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Beer Can Chicken

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Beer can chicken is our favorite way to cook chicken on the grill. Every time we use this recipe to cook a whole chicken,  it turns out moist and delicious. I always hope to have leftovers, but we rarely do!

Living in Las Vegas we are lucky enough to be able to use our outdoor grill year round.  One of my favorite foods to cook on the grill, though, is Beer Can Chicken.  The skin comes out crisp on all sides  and the meat is perfectly moist. Don’t let the “beer” can part fool you! You can use any kind of liquid you’d like – wine, water, soda, chicken broth, etc.

Don’t want to grill? You can also make this in your slow cooker! Check out our Slow Cooker Beer Can Chicken Recipe

Beer Can Chicken

In a small bowl, make your rub.  We use olive oil and spices, but any oil or even melted butter will work.  We generally use the same spices, but feel free to use your favorites. Even just salt and pepper alone results in a delicious grilled chicken.

Beer Can Chicken #ChooseSmart

Prepare your chicken by removing all the innards.  Wash and pat dry, if you want.  Place the chicken on a platter.

Beer Can Chicken

The best way to get flavor in the chicken is to get the rub under the skin. Very gently, pull the skin up away from the breast meat and use your fingers to loosen the skin.

Beer Can Chicken #ChooseSmart

Brush the rub all over the chicken, making sure to get the rub between the loosened skin and the breast meat.

Beer Can Chicken

We use one of these chicken stands in a baking pan to grill our beer can chicken.  But you can also just prop the chicken up and get to stand on it’s own around the can.

Beer Can Chicken

Put the chicken over the can, and then put off heat on the grill.  The two burners on the left are on, but the burners under the chicken are off.

Cook for 60-90 minutes, rotating the chicken every 15 minutes so that all sides of the skin get nice and crispy. The chicken is done around 180 degrees internal temperature and the juices are running clear.

Be careful when lifting the bird off the can as the chicken will be falling part.  It usually takes two of us to remove the can. You may want to let it cool a bit before attempting to remove the can.

Cut the chicken up and serve! We like to eat ours with ranch potatoes and cucumber salad.

Beer Can Chicken

Beer Can Chicken on the Grill

Yield: 4-6

Beer Can Chicken

Beer Can Chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 3-5 pound First Street Whole chicken
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 can of beer, root beer, soda, chicken broth or whatever you want


  1. Remove innards and neck from chicken and pat dry.
  2. In a small bowl mix together olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, oregano, and parsley. Use as much as you like for each flavor, about equal amounts, but watch the salt!
  3. Put the chicken on a platter and carefully use your fingers to loosen the skin on the breast area and pull it gently away from the meat.
    Brush the olive oil mixture underneath the skin and on to the meat, being careful not to tear the skin.
  4. Continue to use about half the olive oil on the top of the chicken.
  5. Pour out half the liquid from your canned beverage. Set can inside metal holder, if you have one. Otherwise, put chicken over can, balance it and place in a rimmed baking container.
  6. Use the rest of the olive oil mixture and brush on to the back half of the chicken, the sides and then dump any remaining oil in to the chicken cavity.
  7. Turn on the heat on only one side of your grill to high and allow grill to warm up for about 10-15 minutes. Then turn heat down to medium-high.
  8. Place chicken on the OTHER SIDE of the grill (cook it off heat). Close the top of the grill.
  9. Rotate the chicken 1/4 turn every 15 minutes so that the sides of chicken are evenly crisped. Chicken is done when internal temperature reads 180 degrees on a meat thermometer. This takes about 60-90 minutes, depending on how hot the grill is.




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  • Karly
    June 7, 2014

    Beer can chicken is so irresistible! Thanks for linking up with What’s Cookin’ Wednesday!

  • Liz Dovey
    June 1, 2014

    This looks amazing! However, I don’t have an outdoor grill. Would it be possible to cook this on a charcoal bbq, or in the kitchen oven maybe? I’d love to try it!
    Liz x

    • Camille
      June 2, 2014

      We did it on our charcoal grill, years ago. Just cook it on indirect heat – so maybe put the charcoal on one half of the grill and the chicken on the other?

  • Antionette Blake
    May 30, 2014

    I love grilling chicken like this! Thanks for sharing again with us at the #WWDParty – have a wonderful weekend.

  • Melinda
    May 28, 2014

    I have always been nervous to try this. You have motivated me to do it! It looks so delicious especially now that the weather has warmed up some.

    • Camille
      May 28, 2014

      You’ll love it! Indirect heat and low and slow and it’ll be the best chicken you’ve ever cooked.

  • Shae
    May 27, 2014

    I would have never thought of this. We always have beer cans laying around so I am definitely gonna try it out next time we are grilling! Awesome idea!

    • Camille
      May 27, 2014

      It’s so good! The chicken turns out so moist. Better than a store bought rotisserie!

  • Rachel Kathyg
    May 26, 2014

    Yummy, yummy, yummy. Pinned to try…thanks for sharing. found at the scoop linky. Have a wonderful week.

  • chef zakir
    July 21, 2013

    wow! great idea. I like chicken recipes. Its another good recipe.

  • Craig
    April 12, 2013

    Beer can chicken with a beer can not the safest way you do not know about the BPA the can is coated with or the paint that is on the outside. A safer way is to get one of the units designed for this out of stainless steel and put your beer in the steam unit it has safe and easy to clean.

    By the way good article

    • Camille
      April 12, 2013

      Thanks, Craig. More often than not we actually use a glass beer bottle because that’s what we have on hand. I’ll have to look in to the gadget you mention.

  • Kathy Penney
    April 10, 2013

    Just wanted to let you know your chicken is one of the features this week at All Things Pretty! Thank you for linking up!

  • Jessi
    April 8, 2013

    Mmmm, I love beer can chicken! My mom loves to grill and makes it all the time with a dark beer like Negra Modelo or something similar. Yum! In case you didn’t see it earlier, I featured this today on my blog, so stop by and grab a Featured button if you don’t already have one!

    • Camille
      April 8, 2013

      Thanks, Jessi! I want to try it with some sodas!

  • Miz Helen
    April 7, 2013

    Your recipe is awesome and thank you so much for sharing it at the table with Full Plate Thursday.
    Hope to see you again soon!
    Miz Helen

  • Kathy Penney
    April 6, 2013

    This is so cool! Pinned it! Thanks for linking up at All Things Pretty!

  • Kathe
    April 3, 2013

    I have always wanted to try grilling chicken this way but never have! I am definately going to do it soon because your photos have me drooling Camille! Oh and get me a few of those chickens at your Smart & Final store! We don’t have that store here but the stores we do have here have whole chickens “on sale” at .98/ lb! Thanks for sharing this at the party this week. I am featuring it on my Facebook page too!

  • Brad
    April 3, 2013

    Don’t forget to close the grill lid…the instructions didn’t say that, but it’s critical.

    • Camille
      April 3, 2013

      It is critical! It’s in Step 10. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  • Sherri
    April 2, 2013

    To the person who gave this discription on preparing the beer can chicken….. You are Awesome! I Loved how you also gave other options with each of your directions. Thank you so much for such a wonderful yummy looking dish. I can’t wait to try this on my BBQ this weekend.

    • Camille
      April 2, 2013

      Thank you, Sherri! I want to try it with Dr. Pepper and a sweeter barbecue rub! 🙂

  • Diane C.
    April 2, 2013

    Try it with a turkey, you will never cook another one the old-fashion way. A big can of Fosters beer works well. It is the most moist turkey ever (and for you skin lovers, 360 degrees of crispy skin.)

    • Camille
      April 2, 2013

      What a GREAT idea! I actually have a smallish turkey in the freezer so we may just have to try that soon.

  • Christy
    April 1, 2013

    In my neck of the woods, we call this drunkin chicken. When the chicken falls over, it’s done. it’s always a huge hit here too!

  • The Hill Hangout
    March 20, 2012

    Our family loves beer can chicken! You use different spices than I do, so I can’t wait to try out your recipe. I haven’t made chicken this way in a while, so we might be having this very soon. Thanks for stopping by The Hill Hangout! Love your site!

  • Rhoda
    April 2, 2013

    Where can I purchase the chicken feet holder for the can?

  • Camille
    April 2, 2013

    Hi Rhoda! We bought ours years ago but you should be able to find them at any large retailer or the grocery stores!

  • Camille
    April 2, 2013

    I just found a ton of them on Amazon as well! Some really cool ones! 🙂