Introduction: Beer Can Chicken

Picture of Beer Can Chicken

Grilled beer can chicken is deliciously moist! You can't taste the alcohol - it just keeps the chicken really juicy and tender.

Step 1: Make the Spice Rub

Picture of Make the Spice Rub

Start your grill preheating (you only need one burner on low heat). Then gather the ingredients for your spice rub.

Any good spice rub will work with this recipe. It's okay to use a store-bought rub if you have a chicken or rib bbq rub that you like. Or, you can mix one up using spices from your pantry. Feel free to experiment to fit your tastes!

The one in this picture used:
1/4 cup paprika
1 tbls brown sugar
1 tbls granulated sugr
2 tsp salt
1 tsp onion salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.

Step 2: Prepare the Chicken

Picture of Prepare the Chicken

Clean out the cavity of the chicken to make sure the kidneys and giblets are removed.

Rinse the chicken in cold water, then pat with paper towels to dry.

And of course make sure that you thoroughly sanitize your hands and workspaces after handling the chicken.

Step 3: Rub the Spices on the Chicken

Picture of Rub the Spices on the Chicken

Sprinkle a tablespoon of spice into the cavity. Insert another tablespoon under the skin of the chicken and try and spread it out evenly. Finally, rub another tablespoon of spice all over the skin on both sides.

Step 4: Prepare Your Beer Can

Picture of Prepare Your Beer Can

You will need a tall can of beer to hold your chicken. Any brand will do, so if you have a 20 ounce can of beer on hand, feel free to use that. Otherwise, you can buy single cans of beer in the refrigerator section of most liquor stores. I chose fosters because their keg-style can is wider and sturdier than the slightly cheaper budweiser.

Pop open the tab on the can and empty out 1/4 of the beer. I'm not into beer so I poured it down the drain, but feel free to drink it if you like!

You want to make a few more small holes to let the vapors escape into the chicken. You can use the pointy end of a beer bottle/can opener for this. I did not have one handy, so I tapped an awl into the top a few times.

Pour the extra spice rub into the beer can.

Step 5: Put the Chicken on the Can and Plug the Top

Picture of Put the Chicken on the Can and Plug the Top

Keeping the can upright, place it into the cavity of the chicken.

Plug the top of the chicken so that the vapors are sealed in. I used a peeled onion, but you could also use a potato, lemon, or lime.

Step 6: Move the Chicken to the Grill.

Picture of Move the Chicken to the Grill.

Since you started preheating your grill during the first step, it should be nice and hot by now.

Move the chicken to the grill and stand it up with the legs spread apart (this will help maintain balance). You want to cook it indirectly, so put it next to the burner that is turned on.

Step 7: Cook the Chicken

Picture of Cook the Chicken

Close the grill and let the chicken cook on low indirect heat until the internal temperature reaches 185-190 degrees (F). If your chicken come with one of those handy pop-tabs it will tell you when it is done. Otherwise, you can monitor the tempetature with a meat thermometer.

My six pound chicken took an hour and fourty five minutes.

Step 8: Check for Doneness

Picture of Check for Doneness

Like I said before, you will know your chicken has finished when it has reached the right internal temperature (185-190 F). When your chicken is finished, the outside will be crispy, but the meat will be fall-off-the-bone tender. Carefully remove the chicken from the grill. Place the finished chicken on a plate and discard the beer and can.

Step 9: Rest Chicken and Carve

Picture of Rest Chicken and Carve

Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before carving

Step 10: Plate and Serve

Picture of Plate and Serve

Serve with your choice of sides; I reccomend mashed potatoes and corn.

Bon appetite!

For those of you who are interested, this cost $1.50-$2 a serving. My six serving chicken cost:
$6 chicken
$3 beer
(?) spices - you are only using a little of each spice, so we'll say a couple dollars.


bamboo42 (author)2012-09-06

I made this tonight in the oven. It came out pretty well, tasty skin. I was just getting towards the end of the cook and I decided to pull it out drain the juices (for gravy) and add a bit more fat to the drip pan. I let this heat to sizzling and I then poured Yorkshire batter in the tray and continued cooking.

kind of a toad-in-the-hole/ Beer can chicken. It came out well. As was a whim decision I did not take photos but next time.

Kind of a bad photo here.

FriendOfHumanity (author)2012-08-04

It reminds me of the Withnail and I method.

purplewg (author)2009-12-10

Good looking yardbird. I do beer can chicks on the smoker. They turn out juicier than any rotisserie chicken. Do your grilled ones stay juicy?

timoftheshire (author)purplewg2011-02-15

oh they do indeed :)

just finished mine!

bob-t-builder (author)2010-09-13

Better get rid of all of my aluminum cookware then!

GasherMan (author)2010-04-11

dont tip the beer out!!!! ... Whack it in a spray bottle and use it to baste the chicken while cooking... Cheerz

philslizzy (author)2009-11-26

this is so wierd the photos look odd in a way thats not normal. ugh

Nyax (author)2009-04-16

Pour beer .... down the Drain!?!? Blasphemy!

Yerboogieman (author)2009-02-28

This is exactly the same as

BorrachoB (author)2008-08-26

Nice play by play. Try experimenting with things other than beer though. I use JUMEX juices any flavor will work. I also use the same juice to make a complenting basting BBQ sauce. One other tip Ive found to really enhance the flavor is to use a Mason jar for the juice and spices. Im not a huge fan of aluminum cans and all the paint being heating up inside my bird. Give it a try and lemme know how it works out.

tercero (author)2008-07-04

Not to pee on the parade, but, doesn't the bisphenol A (BPA) coating on the inside of the beer can volatize? Wouldn't you be getting a nice dose of carcinogen while you're cooking?

shangrilarcadia (author)tercero2008-07-05

You know that's one of the things that people worry about with beer can chicken. But the way I look at it, plenty of people before me have done it without issues, and if you're really worried about it you can buy one of those contraptions that holds the bird up that you can pour the beer into

gladys45 (author)2008-07-04

WHY use Fosters?????!!!!! For God's sake man!

shangrilarcadia (author)gladys452008-07-05

Like I said in the instructable, I chose fosters literally because of the can size. I don't actually like beer (gasp) so the brand doesn't matter much to me. It's really just there to make it juicy and flavorful

GoingLikeSixty (author)2008-07-04

Would have been nice for you to add the weight of the chicken for us noobs trying this for the first time... pop up in a chicken? hope we can find one, I'm not big on watching temps. I tend to get distracted, especially when beer is involved.

It doesn't really matter what size you use - I used a smallish/medium one but really it works for any size. Most chickens come with a pop-up thing to indicate doneness, especially the name brands (perdue). So just look for one of those and the pop-up will tell you when it's done so you don't have to watch the temp

crialix (author)2008-05-05

instead of grilling, can i use the oven coz i dun have a grill like the above?

cdc (author)2008-03-20

cooking with alloy is a no no.

Crackersouth (author)2008-01-05

Nice touch with the onion.... I never thought of that. Always used a metal squewer to close the neck.

lemonie (author)2007-07-09

I've seen this before, have you republished it, or am I thinking of the link below (I don't think so)?


shangrilarcadia (author)lemonie2007-07-15

I haven't published it before and hadn't seen that other. It's a pretty common technique - I just happened to be making it the night I decided it might be fun to make an instructable ;)

lemonie (author)shangrilarcadia2007-07-16

Well, it must be deja-vu. (spooky) L

onemisterchristian (author)2007-07-09

Just wondering, Is it safe to cook aluminum into your food? I rember something about it releasing carcinogens or something of that nature...but I don't recall exactly what it was.

Aluminum can react with acids in foods and introduce aluminum compounds into the food. But this is only an issue when cooking things like fruit or vinegar in aluminum pans. And there is no strong evidence that aluminum is particularly harmful in the human diet (see this linkthis link).

However, there may be health issues related to heating the internal and external coatings of the can (plastics, paints etc.). These are not intended to be subjected to high temperatures; heating these substances in close proximity to food is not something I would personally risk.

Looks tasty though :)

LasVegas (author)pipeski2007-07-09

That's silly. The can will never exceed about 212 F (100C) which is the highest temperature the beer in the can can reach. It doesn't boil away before the chicken's done. There is no way that the can or the coatings are going to contribute anything to the chicken. If this were dangerous, there would be something from somewhere warning against it. It's been a common practice since the 70's.

pipeski (author)LasVegas2007-07-10

Assuming 'there would be a warning somewhere' is also a reason to cross a busy road whilst blindfolded.

I think it's reasonable to be concerned about the possibility of toxicity from heated plastics and paints.

But as it happens, someone has checked this out, and it seems the technique is most likely safe. Might even try it myself.

I think I would prefer using a steel can... maybe a campbells chicken stock can, for that extra "tastes like chicken" taste!

The beer can never gets hot enough for the metal to burn. This just infuses the flavor and moisture of the beer into the chicken. It also impresses the heck out of the guests! :)

BeerMonkey (author)2007-07-09

This also works well in the oven, same steps as above and then first 30 minutes at 400, then next hour+ till done at 350. I also added a little liquid smoke to the can to give that smoky flavor. has anyone noticed a difference with what kinda beer is used?

robodud3 (author)2007-07-09

i saw this on the today show the otherday on the 4th yea ha beer+chickin=somting mighty tasty

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