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Beer Can Chicken

The most amazing thing about beer can chicken is that it’s not a novelty; the chicken actually comes out quite delicious. If you have never eaten beer can chicken this is a great opportunity to learn how to make it. And, if you are a seasoned pro at this dish read on and find out how one man tackles this classic recipe to feed a family and friends.

I documented my brother-in-law, Big George, making this feast last Fourth of July. He has a couple of shortcuts that seem to work very well. Beer can chicken is always moist and the skin is always crispy. Enjoy.

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Beer Can Chicken

Beer can chicken is a cooking method where a whole chicken is propped up on a partially filled can of beer, then roasted on a grill or in an oven. As the chicken cooks, the beer inside the can evaporates, creating steam that helps to keep the meat moist and infuses it with the flavors of the beer. The result is a juicy, tender chicken with crispy skin and a subtle beer flavor. Beer can chicken is a popular dish for outdoor cookouts and barbecues, and it’s relatively simple to prepare with just a few ingredients and some basic equipment.




  • 13 whole chickens (somewhere around 3 1/2 pounds each)
  • 1/2 cup of BBQ rub
  • 1 12oz can of beer per chicken


  • 1 Charcoal grill large enough to cover an upright chicken (a classic Weber Kettle will do just fine)
  • A few handfuls of wood chunks
  • 1 Aluminum drip pan
  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • Charcoal
  • 1 pair of long tongs
  • 1 pair of BBQ mitts
  • an instant-read meat thermometer.



  1. Indirect heat fire setup: Set up your grill for indirect heat. Place a drip pan in the center of the charcoal grill. This is a good time to soak your woodchips in water. Light your charcoal with a chimney starter. After the briquettes are lit, pour them around the drip pan. If any fall into the drip pan, remove them with a pair of tongs and place them along the outside. Add some unlit briquettes around the perimeter of the drip pan and allow them to light.
  2. Clean your chicken(s) inside and out and pat dry. Don’t forget to remove the gizzards and neck bone.
  3. Beer can with extra holes: Pop open a can of beer for each chicken. Quality doesn’t matter here; domestic suds will do just fine. Empty out about a third of the beer and dispose of the beer however you see fit. Punch a couple of holes on the top with a church key can opener and sprinkle some BBQ rub in the beer can.
  4. Sprinkle the skin of the chicken(s) liberally with your favorite BBQ rub. And shove the prepared can of beer up the chicken’s butt. Stick it far enough up there so that you can form a tripod with the two legs and the can of beer. The can should always remain upright. Place the chicken(s) onto the grill over the drip pan. If you are barbecuing more than one bird, position each one of them so that they don’t touch each other too much and that they are not over the direct heat. Create two envelopes with some heavy-duty aluminum foil for your wood chunks. Add your wood, seal, and perforate the outside of this envelope several times with a fork or a knife. Place each of these envelopes over the direct heat.
  5. Check your bird(s) in about fifteen minutes and make sure that there aren’t any areas that are getting crispier than others. After about 70 minutes take the temperature of your birds in the thickest part of the thigh with your instant-read thermometer. When your birds get in the range of 170-175 degrees, they are done. Remove the chicken from the grill with your tongs and let it rest (about 10-15 minutes), trying not to spill any of the remaining beer. Removing the can from the butt is a bit tricky a little twist helps but most importantly is to hold the bird steady while you take it out. Throw away the beer cans and serve the chicken.
  • Author: BBQ Junkie
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