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Beer Can Chicken on the Grill!!!

Updated on September 9, 2014

How To Cook Beer Can Chicken

Celebrate the coming of warm weather - have your friends over for a Beer Can Chicken BBQ!!! It's easy to make and Oh So Good. Your friends will think you're a Master of the Grill:). What are you waiting for? Pick up a nice plump fryer, a 12 pack of Steel Reserve, fire up that grill, and call your friends. They'll be amazed at your sheer brilliance and originality - guaranteed!!!

(Image: jshontz under Creative Commons)

Grilling Is the Only Way

Don't be tempted to cook this in an oven...

Some people like to use an oven for this, but I think it tastes a lot better cooked on the grill. Cooking Beer Can Chicken on a grill is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon and also happens to be the best way to grill chicken. The skin is nice and crispy and the meat is so tender that it almost falls off the bones. If you've never tried beer can chicken before, you're in for a real treat. Besides being delicious, it's really easy to make and you can impress all your friends with your "advanced grilling skills." Just don't let them watch you cook or they'll know how easy it is...

On the grill...
On the grill...
  • Prep time: 15 min
  • Cook time: 1 hour 30 min
  • Ready in: 1 hour 45 min
  • Yields: 4


  • 1 Chicken
  • Beer can chicken rub
  • 1 six pack of your favorite beer
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp dried rosemary leaves
  • 1 Tbsp tried thyme
  • Salt


  1. 1. Prep the beer
  2. 2. Prep the grill
  3. 3. Make the Beer Can Chicken Rub
  4. 4. Prep the chicken
  5. 5. Cook the chicken
  6. 6. Eat the chicken
  7. It really is that simple to make Beer Can Chicken on the grill!
Cast your vote for BBQ Beer Can Chicken Recipe

Beer Can Chicken Stand - Makes cooking soooooooooo much easier...

Some people cook Beer Can Chicken without a holder for the beer can but it's a lot easier with a proper beer can chicken stand, especially if it took you several attempts to get a correctly prepped beer. The stand will stabilize the beer can and prevent the weight of the chicken from making it tip over and ruining the whole recipe. You don't need to fret, the stands are cheap and you can easily find them at grocery stores, hardware stores, Amazon, etc. I've looked at 3 different ones (bought from Amazon) and they're all OK. Here's my thoughts on the ones I looked at:

Steven Raichlen Best of Barbecue Beer-Can Chicken Roaster Rack INCLUDES RACK, CANISTER AND DRIP PAN - DURABLE and LONG-LASTING CUSTOMER FAVORITE (Stainless Steel) - SR8016
Steven Raichlen Best of Barbecue Beer-Can Chicken Roaster Rack INCLUDES RACK, CANISTER AND DRIP PAN - DURABLE and LONG-LASTING CUSTOMER FAVORITE (Stainless Steel) - SR8016

The Steven Raichlin Beer Can Chicken Rack is gorgeous. It's made from highly polished stainless steel, it has a built in drip pan, and there is even a cover for the beer can to help prevent the beer from sloshing out in the event of an earthquake. Unfortunately, the built in drip pan is a little on the small side. Nevertheless it gets good reviews, so it's worth checking out...

Old Smokey Beer Can Chicken Holder
Old Smokey Beer Can Chicken Holder

The Old Smokey Beer Can Chicken Holder is my favorite - simple and cheap, just like me. It has a wide base that gives excellent stability and it's constructed from stainless steel. It doesn't have a built in drip pan, so you'll have to provide your own - not a big deal. This is the beer can chicken stand that I personally use...

Double Chicken Campfire Cooker Beer Can Chicken Grill
Double Chicken Campfire Cooker Beer Can Chicken Grill

The Double Chicken Campfire Cooker Beer Can Chicken Grill is actually designed for cooking over a campfire, not on a grill. Since it's illegal to make a campfire in my back yard and this rack is too big to fit on my grill, I wasn't actually able to try this one. It does hold two chickens though, so if you like to cook over a camp fire or have a big enough grill, you might be interested in this...


Prepping the Beer

The key to making great beer can chicken is the beer...

Open 1 of the cans of beer and drink half. It is absolutely critical that you leave exactly 6 oz of beer in the can, so if you accidentally drink more than half, go ahead and finish it and try again with another can of beer. Just make sure you get it correct by the 3rd can because you'll need the rest of the beer for later. After you have successfully created an exactly half full beer let it set out and warm to room temperature.

Prepping the Grill - Grilling with indirect heat...

In order to properly cook beer can chicken on the grill you need to use a technique known as indirect heat cooking. Cooking with indirect heat allows the meat to cook slower, giving the flavors from the beer and seasoning rub to infuse the meat. Setting up your grill for indirect heat is automatic with this recipe - the metal pan you set the chicken in separates the meat from the direct heat of the charcoal. If you insist on trying this without the pan, you'll need to keep the charcoal on one side of the grill and place the chicken on the other side. If you'd like a more detailed explanation, check out a book on advanced grilling techniques like Weber's Way to Grill.

Prepping the Chicken

This is the fun part...

Remove the neck, gizzard, heart, and anything else that might be in the body cavity. Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry. Crush the rosemary leaves and thyme and mix together (this results in something known as "Beer Can Chicken rub" and practically warrants its own recipe page). Brush the olive oil all over the outside of the chicken, then sprinkle salt all over the chicken - inside and out. Sprinkle the outside of the chicken with the Beer Can Chicken Rub and pat it into the skin. We're half way there...

Easy Beer Can Chicken Rub Recipe - Best to keep it simple, like the rest of the recipe...

The subject of Beer Can Chicken rub could easily take up an entire web page of its own, but I like to keep thinks simple so my rub recipe sticks to... simplicity.

  • Prep time: 10 min
  • Ready in: 10 min
  • Yields: 1 Chicken


  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemarry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 -1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried ground sage


  1. Crush the rosemary leaves (if you don't have a mortar and pestle, a spoon and bowl work OK). Mix with the other ingredients. Rub all over the chicken and be happy:)

Cooking With Beer - Beer makes it better...


Cooking the Chicken

How to cook beer can chicken on the grill...

Place the beer can chicken stand (if you can't find one locally, order one from Amazon) into a square metal pan, then put the half beer into the holder (if you accidentally drank all the beer send someone to the store for more). If you're using the Steven Raichlen Stainless Steel Beer Can Chicken Rack with Drip Pan you may not need a separate pan. Lower the back end of the chicken over the beer can so it's sitting upright with the can in its... ahem... cavity. Place the whole assembly on the grill, put on the cover, and find something to do for about an hour (hint... you should have at least 3 beers left over from step one).

Eating the Chicken

The whole point of this little exercise...

Now that the chicken is cooked you're in for a real treat. Beer can chicken is delicious. The skin is nice and crispy, with most of the fat melted away by the slow cooking process. The meat is tender - so tender it almost falls off the bones - and very flavorful. So sit back and share a delicious meal with your family or friends. Bask in the glow of the praise they will heap on you for being such an excellent grill master. Oh, and don't let them know how easy it actually was to make.

Frequently Ask Questions - You've got questions about Beer Can Chicken, I've got answers...

  • What is the best beer for Beer Can Chicken? Steel Reserve
  • What is the best Beer Can Chicken holder? I like the Old Smokey Beer Can Chicken Holder
  • Were any chickens harmed in the production of this page? No
  • What is more important, the chicken or the beer? The beer. Hello....
  • Which came first, the chicken or the egg? How the heck would I know?

Please Sign my Guestbook - What's your favorite way to grill chicken?

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    • JimHofman profile image

      JimHofman 4 years ago

      Boy am I hungry now! Thanks for the inspiration.

    • profile image

      momsfunny 5 years ago

      What a way to grill chicken. Looks delicious.

    • Rosaquid profile image

      Rosaquid 5 years ago

      This looks fun. Thanks!

    • piedromolinero profile image

      piedromolinero 5 years ago

      I tried beer can chicken once, it's quite yummy. A well deserved purple star!

    • Edwardjames81 profile image

      Edwardjames81 5 years ago

      I really have got to try this!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You had me at "easy to make." I'm not much of a cook, so easy recipes are always welcome to me. I love a recipe that has as a first step "drink half the can of beer." With only a short time left in the summer, I need to get a move on and cook some beer can chicken!

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

      beer + chicken, yummy! blessings.

    • bjesparza profile image

      bjesparza 5 years ago

      Eat more chicken

    • profile image

      DeimonJai 5 years ago

      This idea is great. Wetwew!

    • glenbrook profile image

      glenbrook 5 years ago

      @AfroMuscle: N/A beer should work OK, I've also heard apple juice works well.

    • AfroMuscle profile image

      AfroMuscle 5 years ago

      I don't drink alcohol but can I use something else to substitute the beer or would the recipe not work otherwise?

    • profile image

      johnathan-thompson-902 5 years ago

      wow great lens

    • profile image

      fittrainerkyle 5 years ago

      I've heard of this!! I want to try it now!

    • profile image

      annashantie 5 years ago

      yes!!! I like it

    • alina nicoleta92 profile image

      alina nicoleta92 5 years ago

      What can I say?Luv chicken:***

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 5 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      This was super! Haven't tried it, but will now. Also red beer sounds good. Thanks for the fun presentation.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You really had me laughing - thanks for an informative, amusing and brilliant lens!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 5 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      What a terrific page about Beer Can Chicken! Love your writing style (which most likely comes from the drinking of all those 'half-beers'!).

      We acquired a Weber gas grill about 12 years ago... and the Weber Grill cookbook. That cookbook became hubby's 'bible'. He read it over and over and created many fabulous grilled meals from it. One of our very favorite recipes became 'Beer Can Chicken'. We used Fosters Beer -- our favorite. Well, if you have to 'drink' half the beer before you begin, you might as well use your favorite beer! :) Anyway, we always cooked two chickens at the same time (partly because we usually had beer can chicken when we had visiting relatives or friends (and when you live at the beach you get a LOT of visiting relatives and friends!). Sometimes we cooked two beer can chickens for just the two of us.... because that scrumptious chicken when left-over made fantastic lunch time sandwiches! And two are just as easy to cook on the grill as one..... Yes.... I like Beer Can Chicken!

    • InternetTrekker1 profile image

      InternetTrekker1 5 years ago

      Chicken and Beer are my favorite Combination, I will love to have this recipe soon...I better start prepping lol ...thanks for the lovely lens

    • peggygallyot profile image

      peggygallyot 5 years ago

      Haven't tried it .

    • profile image

      kmyangel 5 years ago

      I love Chicken a lot but your pictures are really amazing!

    • profile image

      KaraAshton 5 years ago

      I love chicken cooked any way but this looks so yummy!

    • intermarks profile image

      intermarks 5 years ago

      This is a special kind of way to cook chicken. I must give it a try one day. Thanks for the recipe.

    • profile image

      sheezie77 5 years ago

      Very nice lens! I enjoy your writing

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      I had seen it done before but just this week one of the contestants in the Australian Master Chef contest won the first golden apron with his version. I've never tried it but must give it a go...hubby will do the honors in drinking the beer!

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 5 years ago from Somewhere in England

      I seem to be having a problem with leaving the right amount of beer in can. Any tips, or should I just keep trying?

    • KittySmith profile image

      KittySmith 5 years ago

      Drooooooooool, I love Beer Can Chicken. I will have to try out your rub, it is a little different than mine. ANy excuse to do this one again....

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 5 years ago

      I have made this once and the chicken was so juicy and tasty. The recipe was a slow cook but worth the wait. Crispy on the outside and steamed and tender on the inside. Blessed.****

    • ElectricianStud profile image

      ElectricianStud 5 years ago

      Beer and Grilling! Need we say more?

    • profile image

      mizrae 5 years ago

      I had to show this lens to my brother who loves to grill. He is going to try this, OMG!

    • glenbrook profile image

      glenbrook 5 years ago

      @jmatts1: I'm sure you could, but to tell you the truth I've never owned a gas grill.

    • profile image

      jmatts1 5 years ago

      Great lens. Can this be made on a gas grill instead of charcoal?

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      What an undignified position for a chicken to end up in. But it does make for a very tasty bird.

    • Wendy Leanne profile image

      Wendy Leanne 5 years ago from Texas

      I'm going to pass this lens along to my husband so he can make this some afternoon. You did a great job putting this lens together. *~blessed~* by a Squid Angel.

    • MissionBoundCre profile image

      MissionBoundCre 5 years ago

      I've made this.. It is Awesome!

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 5 years ago

      Never even heard of it before but it certainly sounds delicious. That rub sounds interesting too. Don't do much (well any, actually) bbqing but that rub is going to find it's way onto chicken done alternative style! Thanks very much for a great recipe and a fun read. :)

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 5 years ago

      Never even heard of it before but it certainly sounds delicious. That rub sounds interesting too. Don't much (well any, actually) bbqing but that rub is going to find it's way onto chicken done alternative style! Thanks very much for a great recipe and a fun read. :)

    • TheManInTheHat profile image

      TheManInTheHat 5 years ago

      Nice recipe! I must try this one a beer and chicken lover, it looks like a win/win to me! :)

    • profile image

      sdmary 5 years ago

      I have never had it but have always wanted to try. This will definitely be something I experiment with on my family ... after I get the 6th beer finally at exactly 6 ounces .... HIC! :) Very cute lens!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Our daughter tried this and it was delicious.

    • biminibahamas profile image

      biminibahamas 5 years ago

      Love it! I always called it drunken chicken ... of course, I had a couple of beers at the time!

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 5 years ago from Connecticut

      This is great! I've never cooked a beer can chicken, but this recipe and process is definitely in my summer grilling plans. Yum!

    • profile image

      YourFirstTime 5 years ago

      Yum - I've made this but in the oven.

    • FantasticVoyages profile image

      Fantastic Voyages 5 years ago from Texas

      Sounds like a lot of fun to make, regardless of the taste. My kind of cooking!

    • profile image

      cabletiesandmore 5 years ago

      Looks so good..never had this before.. will try soon. Thanks for this :)

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      I've done this and it is really very tasty---nice lens! :>)

    • Craftypicks profile image

      Lori Green 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      This looks really good. I need the beer can chicken holder

    • IMKZRNU2 profile image

      IMKZRNU2 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Love to make Beer Can is tasty and you made a very fun and informative lens about it!

    • mysweetjane lm profile image

      mysweetjane lm 5 years ago

      this looks like a nice simple recipe to make

    • profile image

      davecurrtis 5 years ago

      This beer can chicken really sounds tasty, I really like grills than using the oven.

    • Zebedee32 profile image

      Zebedee32 5 years ago

      The theme suits the lens. Very nice.

    • Dianna206 profile image

      Dianna206 5 years ago

      Sounds delicious! Great format, and I love your sense of humor!

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 5 years ago

      The chicken sounds great, but the beer and tomato juice - blah!

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 5 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      Absolutely love beer can chicken - great recipes and step by step instructions!

    • profile image

      lensrocker 5 years ago

      hi there! really nice lens - and if yourse i am in love with the beer butt chicken :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Cheers! Still trying to leave the exact amount of beer left in the can! :)

      Delicious looking chicken! Thank you!

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      I have never tried it. Looks tasty. And I like the drinking part from the beginning, because i know how crucial is to have exact volumes of beer available for special tasks!


    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      love seeing lenses with cooking by beer, haven't done it before so its new to me.

    • StaciJansma LM profile image

      StaciJansma LM 6 years ago

      I haven't had beer can chicken yet - but heard its good.

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 6 years ago

      I came, I read, I liked what I saw. Have a Squid Angel Memorial Day Weekend Bus Tour blessing! :)

    • KellydeBorda profile image

      KellydeBorda 6 years ago

      Wonderful lens - excellent job explaining all the steps! Blessed by the Barbecue Angel!

    • profile image

      alyssa87 6 years ago

      interesting, thanks for sharing this amazing recipe :)

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 6 years ago from Canada

      I've been reading about cooking chicken with a beer can for years. I should make it. You've put together a nice guide.

    • profile image

      RobGrawberger 6 years ago

      LMAO at prep the beer. Love beer can chicken. Probably make 10 -12 each summer on the grill. Great Job!