Cooking: Beer Can Chicken

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Beer Can Chicken is one of my favorite meals.  The meat comes out so juicy and delicious!  It is a lot easier than you may be thinking too.  All you need is the few ingredients below, a barbeque, meat thermometer and can of beer! Great paired with a fresh summer salad or grilled asparagus.


5-6 pound chicken
can of beer
6-10 garlic cloves
olive oil
dry seasoning to taste (I use garlic powder, season salt, thyme, rosemary & black pepper)


1. Preheat BBQ to approximately 350°F.  On our BBQ we turn the outside two burners to low and leave the middle burner off.  This tends to maintain the overall correct temperature while not having direct heat under the bird, which works best.

2. In a small bowl or mug, mix together your rub.  I use about 3 T olive oil, 2 T garlic powder, 2 T season all, then about 1/2 T each of dried thyme, dried rosemary and black pepper.  This is really to taste so try different variations and amounts until you find what your like best.

3. Slice up your garlic cloves and set them aside.  Grab your can of beer (we usually use Pabst or Coors Light), open it and pour the beer into a glass.  Take a knife or scissors and carefully cut the can approximately 1/3 of the way down (leaving the bottom 2/3’s of the can to use in the bird).  Pour beer into to the bottom section of the can until about 1/2 full.  Add a few garlic pieces and about 1 teaspoon of the herb rub mixture to the beer.

3. Now it is time to prepare the chicken. I like to place a cutting board next to my sink and work on the chicken there.  Remove the innards from the chicken and discard.  Work the spice rub onto the chicken focusing on the inside cavity of the bird and underneath the skin to work the flavor into the meat. Take a knife and cut small slices into the breast, back and legs to insert pieces of your garlic cloves into the meat and under the skin.

4. This next part is best done with two people.  Take the prepared bird out to your BBQ along with the can of beer.  Carefully work the can into the cavity of the bird and place onto the center of your grill so that the chicken is standing upright, balanced by the beer can.  If he seems wobbly we use metal skewers to help secure.  Close the BBQ to begin cooking.

5. Cook for approximately 3 hours, or until the internal temperature measures 170°F on a meat thermometer.  I normally check after about 30 minutes to make sure the BBQ temperature is correct and then again every hour to check the temperature of the bird.

6. Once it reaches 170°F, remove from the grill.  Our trick to this is to take two pot holders and cover them in tin foil.  One person then lifts the bird off the grill and onto the plate, holding onto the bird the whole time while walking it into the house.  We use a similar method to remove the can from the bird.  One person uses the foil covered pot holders to hold the chicken over the sink, while the other person uses tongs to pull out the beer can and dump it into the sink.  Be careful, the juice inside the beer can is extremely hot at this point. Tent the bird in foil to rest a few minutes and then serve!

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