You Need to Try This Grilled Beer Can Chicken Recipe

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Beer Can Chicken is easily the most notorious "cooking with beer" recipe in America, and with good reason. Just look at that mahogany bird, with the perfectly even browning, the juice dripping down the side, and the beautifully crisp skin. Sure, you get one of the best poultry dishes you've had all year, but there's more to it than that...

Image Credit: Jackie Dodd

Cooking the chicken upright over indirect heat (make sure to turn off the burner just below the bird) allows the entire thing to cook evenly without turning it once. In fact, you don't even have to check on it. The beer steams the chicken from within, helping to cook the bird while keeping it incredibly moist and tender. This is also a dish that requires very little prep, no special equipment (take that fancy rotisserie chicken!), and serves a crowd all for a bargain price. Don't worry, you can't taste the beer. All the more reason to finish off that six-pack while you wait for the chicken to cook!


Don't want to use beer? No problem! Fill a clean and empty aluminum can, or tin can (lid removed), about 2/3's full with chicken broth.

Things You'll Need

  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme

  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus 2 teaspoons, divided

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon chili powder

  • ½ teaspoon brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 (5 lb) whole roasting chicken, inside cavity cleared

  • 1 (12oz) can of beer (pale lager, pilsner, wheat beer, brown ale)

Image Credit: Jackie Dodd

Step 1: Prep the Grill and the Chicken

Preheat a grill to medium high. Stir together the smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, dried thyme, ½ teaspoon salt, black pepper, chili powder, and brown sugar to make a dry rub. Set aside. Sprinkle the chicken all over (inside and out) with the remaining 2 teaspoons salt, drizzle with olive oil, rubbing to coat. Sprinkle on all sides with the dry rub.

Image Credit: Jackie Dodd

Step 2: Place the Can Inside the Chicken

Pour out (or drink) 1/3 of the beer. Place the can upright on your work surface and then place the chicken over the can, pushing the can deep into the cavity of the chicken.

Image Credit: Jackie Dodd

Step 3: Place the Chicken Upright on the Grill

Place the chicken upright in the center of the grill using the can and the legs to form a tripod to keep the chicken upright. Turn the center burner off, keeping the outer two burners at medium-high.

Image Credit: Jackie Dodd


If your gas grill uses only two burners, turn one off and place the chicken over that burner. If using charcoal, move all the coals to the one side, put the chicken on the other side.

Step 4: Grill Until Cooked Through

Close the lid (remove the upper rack of the grill if it hinders the lid from closing with the chicken inside) allowing to cook until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear, about 60 to 75 minutes. Remove from the grill, and then remove the can from the chicken cavity. Allow to cool slightly before carving and serving.

Image Credit: Jackie Dodd

More Cooking With Beer

Got some beer leftover? Don't let it go to waste! Try one of these recipes...

The Only Beer-Battered Fish Recipe You Need

Image Credit: Jackie Dodd

How to Make Your Own Beer Cheese Sauce

Image Credit: Jackie Dodd

Easy to Make Beer Bread Recipe

Image Credit: Jackie Dodd