Beer Can Chicken on the Grill

beer can chicken on the grill

Beer can chicken is a fun and easy way to cook a whole chicken on the grill. The beer steams inside the bird, infusing it with moist heat that helps keep the meat juicy and tender.

This method works on both gas and charcoal grills, but you’ll want to cook your beer can chicken over indirect heat. For gas, preheat all burners before cooking.

Gas Grill

Beer can chicken is a fun and delicious way to prepare a whole chicken on the grill. The steam from the beer inside the can adds moisture to the inner cavity of the chicken, resulting in a tender and succulent bird.

The beer steam also helps the skin to cook evenly. Its moisture also penetrates the skin, adding flavor and tenderness to the meat.

You can make beer can chicken on any type of grill, but you will need to prepare the grill for indirect cooking and close the lid so that the heat stays in the area where the chicken is placed. This is especially important on gas grills, where the temperature can vary greatly between burners and the chicken can be cooked unevenly.

To start, prep the chicken by removing and discarding the neck and giblets. Rinse the chicken thoroughly with water to remove any remaining dirt or grime. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.

Season the outside and inside of the chicken with a mixture of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, coriander and cumin. Rub the mixture all over the chicken and into the cavity, and leave the chicken in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 3 hours to marinate.

After letting the chicken marinate, open the beer can and pour out some of the beer, if possible. Then add the poultry spice rub to the rest of the beer in the can and stir to mix.

Before placing the chicken on the grill, prepare your barbecue for indirect cooking over medium-low heat (190degC to 230degC). Place the beer can inside the cavity of the chicken and hold it upright with its legs pointing down on the unlit side of the grill.

With the grill lid closed, cook over indirect medium-low heat until an internal meat thermometer registers 165degF in the thickest part of the thigh, about 1 hour. When the bird is done, remove from the grill and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.

The best beer can chicken is one that’s seasoned with the right ingredients and technique, which will ensure you get a moist, tender and juicy chicken. You can experiment with different flavors and spices to create the perfect dish for your taste buds.

Charcoal Grill

Beer can chicken on the grill is a classic summer barbecue recipe. It steams the inside of the chicken while it cooks, resulting in moist, succulent, and flavorful results that are perfect for a casual meal with friends.

Before cooking, prepare the chicken by removing the neck and giblets (if any), and then washing it thoroughly. Pat dry, and brush with olive oil and coat with a bbq rub on both sides of the bird.

For a quick beer can chicken rub, mix brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, and dry mustard. You can also add garlic and a few fresh herbs to the mixture. Combine the ingredients and use it for this chicken as well as other grilled items.

To grill the beer can chicken, preheat your charcoal grill or gas grill for indirect high heat. For a gas grill, set up a 2-zone area with 2 out of 3 or 4 burners on high and the remaining 2 out of 3 on low. If you are using a charcoal grill, light a full chimney of charcoal and arrange the coals on one side of the grill.

Lower the chicken on the open beer can, balancing it on its legs and the can, and then place it over the hot part of the grill. This will create a tripod effect that will help keep the chicken steady as it cooks, and will prevent flare ups.

The beer can will steam the chicken during cooking, creating a tender and flavorful result that will satisfy even the most discerning palate. For best results, the chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, or until it is no longer pink in the thigh and the juices run clear when stabbed with a knife.

When the chicken is done, transfer it to a platter, and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. This will allow the juices to settle and the chicken to cool enough to cut into.

Depending on the size of your chicken, it will take about an hour and 15 minutes to cook. The internal temperature should register 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the thigh.


One of the most popular recipes for smoking chicken on a grill is beer can chicken. It combines the traditional grilling method of adding moisture to a chicken while also infusing it with flavor from a beer can that is half full of beer.

While it may seem like a complicated process, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results. This beer can chicken is smoked over indirect heat on the grill to create a tender, juicy, fall-off-the-bone bird that’s sure to impress your guests.

Start by prepping your chicken. This involves separating the skin from the body of the chicken, applying a rub under the skin, and seasoning the inside of the chicken’s cavity.

Next, insert a beer can into the cavity of your chicken, and lower the chicken over the can. This will help the chicken stand up and keep it stable on the smoker.

Smoke the chicken on a gas or charcoal grill over indirect heat for about 1 hour and 15 minutes until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 F. If you’re using a charcoal grill, arrange your coals on one side of the grill and place a drip pan on that side.

When the chicken is finished, remove it from the grill and transfer it to a cutting board. Carefully lift it off the beer can, wiggling it back and forth if necessary. Let the chicken rest on the board for 10 minutes before carving and serving it.

This recipe can be made with any size chicken. For best results, a three- to four-pound bird will be sufficient for two or three people. If you’re cooking a larger chicken, you may need to adjust the time and temperature of your smoker accordingly. If you’re using a gas grill, preheat all the burners and then turn half of them off before placing the chicken on the grill. Alternatively, you can use a drip pan to cook your beer can chicken over indirect heat. This will keep the chicken from overcooking before it finishes cooking on the outside.


Beer can chicken is a deceptively simple recipe that turns an ordinary chicken into a mouthwatering masterpiece. It’s incredibly moist on the inside and crispy on the outside, and it requires no special equipment or techniques to make.

The key to success is a combination of the right seasonings, a good dry brine, and technique. It’s also important to keep the meat from drying out too much, or you’ll end up with an overcooked bird that lacks flavor.

To get the best beer can chicken results, start by preheat your grill on medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, set the half-empty beer can on the grill. You’ll need to work carefully, as the can will move around quite a bit.

Next, place the chicken on top of the can and secure it with the legs. Alternatively, you can set the beer can on a foil pan and lower the chicken leg-side down onto it until it’s propped up securely. Once it’s positioned, place the chicken on the grill and cook for about 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F in the breast and 180 degrees F in the thigh.

Once the chicken is cooked, you can remove it from the can. This can be a little tricky, so it’s best to have two people help you with the process. One person holds the can and another grasps the chicken with wadded paper towels or a kitchen towel to pull it off the can.

You can serve your grilled chicken with sides of mashed potatoes or grilled veggies for a complete meal. Or you can shred the leftovers and use it in soups, salads, or tacos.

For the perfect chicken, pat it dry before adding oil and spices to create a beautiful brown, crispy skin. Season generously to ensure all areas of the chicken are covered in flavor. Using a meat thermometer is a great way to ensure the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Finally, wait until the chicken has rested before slicing and serving.

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