The Famous Beer Can Chicken recipe

Yes, this is the Beer Can Chicken recipe that you've heard so much about, a nice plump juicy bird perched on an open can of beer and then grilled to perfection.

all my chickens love beer!

Also called Beer Butt Chicken this recipe first started making the rounds by word of mouth.

Now there's a whole industry dedicated to helping you make a BBQ Beer Can chicken including special spices, unique chicken holders and even cans preloaded with different flavored liquids.

beer can chicken

In the end (no pun intended!) all that really matters is getting back to basics and making the original Beer Can Chicken the way it was meant.

It's this simple method that makes it so great - the fat drains off making the skin nice and crispy all while the beer in the can steams up into the chicken keeping it moist and adding flavor.

› Beer Can Chicken

Serves: 2 - 4

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 75 minutes

Indirect Heat: 350F - 400F

What you'll need:

  • 1 can (12 oz) Beer of your choice
  • 1 whole chicken (4 to 5 lbs)
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun Seasoning Rub recipe  (or your favorite commercial rub)
  • 1 tablespoon oil (canola or flavor infused olive oil)
  • If smoking, you'll need 2 cups wood chips soaked or smoking pellets

how to prepare beer can chicken

Step 1:
Wash the bird inside and out and pat dry with paper towels.

Work your fingers under the skin and lift the skin up from the meat of the bird.

dry rub in a chicken

Place 1/2 tablespoon of the Cajun rub under the skin and on the meat of the bird.

Work the rub over the meat with your fingers and replace the skin back over the meat of the bird.

Variations: try different spices or rubs to change the flavor of the chicken. Lemon Pepper is nice, or even just a blend of 1 part onion powder, 1 part garlic powder and 1 part black pepper.

rub chicken with oil

Step 2:
Pour 1 tablespoon of oil over the bird and rub well over the entire body.

Tip: shown here is a spicy hot pepper infused olive oil instead of plain oil. You can find these in larger grocery stores in different flavors including garlic, lemon or basil.

spicy beer can chicken dry rub

Pour 1 1/2 tablespoon of the rub over the entire body of the chicken.

Rub into the skin well so it doesn't fall off while moving or cooking.

spiced beer for chicken

Step 3:
Open the can of beer and remove 1/3 of the contents. I've always found the best place for the extra beer is in the chef but I suppose you could also soak wood chips in the beer too.

Tip: shown here I'm inserting a clove of garlic into the can of beer. You could also use spices or herbs like basil, rosemary or tarragon. Just needs some imagination...

Variations: try different liquids in the can to infuse different flavors in the bird. Lemonade, white wine or even just (gasp!) water.

putting a chicken on beer can

Lift the chicken carefully and place the larger opening over the upright beer can.

The can should insert at least 50% into the cavity of the bird.

Position the two legs to act as supports like a tripod with the beer can being the 3rd support leg.

Tip: shown here is a very inexpensive but extremely useful beer can chicken holder. There are many shapes and sizes to choose from. You're basically looking for something to help prevent the bird from falling over as well as collect the fat and moisture drippings.

grilling beer butt chicken

Step 4:
Place the beer can chicken upright on the grill in the indirect heat section.

If your using wood chips add them now. If using a gas grill and you don't have a smoking chip holder consider using a foil packet to hold the chips or pellets.

Close the grill lid and cook the bird at medium heat (350F) until the skin is a nice crispy golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 170F and the juices run clear (not pink).

If grilling over charcoal you'll need to replenish the fire with at least 12 briquettes or lump charcoal after an hour.

Tip: insert a wireless remote temperature probe in the thickest part of the thigh and not touching the bone.

Step 5:
When done cooking remove the chicken by supporting the can with a spatula and gripping the bird with tongs.

Remove the chicken from the beer can. You can either discard the beer or use it to make chicken BBQ sauce.

Cover the chicken and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

The internal temperature will continue to rise at least 5 degrees.


best beer can chicken recipe

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