Our family can’t get enough of this Beer Can Chicken! This is the “go-to” grilled chicken recipe in our house. It’s the one recipe that turns out amazing every single time.
We started with a mild grilling rub recipe from a grilling book many moons ago and have adapted it to our tastes. Each mix of the rub makes enough for 2-3 batches of Beer Can Chicken. The chicken is so tender and moist. Even the white meat (which is so easy to dry out) stays nice and juicy.
Dry Rub – This is a simple all-purpose dry rub that is insanely flavorful! It is a bit on the sweet side. I like the initial sweet flavoring before the paprika and celery seed hit my palate, but cut down on the brown sugar as you like.
Chicken – A whole chicken and a bottle of beer is all you need to finish this amazing dinner.
We use a traditional Beer Can Chicken pan that has the container in the center of the pan used to hold the beer. A separate conical shaped piece slips in to help to hold the chicken upright.
But don’t worry if you do not have this pan. You can just use a (opened) can of beer to hold the chicken upright. If you do this, I recommend placing it on a small disposable aluminum pan to catch the drippings.
The pan is large enough (but not too big!) that we are able to cut up carrots and onions to put around the base of the chicken for additional flavor. I typically add these in the last 20-30 minutes, otherwise they can easily become overcooked.
Everyone always asks about the beer that we use and does it matter? Of course, it does. It’s best to use a beer that you love. Just like a deep, dark Guinness stout tastes different than a light Belgian Ale, they will add a different flavor to the chicken as well. Play with it and see what you prefer. If you don’t normally buy beer, then it’s best to start with a Pale Ale, Belgian Ale or a Lager.
🔥 Grilling Instructions
Step One: Set up the grill using direct heat (remove the plate setter). Bring the temperature up to 350 degrees and you will be ready to go. I like to give the BGE a few extra minutes to heat up and wait for the white smoke to turn silvery. That is when I know the grill is ready.
Step Two: Mix all the ingredients for the rub together and generously spread it on the whole chicken. Store extra rub in a covered jar.
Step Three: Fill the container with your favorite beer. In a pinch, you can use chicken broth, soda, or even water. But, a nice beer is my favorite option.
Step Four: Place the pan with the beer and the rubbed chicken in the center of the grill, close the lid and monitor the temperature to keep it close to 350 degrees. It is done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Take it off the grill and it is ready to serve.
There are several different beer can holders to help you with cooking this chicken. You certainly don’t HAVE to have one. You can just open a can, insert it into the chicken and balance it on a disposable pan on the grill.
Unfortunately, I have had it tip over mid-grill and had a bit of a mess to clean up. After that happened, I invested a few dollars into the proper tool for the job. Listed below are my favorites. Let me know what you think about them.
💡 Recipe Tips
I bring lunches to work each day, and love it when I grill the whole chicken on the weekend. I know I will get lunches throughout the week with this fantastic juicy chicken. It is easy to pick the chicken apart and place them in individual tupperware containers with some fresh grilled vegetables. That is oh-so good!
Don’t throw away the little pouch that comes with the whole roasting chicken. The chicken liver, gizzard and heart are packed full of nutrients and taste delicious! Wait until there is 20 – 30 minutes left on the grill, sprinkle them with the same seasoning that you rubbed on the chicken, and let them cook. It’s funny, but these are so darned good that they never seem to make it into my lunches for the week. What’s up with that?
Grilled Beer Can Chicken
- 1 whole Chicken
- 8 oz Beer flavor of your choice
- ⅓ cup Brown Sugar
- ¼ cup Paprika
- 3 tbsp Black Pepper coarse ground
- 1-2 tbsp Sea or Kosher Salt coarse ground
- 2 tsp Onion Powder
- 2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 tsp Celery Seed
Make the Rub
- Place all rub ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix thoroughly. Break up any lumps with a whisk.
Prepare the Chicken
- Use about ½ of the rub to liberally coat the chicken, inside and out. Note: If the skin is dry, you can rub a teaspoon of olive oil over the skin before adding the mix. The oil will help the mixture stick.
- Pour your favorite beer in the cup of the beer can chicken holder
- Gently place the chicken over the cup in the holder
Grill the Beer Can Chicken
- Set the grill for direct heat and stabilize the temperature to around 350 degrees
- Place the chicken in the middle of the grill, close the lid and monitor the temperature
- Cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. It should take 1.5 – 2 hours depending on the size of the chicken.