Drunken Chicken with 40'leven Cloves of Garlic

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Recipe by South Your Mouth

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Drunken Chicken with 40’leven Cloves of Garlic

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and/or legs

1 12-oz bottle beer (I used Yuengling on this batch)

1 whole bulb of garlic

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Vegetable oil

Separate garlic cloves from the papery bulb then peel each clove. I made quick work of peeling mine by placing them all in a quart-sized mason jar, screwing on the lid and shaking vigorously until all the peel fell off. Slightly pop open each clove by laying your knife over the clove and gently pounding with the heel of your hand. You don’t want to obliterate them like you would if you were going to mince the garlic. You just want to open each clove up a little to release the flavor.

Combine beer, garlic cloves, salt, garlic powder, paprika and white pepper in a gallon-sized zip-top bag or large dish then stir until the salt is dissolved. Add chicken, seal or cover, then refrigerate for 24 hours.

Drain chicken well, reserving garlic cloves. Heat a large cast iron skillet (see below for alternate preparation also) over medium heat. Add just enough vegetable oil to skillet to coat the bottom. Once oil and pan are hot, add chicken pieces, skin-side down. Cook chicken on all sides until browned. We’re not trying to cook the chicken through, just brown it nicely.

Once all chicken pieces are browned, position thighs skin-side up and place reserved garlic cloves around chicken. Place skillet in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until deep golden brown.

Remove skillet from oven and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Rest dish for 15 minutes then serve. Don’t throw out the garlic! You can eat it, spread on bread or mix with roasted vegetables.

Alternate Preparation

If you don’t have a cast iron skillet or a frying pan big enough to fit all the chicken pieces, don’t worry! Just brown the chicken in batches in any sturdy skillet. Spoon a little of the pan drippings into a 13x9 baking dish to grease the bottom then transfer chicken and garlic to dish then bake per recipe.


  • You can get away with marinating the chicken less than 24 hours but I wouldn’t go less than 12 hours.
  • Do not use boneless, skinless chicken.
  • I don’t recommend using chicken breasts. If you try it anyway, don’t yell at me if your chicken is dry. 
  • You can absolutely double this recipe (actually I usually do). Double all ingredients (2 bottles of beer, 2 bulbs of garlic, etc.) and cook the same amount of time.
  • Use any beer you like. I’d recommend a brown ale or lager and would probably steer away from IPAs or other super-hoppy beer.
  • You can absolutely grill this! You’ll lose the roasted garlic (though I suppose you could wrap it up in foil and cook it on the grill too – if you try that, let me know how it turns out!)
  • ‘Drunken Chicken’ is the name given to several different ways of preparing chicken using alcoholic beverages.