Beer Can Chicken

Is it just me, or is beer can chicken a boy thing? Look, I grew up with four younger brothers, and if you told them you were going to insert a half-drunk beer into the butt of a chicken and grill it, I think they would actually get interested in cooking. Joking aside, this is a brilliant way to roast a chicken, on the grill or in the oven. Yes the chicken looks rather ridiculous on its beer can perch, covered with an herb rub and half-ready to salute you. But hear me out. While the chicken is dry roasting on the outside, the inside is being bathed with steamy beer, keeping the chicken meat wonderfully moist. The result is tender, falling-off-the-bone meat, encased in salty, herby, crispy skin. What follows is a basic method for beer can chicken (also known as beer butt chicken for obvious reasons). We’re using just some olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme on the chicken, which we believe brings out the best in the chicken’s flavor. You can easily experiment with your favorite spice rub, or even use wine or root beer instead of a standard beer.

Beer Can Chicken Recipe

  • Cook time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

You can also roast a chicken this way in the oven. Just place it as directed on an open half-filled can of beer, sitting up, in a roasting pan on the lower rack of your oven. Roast at 350°F until done (about an hour fifteen to an hour and a half for a 4 lb chicken). For an alcohol-free version of this recipe, just fill a pint mason jar halfway with chicken stock and use it instead of the beer. You can also use an open can of baked beans (remove the label) instead of the beer. The chicken juices will run into and flavor the baked beans, which you can then use as a side dish for the chicken.

Ingredients

  • 1 4-pound whole chicken
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or other vegetable oil
  • 1 opened, half-full can of beer, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper

Method

Beer Can Chicken on Simply Recipes

1 Prepare your grill for indirect heat. If you are using charcoal, put the coals on one side of the grill, leaving another side free of coals. If you are using a gas grill, fire up only half of the burners.

2 Remove neck and giblets from cavity of chicken, if the chicken came with them. Rub the chicken all over with olive oil. Mix the salt, pepper, and thyme in a little bowl, then sprinkle it all over the chicken.

3 Make sure the beer can is open, and only half-filled with beer (drink the other half!) If you want, you can put a sprig of thyme (or another herb like rosemary or sage) in the beer can. Lower the chicken on to the open can, so that the chicken is sitting upright, with the can in its cavity. Place the chicken on the cool side of the grill, using the legs and beer can as a tripod to support the chicken on the grill and keep it stable.

4 Cover the grill and walk away. Do not even check the chicken for at least an hour. After an hour, check the chicken and refresh the coals if needed (if you are using a charcoal grill). Keep checking the chicken every 15 minutes or so, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 160°F - 165°F. The total cooking time will vary depending on the size of your chicken, and the internal temperature of the grill. A 4 lb chicken will usually take around 1 1/2 hours. If you don't have a meat thermometer, a way to tell if the chicken is done is to poke it deeply with a knife (the thigh is a good place to do this), if the juices run clear, not pink, the chicken is done.

5 Carefully transfer the chicken to a tray or pan. I say "carefully" because the beer can, and the beer inside of it, is quite hot. One way to do this is to slide a metal spatula under the bottom of the beer can. Use tongs to hold the top of the chicken. Lift the chicken, beer can still inside, and move it to a tray. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes. Carefully lift the chicken off of the can. If it gets stuck, lay the chicken on its side, and pull out the can with tongs.

Links:

Tuscan Beer Can Chicken from Family Style Food
Chipotle Beer Can Chicken from Phoo-D
Beer Can Pheasant from Hank Shaw of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

103 Comments

  1. Attila

    I actually tried this method just last week for the first time (although with a spice rub consisting of: fennel seeds, cumin, smoked paprika, brown sugar and pepper and salt) and In my humble opinion, this is one of the best methods of roasting a chicken! I had the juiciest chicken filet I ever had on a roast chicken, damn now I’m starting to crave it again!

    Love the spice rub combo! ~Elise

  2. Christine

    Aw, I haven’t seen this kind of cooking method before, let alone tried it. Your first picture of the chicken sitting on the beer can nearly gets me yield out, “How can it sit like that?” Love it very much. Although I don’t drink beer, I really want to try this. Thank you for this eye-opening post and wonderful recipe.

    • Brenda

      If you haven’t tried beer can chicken you’re missing out. You can also empty the beer can and fill with white wine, chicken broth, apple juice along with garlic cloves, rosemary or any combination of spices. Let your taste buds be your guide.

  3. Irvin

    Actually I’ve been meaning to try this method for chicken FOREVER, but we never buy can beer, just bottle beer. Actually we never buy beer, people just bring it over. And since my partner and I don’t really drink beer, it’s kind of sad. All I can say is I make a lot of herbed beer bread.

    But I digress. The one concern I’ve always had about the method is the food safety issue. Is the printing on the beer cans and the actual aluminum can itself safe to be heated? I’ve always wondered.

    Regardless, one of these days I’ll try it…. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Never heard of heating the beer can being an issue. ~Elise

  4. ellina

    Elise, it’s so lovely to have you blogging this often! There’s always something new to check out! This one looks particularly scrumptious and sweat-free, so I’ll be sure to try it this week-end! Thank you!

  5. Nate @ House of Annie

    I have done beer can chicken before, to great results. I was skeptical, but the finished chickens (yes, there were more than one trial) were impressive. The best one I did was one using Guiness stout.

    The lone beer can is tricky to remove. I bought a simple beer can holder / stand (from Wal*Mart, I think) that gives it more stability and makes it easier to remove the chicken.

  6. Nancy Singleton Hachisu

    I’ve never heard of this Elise, what a concept. The only method I ever use to roast our farm chickens is the Zuni one. Can’t wait to give this inspired method a try, especially since summer is here with a vengeance in Japan and turning on that 475 degree oven does not sound appealing. Great photo, I’m craving chicken, though it’s bacon cheeseburgers with Olympic Provisions bacon and coarse cut Japanese beef from the butcher tonight. Better get cracking on the catsup…

  7. Emma

    This always turns out beautifully. Here in Aus we call it Coq Au Can :)

    That’s awesome! ~Elise

  8. ADTirey66

    Hi Elise, I was just wondering how you would do this with wine (because I love beer butt chicken but the wine sounds like it could be really amazing if you used a lemon-based rub)? Do you pour the wine into an aluminum can? Thanks!
    Ashley

    Yes, that’s how you would do it. ~Elise

  9. mersea

    I am a pescetarian, but my husband is a major carnivore ; ) I have heard about this recipe for years and want to try it for him.
    My question is – can it be done in an oven, and if so, at what temperature? I ask because we have a gas grill, and 1 1/2 hours of propane will use a lot of the tank. I will try it when I know our tank is full, but I was just wondering if in the winter we could do it in the oven.
    Thanks for any info.

    I would recommend 350°F if cooking in the oven. ~Elise

  10. Mandy Frielinghaus

    This is an outstanding recipe and my husband and I often do a beer chicken in the Webber. It adds another dimension to the flavour – yummy!. The chicken is also most enjoyable using white pepper as a rub on the skin.

  11. Aimee

    Ah! My husband’s favorite thing in the world to cook… He smokes his on the Big Green Egg, and any leftover chicken gets saved for a smoky, delicious chicken salad sandwich the following day for lunch.

  12. Recipe For Delicious

    As another poster commented, you can get a little stand–we got ours at the dollar store–that stabilizes the beer can. We place ours in an aluminum pie plate so that the grease doesn’t drip all over the barbecue and it’s collected if you want to use it for anything.
    You can actually use any liquid in the can–apple juice for example. You just need a liquid to flavour and moisten the meat.

  13. Karen

    Would it help the sticking of the can to the chicken to spray the can with pam first?

    Couldn’t hurt. Though if you’ve done a good job rubbing olive oil all over the chicken (including the cavity), that accomplishes the same thing. ~Elise

  14. Janine

    For those who are gluten free, I’ve made this with a can of soda too. Lemonade and Sprite or Sierra Mist are excellent substitutes. The chicken is wonderful. Thanks for the reminder Elise!

  15. Julie

    This looks fabulous! Definitely have been wanting to use beer in cooking at some point and this seems like a great way to start. How would I do this in the oven though?

    Instructions for the oven are above the ingredients. ~Elise

  16. Andrea

    Elise, thanks for providing alternatives to the beer in this recipe (especially the baked beans, that’s a new one for me)! Like some of the other commenters here, I don’t purchase, drink, or cook with alcohol in any amount (even if it “cooks out”), so I’m always looking for substitutions and trying to learn what alcohol adds to a particular dish so that I can tweak recipes on my own. You asked in a recent post what we’d like to see on the site, and that would be my suggestion. (Also, I just found out that my butcher [in Spain] has rabbit, so more rabbit recipes please, Hank!)

  17. wietje

    This may sound stupid but what do you do with the hot beer? Can you use it for some kind of gravy or whatever to eat with the chicken?

    There may not be much left, but what is should be poured out. ~Elise

  18. Jeannine

    In Missouri we call it “Beer in the Rear” chicken and use specially made stands to insert the beer can into. Hubby also uses a little trick to keep even more savory steamy moisture on the inside of the chicken. Place a small potato or even better, a small onion in the neck of the chicken to help seal it off. YUMMY!

  19. T Jones

    Think I’ll have to give this a try this weekend. Any suggestions on oven temp? Seems like 300-325F would give about the same 1-1/2 hr cooking time you saw on the grill.

    Any temp from 300 to 350°F will work. You’ll get more browning and crispier skin with the higher temp. After an hour I would start checking the bird for doneness with a meat thermometer. ~Elise

  20. DLA in OKC

    We LOVE beer can chicken! We get local chickens (huge – one was 8 pounds!). They are so wonderful and moist. And the leftovers make good chicken-anything!

    An 8 pound chicken? Oh my, you grow them big in OK! ~Elise

  21. Teresa

    Love Beer Can Chicken!!! I make twins in the oven 350 @ 1 hour-ish.
    Weight Watchers has a spice blend that includes brown sugar that is worth trying. The skin is delightful,crispy, sweet and spicy.
    I love that you blog so often. You inspire me
    ;^)

  22. Daniel

    My favorite way to roast a chicken! I highly recommend lining the bottom of your pit, under the chicken, with foil for ease of cleaning as this tends to make a particularly juicy mess. I’ll have to try the can of beans next time around.

    Great idea, thank you! ~Elise

  23. Misca

    Ginger ale for the can.

    Garlic ginger, orange peal for the spice rub, and finish her with a light honey orange soy glaze–I do it in the oven–and you have my famous roast chicken.

    Lovely. Thank you! ~Elise

  24. cheryl

    Other options are things you’d put in a chicken marinade. For us, that usually includes a mixture of soy sauce, Worchestershire sauce, lemon juice and fresh/dried herbs. But we’ve thrown in other things too, always to good results. If you have a favorite chicken marinade, I’d try it here.

  25. Tom

    To do this on a Weber, build a pile of charcoal that just touches the bottom of the grill. When the coals are white, move them into a ring formation with a metal drip pan in the middle. Put the chicken (with the half can of beer) standing upright on top of the grill in the middle. Put the lid on…it will just fit. Now go away for a couple of hours. RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO PEEK! By the time the coals burn out the chicken will be done. It works like magic, smells like heaven and looks completely absurd.

  26. Anna

    For Andrea:

    Most chicken recipes can be made with rabbit! Rabbit is more lean than commercial chickens (conventional or organic, which are all typically raised on a grain/legume diet which promotes fast and more profitable growth instead of a natural omnivorous diet of seeds, greens, & insects), so avoid overcooking rabbit. Look for recipes which retain moisture (braising, wrapping in bacon, etc.).

    Regarding beer can chicken, I’ve tried it a couple times, in the oven and on the grill. In the grill I ran into an issue with the huge chicken I bought being too tall to close the grill lid. This technique does make very delicious, moist chicken, but I find the whole set-up awkward to set up and take down and fraught with accident and/or mess potential.

    So I bought a beer can support device which provides better stability than the chicken and can set-up, but now that I think about it, I’m not sure I’ve ever used it. I should find it and either try it again (with either gluten-free beer, wine, or some other GF liquid) or donate it.

    Actually, my favorite way to prepare flavorful, moist whole chicken is Cook’s Illustrated French chicken in a Dutch Oven, which creates the very moist flavorful chicken and the most intense chicken-y “pot liquor” (grade school son said “whoa” when he first tasted this chicken dish. On the grill, my favorite technique is whole spatchcocked chicken (backbone cut out and body spread out), which creates lots of evenly crisped skin, cooks quickly and evenly, looks great on a serving platter, and is easy to cut apart at the table for serving.

  27. Bret

    This is a favorite method and works exactly the same in a smoker. Most people use Apple wood, but you can use Mesquite if you like a stronger smoke flavor.

  28. Tao

    Do you recommend dark or light beer? what kind of beer do you recommend or does it matter?

    Your choice. We used Pabst Blue Ribbon. ~Elise

  29. Shaine

    It may have been posted already, but… You can use water in a recycled tin can (the empty bean can you just opened to make Cowboy Beans). It is the liquid that does the job of keeping the chicken moist… so flavor up your water, wine, beer, or whatever…

    And if you like doing this – spend the money on a chicken holder – ours’ both have drip trays, so I can save and baste the outside too.

  30. Paul A.

    I make beer can chicken all the time, I just never use beer. I bought one of those racks a few years ago. In the summer I use a nice sweet spicy rub and apple cider (we freeze several gallons of it in the fall) in the rack. In the winter months I like white wine with rosemary and thyme. This chicken is always the juiciest fall off the bone no matter what I use in the can. BTW: I have discovered an empty soup can fits perfectly in the rack and I just have to cover it with tin foil which I then poke holes in.

  31. Candice

    Do you think this method is possible with a turkey?

    A small turkey perhaps. Remember you will need vertical room for the grill cover (or in your oven), and turkeys are a lot bigger than chickens. ~Elise

  32. Ron White

    Hey Elise,

    I’ve found you don’t even need the beer or the can if you use one of these holders… http://tinyurl.com/3775myv

    Of course you’ll need a pan under the holder to contain the ‘basting’ jucies AND the run off from the chicken!

    The idea of of pluging the neck hole to contain the internal basting (as presented in a previous post) seems interesting also.

    I wouldn’t plug the neck hole all the way. You could get too much pressure building up if you did. (Visions of an exploding chicken) ~Elise

  33. Susan

    You know, I have not yet made this style of chicken. I’ve seen it and read about it for the past 5 years, and have never been inclined to do it…until now. You answered the question about getting the can out of the finished chicken and most importantly, said it didn’t have to be a can of beer. (I hate beer) I like the baked bean (or other can of whatever) idea better. Thanks, Elise!

  34. Dana

    I remember the first time I tried to make beer can chicken. It wouldn’t fit into the barbecue, so I had to make do roasting it in the oven. I’ve got a bigger barbecue these days… maybe it’s time to try it again.

  35. nia

    Where I am from in Pennsylvania, they call this hillbilly chicken. When I make this I use a mix of Jamaican spices, and make it a kind of Jerk beer chicken. It’s yummy!

  36. Mary

    I have seen this done before one the Good Eats tv program. Alton Brown did it, but I forgot about it. Thanks for reminding me about it again. I think I am going to make this on the 4th.

  37. Dan

    Hi Elise, we’ve done this recipe for years. It can be cooked in either a bbq grill or in the oven. Most hardware stores sell a holder with a large base to hold both the beer can and chicken. You don’t need to use a canned beverage at all, but if you do, I find that Dr. Pepper works exceptionally well. Water would be just fine too. I would place the chicken in a pan as in your first picture to capture the drippings to make gravy. This recipe kicks chicken butt.

  38. Nicole

    We call this “beer up the butt chicken” or “beer butt chicken” in my family. My uncle has been making it for a decade. It is delicious on the BBQ.

  39. CJ McD

    Sometimes we substitute wine for beer. We usually add a few peppercorns, a couple cloves of garlic and a sprig or two of fresh herbs to the can before grilling to impart extra flavor.

    Beer can chicken kicks butt! You picture captures that perfect, golden, crispy skin. Sooo good!

  40. Laura

    I’ve been doing beer-butt chicken for about 3 years now. I use a whole can of beer and I marinade my chicken for 3 days (no more than that). I also enclose it loosely in foil. It comes out really juicy and the skin is just right.

  41. Tom in Boston

    Yay! I am so happy, I now have a great, fun chicken recipe for the 4th!! I’m going to do one chicken with beer, one with white wine. Thanks!!!

  42. Mamasue123

    Hello, this too is our favourite way to cook chicken. My dad cannot have any alcohol so we use a empty rinsed out pop can with chicken broth in it for his chicken…yes he get his own. It turns out just as well. We use Thai rub on ours…yummy. I love how crispy the skin gets, it’s the only time I will eat it. Anyway, thanks for your way of cooking it too…Happy 4th of July to all of you tomorrow! From one of your Canadian friends!

  43. Pam

    Been making beer butt chicken for years and it is delicious! For those who don’t drink beer: try it with a can of rootbeer – fabulous!! My only other suggestion is to set the chicken in an aluminum pan and catch all the wonderful drippings. The chicken and beer gravy that you can make is to die for.

  44. Cora @ Cora Cooks

    Elise, I didn’t know you have four younger brothers! I have FIVE! And they would have adored the idea of beer can chicken when we were all younger. As it is, four of them are great cooks and one is even a chef. Beer can chicken is still the kind of thing that makes them snicker and punch each other and, well, you know . . .

    Boys will be boys, eh? ;-) ~Elise

  45. Brad

    Disclaimer: I scanned the article and comments, so I apologize in advance for any repetition.

    A few suggestions:

    1. Substitute any non-flammable liquid that imparts flavor, wine, cider, juice be creative.

    2. I like to add a little tarragon, garlic powder and rosemary in my dry rub.

    3. Add smoke. I have two smoker boxes I use in my gas grill for this. My set up is a drip pan below the bird with a little of the cooking liquid in it and the center burner turned off. The side burners are on low with smoker boxes above them. 90 minutes to two hours, low and slow is just the ticket. In a pinch, put wet wood chips in foil and punch some holes in the pouches.

    4. Regarding turkeys, there is a product called a turkey cannon which suspends the bird horizontally but provides the same liquid infusion. You can find them online.

    5. Last, but not least, tuck the wings behind the back to prevent charring. Just push the tips under the armpits and wedge them between the wing and the rib cage. It also makes the chicken look even more amusing sitting on it’s beer can throne.

  46. erik

    Please be aware that beer (and soda) cans have plastic linings on the inside. While the inside of your chicken is being kept moist by steamy beer, it is also being bathed by melted plastics to give it that certain… je ne sais quois.

    Beer can chicken is awesome, but find something to put the beer in that ISN’T a beer can.

    And if you can, avoid using industrial lager (Bud, Bud Light, whatever) – find yourself a nice flavorful craft beer, especially a good stout or porter. Your taste buds will thank you.

    Cheers from the beer industry,
    Erik

  47. Leslie

    Elise,

    I was literally thinking about this method last night. I love the suggestions of using other liquids than beer, Thanks! I have a nice fat chicken in the freezer that will soon be standing tall!!

  48. Jamie

    I love beer can chicken. We make it on our grill with a barbecue rub on the chicken and some in the beer can. I like your herb rub too.

  49. Pete Stoehr

    I’ve cooked chicken this way for years. Let me make three suggestions:
    1. Stuff the cavity with fresh herbs, garlic, onion, apple, orange, almost anything
    2. Make slits in the skin and insert garlic and ginger slivers
    3. All chicken, pork and turkey tastes moister and more flavorful if you brine it beforehand. Put it in salt water (about like seawater) with some dried thyme and rosemary in it. Let it sit for a few hours up to 24.

  50. Daniel

    We made three chickens on the 4th this year at Long Beach, WA. They were marinated in a teriyaki/bbq sauce for a couple days and then rubbed down with season-all prior to roasting. Simple and delicious!

    The best part of beer can chicken at a barbecue is how hands-off it is… which leaves you with plenty of free time to finish off the rest of the case with friends and family :)

    The teriyaki marinade was great and we were thinking of maybe putting a pineapple juice mixture in the can for our next attempt, however the baked beans w/ Guinness sounded pretty tempting as well. Ah, what the heck, we’ll do them both!

  51. Schlonda

    In New Orleans we call this “Drunken Chicken!” Also whatever you rub on the chicken put in the can.

  52. Kristy W.

    We made this for the 4th and WOW… The spices and the crispy skin were sooo good. Good enough that we made it the next day in fact, but instead using the grill’s rotisserie. It wasn’t quite as juicy, but it was just as flavorful with the spice combo. Nice work, Elise!

  53. Jimmy

    This is a great way to cook chicken, done it many times. Two suggestions; first, buy a beer chicken holder, they are cheap and make the beer chicken much easier to balance. Second, use an old pie pan or something similar under the chicken. This prevents flare ups on the grill, and a huge mess in the oven. It in no way effects the flavor or crispiness of the skin. (also, Weber makes a beer chicken spice rub thats pretty good without over powering the chicken itself)

  54. Cajungirl

    We’ve been doing this for years. Like Schlonda in New Orleans, we call it drunken chicken. We pour out, I mean drink, some of the beer and add some liquid crab boil to the can as well. C’est bon!

  55. DSX

    This is one of our family favorites. So simple and yummy. We use orange soda for a bit of a citrus flavor, but the baked beans idea sounds superb. Thanks!

  56. Cat

    I roasted two chickens like this in the same oven and it was really good! The method works! And it was fun playing with the chickens, getting them on the cans. I used a paprika/cumin spice rub and it was very yummy!

  57. Mark

    This is an outstanding recipe!!!! I tried it on the 4th, and prepared 2 chickens at once. We also used the holder from Walmart. Much more stable and easier to get the can out. Just used tongs and a glove. Will be trying it again soon. My wife took one of the chickens to work with her the next day for lunch. Ate it all herself!!!

  58. bmhost

    Absolutely delicious! Put some thyme and rosemary in the beer can. It was moist and flavorful!

  59. Jeannine

    “Visions of an exploding chicken!” Excellent! However, we have probably done scores of beer can chickens using the small onion or potato in the neck to help contain the basting juices in the chicken and have never experienced an explosion. The reason is that the potato or onion cooks right along with the chicken and softens up and does not form any kind of “seal” at all – it just helps the goodness stay inside the chicken instead of escaping outside.

    Good to know, thanks! ~Elise

  60. Traveling Culinary Artist

    This post inspired me to purchase the beer can chicken roasting pan for the oven, since we live in NYC–grill-less. Got the pan this past weekend and made a great chicken. I brined the chicken with Herbs-de-Provence. I used red wine and a bouguet garni with parsely, sage, rosemary and thyme to fill the container rubbed the outside skin with lots of California Pepper blend from Penzey’s. Added quartered onions and olive oil to the bottom of the pan, roasted for 30 minutes then added quartered baby potatoes and whole baby carrots and continued roasted for 1 hour. This will become the go-to roasted chicken! Thanx for convincing me to move onto this!

  61. Tosha

    I just tried this recipe last night and it was fabulous!! The chicken was so moist and flavorful. My boyfriend doesn’t like chicken and he was impressed and went back for seconds. I made chicken gravy with the drippings and some chicken broth along with mashed potatoes and sweet corn. Great recipe.. thank you!

  62. Crystal Jensen

    I finally got to make beer can chicken last night only because I had a party last weekend and during clean up, I found a can of draft beer left by someone in my fridge. I have a BBQ with 3 burners, I turned all burners on to preheat to 450* then I turned two off and left one burner on high and the BBQ stayed at a steady 325*. I only had a small whole chicken so she was done after 1 hour. It was delicious! Thanks Elise! I may have to buy a six-pack of canned beer just to have on hand for chicken!

  63. Murney

    Holy cr*p! This was INCREDIBLE! We tried to carve it and the meat just fell off the bone. We’ll be making this again. Possibly tomorrow.

  64. Cat @ theKitchenMaid

    This really does work! I have tried it before and the chicken turns out so moist and juicy inside. Plus it’s always fun to help the birds stand up and make it do the chicken dance while you’re at it ;P

  65. Jess

    I just moved into a new apt and am missing things like roasting pans… Do you think a glass Pyrex casserole dish will work just as well?

    For this recipe? You don’t need a pan if you are roasting this on a grill. If you are roasting in a pan in the oven, then yes, it will work. But you need to be careful about the pyrex dishes. Never use them for broiling in the oven, they may break or explode from the high temps. ~Elise

  66. Max

    My observations from years of cooking chicken on a can. Use a full can. It is a heat sink not steam source, very little evaporates. Put your spices on the bird not in the can. Use a dry rub before then an oil baste (olive oil, hot sauce,garlic) half way the cooking process.

  67. Donna

    I can’t find anywhere in here the answer to my question. We made our first beer can chicken yesterday, and it was okay, moist, but nothing special in the flavor. I’m wondering if it has to do with the fact that the only beer I had on hand was a Bud lite. Does it need to be “the real stuff”? Was that my problem?

  68. Penny

    Made this on the gas grill today and it may be the best chicken I ever made. It was certainly the easiest. The grill was possibly a little warmer than intended because the bird was done to perfection in an hour, but so moist and flavorful, and yummy crispy skin. Thanks!

  69. Sarah

    In Minnesota, we call this “Beer Butt Chicken”. I’m not a big fan of drinking beer, but cooking with it is a whole different story. Simple but oh so tasty!

  70. Debbie

    I’ve tried this before, and actually what I’m fixing for dinner tonight. Using a spicy chicken rub and put a few slices of jalapeno and onion on the inside.

  71. rohan

    You dont have to use beer people, just any can topped up with water and maybe some salt or herbs to jazz it up will do

  72. Kristin

    Drunken Chicken, NOLA style. We put some liquid smoke and crab boil in the can, plus some of the seasoning that goes on the rub. Amazing.

  73. Ally

    Hi Elise! I just read this recipe and I am so excited to make the chicken! It sounds absolutely delicious. But I just wanted to make sure there won’t be anymore alcohol in the chicken because I’m going to serve some to my kids. I know it will evaporate, but are you sure it won’t condense on the inside of the chicken?

    Thanks so much! Again this sounds so great and I am dying to try it.

    Hi Ally, there’s very little alcohol in the beer to begin with, and almost all of what is there will evaporate in the cooking. I think there’s probably more alcohol in a cake where you’ve used vanilla extract than you would find in a beer can chicken. ~Elise

  74. Deborah

    Hello Elise, I’ve been making beer can chicken on the grill since the early 90′s ~ we love it! I planned on making it for dinner tonight using our new cast-iron smoker but… It’s raining again and I don’t want to take a chance that the cast-iron will rust. I Googled for a recipe to roast it in the oven and found your site, Thank you! We use the same basic recipe: fat, rub & beer but instead of olive oil I use cooled bacon grease plus I tuck a couple of lime wedges (because hubby drinks his beer with a lime wedge) and a few cloves of garlic under the skin before I add the rub. I will try your baked bean suggestion next time ~ sounds yummy. Thanks again :)

  75. Deborah

    I forgot to mention that I added a couple of drops of liquid smoke (mesquite flavor) to the beer too ~

  76. Amanda

    I just got a 7.87 lb chicken to make beer can chicken with….Appears I should have purchased 2 smaller ones. Anyone know how long I should grill this monster for???Any tips??? I am going to have some hungry guests in about 4 hours…So help please??? Thanks!

    Wow, that’s a big chicken! I would start with 2 hours and then check every 20 minutes or so after that. ~Elise

  77. Amanda

    Elise-
    It is Big! Thanks for the quick advice! I will let you know how long it actually takes!
    -Amanda

  78. Rick Wood

    I’ve been reading up on your Beer Can Chicken recipe and am concerned about any toxins in the paint of the Beer Can label that might transfer to the meat? Thanks for the recipe!

    Hi Rick, the temperature never gets hot enough to affect the paint. ~Elise

  79. shorthand

    Drink half of the beer and replace some of the beer with liquid crab boil. That’s how we do it on the bayou!

  80. Crystal T.

    I tried this recipe this weekend. We ended up cooking it in the oven. We added some of the spices to the beer as well…the result? DELICIOUS!!!! The outside was brown and the inside was so juicy. The idea of this seemed a little daunting but in reality its an extremely easy recipe. Elise, Thanks for providing recipes that are so consistenly good!

  81. Ramon

    My sister bought this for my birthday from Williams Sonoma.

    http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/two-in-one-vertical-chicken-roaster/?pkey=coutdoor-cookware

    I have cooked whole chickens by many different methods (rotisserie, clay oven, roasting, grilling, smoking, etc). I didn’t even brine the chicken, used beer for the liquid and a basic rub but it was one of the best chickens I’ve made ever, I’m so excited! I like that the open holed design allows fat to fall off, I put a pan underneath my gas grill and cooked at 400F for about 55 minutes. Crispy skin and juicy breast meat!

  82. Chip

    Been cooking beer can chicken for years. Hint> using a metal skewer or sharp end of a nail poke holes around the side of the can all the way down almost to the level of the liquid. this gives more area for the steam to escape lower into the birdy

  83. Karen J

    I made this last week and loved it! I used rosemary instead of thyme and added a sprig inside the can, as you suggested. I also put some garlic cloves inside the chicken. It was delicious! Thanks for a great recipe.

  84. Jude

    I prefer using a can of ginger ale instead of the beer. If you can get it (it’s a local brand), “Vernor’s” is the best. It gives a sweeter flavor and I can share the bird with people who prefer to avoid alcoholic beverages. Yes, I know the alcohol gets cooked out.

  85. Alicia

    I made my first beer can chicken tonight in the oven and it was wonderful! So moist and delicious. I will definitely be cooking my roast chickens this way from now on. Next time I will experiment with some other seasonings. Thanks for yet another wonderful recipe!

  86. Kim

    I know some coonasses that have been doing this since before I was born. They call it drunk chicken, because the chicken will fall over when it’s done. Then you can grab the end of the leg bone and wiggle it a little and it should slide right out. If it doesn’t, the chicken isn’t done. A really great way to cook chicken. And of course, in true Louisiana style, you rub the chicken with Tony’s.

  87. Ashley

    Wonderful recipe! I used a brown ale and seasoned the outside of the chicken with worcestershire sauce and a ‘beer can chicken rub’. Served it with grilled corn on the cob and roasted garlic red potatoes. Thanks so much!

  88. Michael Kenitzer

    I’ve always loved making “beer in the butt chicken”. Always different styles make it wonderful. However my wife always wants me to use the same rub so I thought why not. I’ll post it on here. A bit sweet and spicy.

    1 1/4 cup white sugar
    1 1/4 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup salt
    1/4 cup paprika pepper
    1/4 cup ground black pepper (fresh if possible).

    This does make a lot of rub but my wife loves it so much she always wants me to put it on everything from beef and pork ribs to even burgers

  89. James Murray

    Hello to all. My son and myself have a cookoff team (Back Woods Kuntry Kookers) and we came up with a dry rub we use with Dr. Pepper injection on the chicken along with a Dr. Pepper can for those that can’t drink. Some of the best I’ve ever made but it work best if you can put it on a grill or smoker.

I apologize for the inconvenience, but comments are closed. You can share your thoughts on our Facebook page ~ Elise.