Beer Can Chicken is an incredible recipe for grilled chicken. This easy barbecue recipe makes chicken that is amazingly flavorful and moist.
The beer steams the chicken, keeping the inside super moist while roasting, yet still achieving the desirable crispy skin on the outside. Beer Can Chicken is my all-time favorite recipe for grilling chicken. Perfect for backyard parties, no one is stuck tending to the BBQ while everyone else is visiting. You put the chicken on to roast and leave it until done.
My preference is to use beer in this recipe. In Saskatchewan we call this recipe Beer Butt Chicken and everyone uses their favorite brand of beer. You have to empty half of the can, so you might as well enjoy sipping the other half while preparing the chicken.
What can I use instead of beer in this recipe?
- Soda such as root beer, Coke or Pepsi make terrific substitutions.
- Non alcoholic beer.
- Chicken stock
How to cook beer can chicken.
- Use a beer can chicken holder. They can be found at most hardware or BBQ stores as well as online.
- Some holders come with racks, if not place the beer can chicken holder on a foil lined cookie sheet.
- Cook chicken on the grill over medium heat with grill lid closed.
- Depending on the size of your chicken it will take 1 to 1 ½ hours. Using a meat thermometer the internal temperature should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
What to serve with grilled chicken?
How to Make Beer Can Chicken
Mix up your favorite chicken rub. I like using thyme, smoked paprika, garlic powder, sage, salt and pepper. If you like spicy, add some red pepper flakes.
Brush the chicken with olive oil. This helps the spice mix stick to the chicken and make the skin crispy.
Pour about half of the beer out of the can (of course you drink this). Put any leftover spice mix and chopped onion into the beer can.
Insert beer can into roaster rack and place chicken on top.
Place roaster on an old baking sheet covered with foil wrap or large foil bake pan.
Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your chicken. A 3 lb chicken will take about 1 hour. Roast until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF.
This post was originally published on June 27, 2015. Occasionally I update with fresh tips, content, and photos. Current update April 28, 2021.
Beer Can Chicken
- 3-4 pound chicken whole
- 1 can beer
- 1 medium onion
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon sage
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat grill.
- Pat chicken dry with paper towel. Coat chicken with olive oil.
- Mix together all the spices.
- Rub half of the spice mixture over chicken, inside as well.
- Drink half of the can of beer. Put remaining spice mix into the can of beer.
- Push chopped onion into beer can.
- Place beer can into roasting rack, then push chicken butt side into the beer can.
- Place chicken rack onto old cookie sheet covered with foil.
- Roast on medium heat until chicken reaches internal temperature of 165ºF. About 1 hour depending on the size of chicken.
I will have to try that, beer can chicken certainly is a guaranteed recipe for great tasting chicken.
Cassie, I have never done it in the oven, but I don't think if would work well as the dripping would probably smoke up and it just doesn't cook the same as a barbeque.
Yum, I love beer can chicken!!!
thanks for answering that question queenbe123, much appreciated 🙂
i've done it in the oven..works very well
Just wondering for those that have tried this in the oven, does it make a mess ??
Frank in NOLA
Make sure you add about 4oz of Tabasco sauce to the beer. After cooking, remove can and pour contents into pan and allow cut out chicken to soak for extra flavor.
Great idea Frank, thanks
Tried this last night for the first time, absolutely amazing! I also added wood chips in a smoker box on the grill during the cook. Will definitely be using this recipe in the future.
Phil, Wood chips would add some great flavour! thank you.
Easy to prepare and so good, great for a family picnic .