Beer Chicken with Marinated Tomatoes Over Creamy Orzo

Drunken Chicken and Creamy Orzo with marinated tomatoes

Beer Chicken with marinated tomatoes over creamy orzo is a weekend standard at our house. Only we call it drunken chicken. The meat is always juicy and full of flavor, while our favorite side is a pasta that acts and tastes like risotto. There isn’t a lot of fuss with this recipe — fuss spells lots of stirring and tending to the rice. Nope! This creamy orzo comes together in no time, and the addition of the tangy marinated grape tomatoes compliments the warm orzo. This can all be made in the time that the cooked bird is resting.

For this recipe you will need: whole chicken, beer, seasoning or rub, white wine vinegar, olive oil, shallots, Dijon mustard, grape tomatoes, fresh basil, orzo pasta, unsalted butter, heavy cream, milk, salt, pepper. 

A closeup of a drunken chicken sitting on a beer can. It done to a golden brown.

When warm weather arrives, yard work beckons, and it seems like there is less cooking on the stove more cooking on the grill.

We strive for simple and satisfying dishes that must use fresh ingredients and be quick. 

Songs proclaim how lazy summer is and how the living is comfortable. Well, I declare that the people who wrote those songs didn’t have.

  • kids
  • a house
  • or a garden.

When we’re going to be working outdoors, we prep the food in the morning. Then we can get the meal together in no time.

Sometimes we even have a dish that doesn’t need a lot of attention as it’s cooking,  like drunken chicken.

How to prepare the Chicken

Beer can chicken easy to make, simple as 1,2,3. Here’s what you do just trim up the chicken as you would in the butterflied chicken.

  1. Season well with All Our Way seasoning and rub or your favorite seasoning.
  2. When you’re ready to begin, get the grill ready.
  3. Prepare the coals for indirect heat with a drip pan on the side.

The bird is now ready to sit on his beer throne.  But now you’ll have to find someone to make the supreme sacrifice — drink half a can of beer 🙂

When our kids were home, volunteers were easy to find. {sigh} Now it’s not so easy. I’m not a beer drinker. Now wine, that’s a different story. And believe me, that bird is not going to sit on our bottle of wine.

Seasoned chicken sitting on beer can on baking tray

Spicing up the Beer Can Chicken

We put some hot sauce in the can of beer before setting the bird on it. You can season it however you like; we just happen to like it spicy.

Once the grill is ready, around 350 F, you put the chicken over the drip pan.

I have to confess that I don’t do too much with fire outdoors, now I’m not saying that I can’t. I can. But I figure my Honey, being the manly- manly that he is, enjoys taking the meat and putting it over the hot coals that he’s fired up.

Drunken Chicken on a beer

The beer can chicken doesn’t need a lot of tending –just an eye on the temp.

What will happen with the chicken

  • The steam from the spicy beer will keep the inside of the bird juicy and moist.
  • The heat from the coals will turn the outside skin a beautiful golden brown.
Chicken sits on a can of beer on top of a green leaf pattern platter. Glass of red wine in background.

After about 1 hour, or when the internal temp of the chicken is 165 ℉  we take the beer can chicken off the grill, cover it loosely with aluminum foil, and we let it rest.

Creamy orzo the perfect side for busy days

In the meantime, you can make the side, which is a creamy orzo risotto covered with marinated tomatoes. This dish is fast and easy; it only takes about 20 minutes.

orzo pasta with marinated grape tomatoes

You would think that the rich, creamy pasta has a lot of fat and calories in it, but it doesn’t. A lot of the dish’s richness comes from the natural starches found in the orzo.

You could eat the pasta alone, but you don’t want to miss the cold, tangy tomatoes against the warm, creamy pasta.

Red grape tomatoes in a white bowl with a vinegar and oil vinaigrette being poured on to marinate them.

Making the Creamy Orzo Risotto

First, you combine the ingredients for the marinade then you pour it over the halved grape tomatoes. 

creamy orzo

Whisk the cream and milk for the pasta into the butter to blend; cook 2-3 minutes to thicken.

Cooked orzo in a green glass bowl poured into the sauce in the stainless steel saucepan.

Once the sauce is thick, you pour the cooked orzo into it.

A hand with a large spoon stirring the orzo in a cream sauce in a stainless steel saucepan over a gas stove.

The Orzo in Creamy Sauce will thicken even more and be the consistency of risotto.

Stir the cooked pasta into the sauce; the starch in the pasta will thicken the sauce. 

A white plate with a drunken chicken breast, creamy orzo with red marinated grape tomato halves and several small green broccoli florets.

Beer Can Chicken and creamy orzo risotto topped with marinated tomatoes and steamed broccoli.

Don’t miss out on this excellent meal combination. You don’t have only to make this menu because you’re busy. Ask family or friends over and enjoy watching that drunken bird go from pasty white to a beautiful golden tan. Oh, and make sure it’ll be someone who’ll drink that other half beer.

Tutti a tavola è pronto!

Un caro saluto e alla prossima.


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This beer can holder works well for holding the beer can plus the chicken. It’s easier to put on and take off the grill. If you like grilled chicken, you’ll get lots of use out of it.

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Creamy Orzo with Marinated Grape Tomatoes

You’ll be thinking of a myriad of ways you can spice it up and serve. Creamy orzo is so simple, but the flavor is complex — it compliments chicken beautifully. This time we added the tomato sauce, but it would be easy to add parmesan, spinach, or mushrooms. Consider this a template and then go wild!! Try it and see if we aren’t right.

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fast, quick, 20 minute meal, risotto,
  • 2 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Two teaspoon minced shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups halved grape tomatoes
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1 1/4 cups dry orzo pasta 8 oz.
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • For the tomatoes: Whisk together vinegar, oil, shallots, and Dijon and toss with tomatoes; season with salt and pepper. Add basil right before serving.
  • For the orzo: Cook orzo in a pot of boiling salted water according to package directions; drain.

Serving: 4g | Calories: 191kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 25mg | Potassium: 177mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 832IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1mg

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