Chicken prepared with the beer can method has become one of the most popular ways to cook chicken. I’ve made beer can chicken several times, in the oven and on the grill, and every time I make it, the chicken is moist and delicious. Although both the baked and grilled versions are terrific, I think the grilled version is the best, but then grilling seems to make everything taste better.

I have written about beer can chicken before: on March 18, 2008, to be exact; but rather than just offer my critique of another beer can chicken recipe, I thought I would describe the steps I use to make beer can chicken. For this go around, I found a recipe on that was different than the one I prepared last March (also from, so I thought I would give it a try.


Prepare a spice rub with the following ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper

Remaining Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken (about 4 lbs.)
  • 1 can of beer (12 oz.)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • The spice rub (3-1/2 tablespoons)

Begin the process by cleaning the chicken and patting it dry. Prepare the simple spice rub, sprinkle 1-1/2 teaspoons of the rub inside the large cavity of the chicken; then sprinkle another 1/2 teaspoon of the rub inside the neck cavity.

Coat the chicken with the olive oil (or vegetable oil); make sure that the entire bird is covered.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the rub over the exterior of the chicken. Cover the surface evenly.


 Pour out one-third of the can of beer (about one-half cup). Create several holes in the top of the beer can in order to vent the can properly, allowing steam to be released when the chicken is cooked.

Add the final 2-1/2 teaspoons of the rub mixture to the remaining beer in the can. This may cause the beer to foam over slightly.

Note: I changed the amounts of the ingredients proportionally for the spice rub mixture, because I wanted to make only enough for this recipe rather than making extra for later use as suggested in the recipe.




Hold the chicken held upright with the large opening facing down; then slide the chicken over the beer can, taking care not to tip the can.



Pull the legs forward and tuck the wings behind the bird (unless the wing tips are missing).

Place the chicken in the oven or on the grill. If you are grilling the chicken, cook it over medium heat with the grill cover closed. If you are roasting the chicken in the oven, cook it at 350ºF.


For both cooking methods, cook the chicken about 1-1/2 hours. To ensure proper doneness, make sure the temperature of the thigh is 170ºF, as measured with a reliable meat thermometer.

Remove the chicken from the grill or oven, tent with foil, and allow it to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving. The temperature of the meat will continue to rise, reaching a safe temperature of 180ºF in the thickest part of the thigh.

To remove the chicken from the beer can, I use several layers of folded paper towels in each hand to insulate my skin from the hot chicken and beer can. Hold the bottom of the beer can firmly with one hand and pull the chicken off the can with the other. Carve the chicken and serve. Delicious!