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Beer Can Chicken

beer can chicken

Time to fire up the grill.

beer can chickenBeer 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. Be sure you use a quality beer, and try using a light but flavorful beer, like a pale ale, which offers a nice balance of hops and malt.


  • 4- to 5-lb. roasting chicken
  • Olive oil
  • 12 oz. canned beer
  • 3 Tbsp. of your favorite dry rub, or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Tools:charcoal grill, church key can opener, grilling rack


Grilling Method: Indirect/Medium Heat; Charcoal

Remove the neck and giblets and rinse the chicken inside and out; pat dry with paper towels. Coat the chicken lightly with oil and season with 2 tablespoons of 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 a beer can, pour out about ¼ cup of beer and make an extra hole in top of can with a church key can opener. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of dry rub inside the beer can. Set the beer can on a hard surface and fit the chicken securely onto the can, so the bird looks like it’s sitting up on its own. Transfer the chicken and can together onto the grill. The chicken will appear to be sitting on the grilling rack. Place the coals below the chicken to the left and right, but not directly below the bird. Place a drip tray between the coals. Put the top on the 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.

Dry Rub: Mix together 1 Tbsp. sweet smoked paprika, 1 tsp. dried thyme, 1 tsp. dried oregano, ½ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. black pepper, ¼ tsp. celery salt, ¼ tsp. dry mustard, ¼ tsp. granulated onion, ¼ tsp. granulated garlic, and ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper.

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