No ImageBeer Can Chicken

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Dana

    Made it twice now. Both times was absolutely DELICIOUS! the rub is so good. Nothing was left but bones. I think we’re ready to try coke and a bbq rub! Do you have a bbq rub Elise?


    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Dana, here are two rubs I like to use for pork. I might scale back the sugar in the first one if using for chicken:

      BBQ Rub (enough for a 4 pound roast)

      2 Tbsp brown sugar, packed
      2 Tbsp white sugar
      2 Tbsp paprika
      1 Tbsp kosher salt
      1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
      1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
      1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder
      1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper

      Santa Maria Rub (enough for a 4 pound roast)

      1 Tbsp salt
      1 Tbsp finely ground black pepper
      1 Tbsp garlic powder
      1 Tbsp onion powder
      1 teaspoon cayenne
      1 Tbsp dried oregano
      1 teaspoon dry rosemary (or fresh, finely minced)
      1/2 teaspoon dry sage
      1/4 teaspoon sugar

  2. Tony

    Great moist flavored chicken from just putting in a beer can unbelievable


  3. Kelly

    This was great! My family loved it. The chicken was moist and the skin was crisp. I served it with the German potato salad and carrot salad from your website, plus corn bread with honey butter. I was a little nervous but it was super easy. As you can tell we use your recipes frequently. Thank you for the delicious recipes.

  4. E. Matthews

    Will the liquid in the can, whether beer or lemonade, steam at 165*. Isn’t this method actually Roasting a chicken? The inside of the chicken does not get that golden brown color as the outside. Beer boils at 212*F so go figure. Although Roasted Chicken tastes good, it’s not a good as spatchcocked w/ a good dry rub and smoked.

    • Beans

      Eh? 165 is the ‘cooked’ temperature for the chicken.
      The oven is 350 so yes the liquid will steam…

  5. Itsme

    I use a apple ale. Family love it.

  6. Kirsten Tautfest

    I never have any problems. You just have to cut open the butt end more to accommodate the can. You can use a sharp knife or poultry shears. If your hand can go in it to rub inside, the can will fit no problem.

  7. Noris Rivera

    Hi there, I don’t have a grill, can this be done in the oven, and if so at what temp?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Noris, it can be made in the oven, in a roasting pan on the lowest rack. I would say cook it at 375°F until done. 13 to 15 minutes per pound. It’s done when the breast meat reaches 165°F and the thigh meat reaches 170°F.

  8. jimmy

    try ginger ale if you do not drink or have beer.

  9. Steve
  10. 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.

    • Vicki

      I want to add my fondness for this chicken. I make this recipe all the time. I’m aspiring to be a good cook and this is super easy. I also make it in my oven. Thanks to everyone for variations to try!

  11. 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

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. Laurie Kimmel

    I have a vertical turkey stand- my oven is tall enough. Has anyone made a stand up turkey similar to beer can chicken? how does it taste? does it dry out faster?

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. Ramon

    My sister bought this for my birthday from Williams Sonoma.

    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!

  19. 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!

  20. 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!

    • JaneG

      Ooo;, that’s a keeper. Sounds yummy.

  21. 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

  22. 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

  23. 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 :)

  24. 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

  25. Nick

    Tried it this weekend on my smoker and used a mesquite rub. Wow!

  26. 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!

  27. 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?

    • Dan

      I don’t think the type of beer is very critical…I’d think more about the rub…possibly use mesquite or other wood chips if you like that flavor…keep experimenting, it’s worth it!

  28. 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.

  29. 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

  30. 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.


  31. 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!

  32. 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!

  33. 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!

  34. 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

  35. bmhost

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


  36. 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!!!

  37. 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!

  38. 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!

  39. 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)

  40. 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!

  41. Dawn

    I made this yesterday, with potatoes, and it was FABULOUS! Thanks for a great recipe.

  42. kirsten

    I just made it yesterday, fantastic! And you’re so right, men/boys love it! Great post.

  43. 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.

  44. Kim

    I have been making the Fine Cooking recipe for beer can chicken for years, I love it and this method of cooking chicken is fantastic. We don’t drink beer from cans either as several people have mentioned… I usually empty out a soda can and put the beer in it. Give this recipe a try for a variation!

  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. 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.

  47. Ron White

    Hey Elise,

    I’ve found you don’t even need the beer or the can if you use one of these holders…

    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

  48. 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

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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

  56. 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

  57. 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

  58. 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

  59. 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

  60. 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

  61. 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.

  62. pam

    I’ve always wanted to try this. It’s the getting it off the grill when it’s hot that scares me!

    Yep, you have to be careful about that. By the way, several places sell pans specifically made for making beer can chicken. ~Elise

    • Vicki

      I recommend you spray the can with cooking spray. It makes it much easier to remove.

  63. 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.

  64. 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

  65. 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!

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

  66. 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.

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