, like, five different chilés for the sauce,” he says.

Cedillo chose the Cajun Beer-Can Chicken because he can cook it early in the week and then make sandwiches for lunch throughout the week.

When preparing this dish, Cedillo advises to “make sure to get a fresh whole chicken, use clean garden-fresh vegetables and use a pot that will allow for the chicken to stand freely.”

He also says to cut an inch-wide slit in the chicken, where the leg and thigh meet, in order to tuck the wingtip inside.

“This helps keep the wings tucked in,” he says. Cedillo likes to pair this dish alongside brown sugar drizzled, mashed sweet potatoes with chopped walnuts and carrots that are stewed in the same pot as the chicken.

Cajun Beer-Can Roasted Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredient List


  • 1 whole chicken (Uncut)
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4 whole carrots
  • 10 whole cloves of garlic
  • ½ can of beer
  • ½ tsp. of salt
  • ½ tsp. of pepper
  • 1 tsp. of powdered cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. of garlic power
  • 1 tsp. of onion powder
  • 1 tsp. of Cajun seasoning
  • 4 tsp. of extra virgin olive oil

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup of light brown sugar
  • ½ cup of chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup of butter

Recipe Directions

While preheating an oven to 410°, Cedillo says to mix all of the dry ingredients in a small bowl with the olive oil to make a “sort of paste to rub all over the chicken and under the breast skin.” Pour half of the can of beer into the pot and then place the garlic cloves along with a half-teaspoon of cayenne pepper inside the can. Stand the chicken up and place over the can until chicken stands on its own. Place the chicken and can into the pot. Cut the carrots and onion into quarters and place into the pan around the base of the chicken. Place the pot into the preheated oven and bake for ten minutes. After ten minutes, reduce the heat to 325° and cook to an internal thermometer temperature of 165°, about 60-75 minutes. While chicken is baking, Cedillo states that he “boils the sweet potatoes whole until fork tender and then I mash them with the ½ cup butter and walnuts. Then I drizzle and sprinkle brown sugar on top of the mashed potatoes.” Once the chicken is done cooking, remove it from the oven and carefully remove the can, “caution because it will be hot!” Cedillo says to “place the chicken on a cutting board to rest and then carve and enjoy.” Serve on a plate with the sweet potatoes and carrots. Makes 6-8 servings.