Photo by Stuart Mullenberg

Beer Can Chicken

Beer can chicken is one of the easiest ways to achieve tender, flavorful
chicken on the grill. This recipe is adapted from Elizabeth Karmel’s Taming
the Flame: Secrets for Hot-and-Quick Grilling
and Low-and-Slow BBQ. Try
using a light but flavorful beer, like a pale ale, which offers a nice
balance of hops and malt.

Grilling Method: Indirect/Medium Heat; Charcoal

4- to 5-lb. roasting chicken
Olive oil
12 oz. canned craft beer, such as Sly Fox Pikeland Pils or Dale’s Pale Ale
3 Tbsp. of your favorite dry rub, or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


or mix together:
1 Tbsp. sweet smoked paprika
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. celery salt
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. granulated onion
1/4 tsp. granulated garlic
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Remove neck and giblets and rinse chicken inside and out; pat dry with paper towels. Coat chicken lightly with oil and season with 2 tablespoons dry rub. Set aside. (Note: If you prefer a more classic roasted chicken flavor, omit the dry rub and use only kosher salt and black pepper.)

Open beer can, pour out about 1/4 cup of beer and make an extra hole in top of can with a church key can opener. Sprinkle remaining tablespoon of dry rub inside beer can. Set beer can on hard surface and fit chicken securely onto the can, so the bird looks like it’s sitting up on its own. Transfer chicken and can together onto grill. The chicken will appear to be sitting on the grilling rack. Place coals below the chicken to the left and right, but not directly below the bird. Place a drip tray between the coals. Put top on grill (make sure the chicken will fit with the top on ahead of time).

Cook chicken over medium-high, indirect heat for 60–90 minutes or until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees F in the breast area and 180 degrees in the thigh. Remove from grill and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serves 4.

Note: When removing from grate, be careful not to spill contents of beer can, as it will be very hot.





Check out our list of canned craft beers.