Beer Can Chicken

Serves 4 to 6
Judged our family’s favorite chicken by our family.

Ingredientsrsz raw beer can chickens on the grill copy

  • 1-12 oz. can of beer (If you choose Pabst Blue Ribbon, you continue the judging theme)
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 Tbsp. barbecue rub (recipe follows or use a commercial blend)


  1. Pop the tab off the beer can. Make a few more holes at the top. Pour out half the beer and see if someone will drink it.
  2. Preheat the grill to medium and add some soaked wood chips to the grill if you like.
  3. Clean the chicken discarding the gizzard and liver. Rinse the chicken under cold water and pat dry.
  4. Sprinkle 2 tsp. of the rub inside the body of the chicken. Rub the chicken on the outside with 2 tsp. of the rub.
  5. Spoon the remaining 2 tsp. of the rub through the holes into the beer in the can. The liquid will foam.
  6. Insert the beer can into the body cavity of the chicken and spread out the legs to form a tripod. Tuck the wings behind the chicken’s back. (see photo)
  7. Stand the chicken in the center of the hot grates. Cover the grill and cook until the skin is dark golden brown-- about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hrs. If you are using a meat thermometer, the temperature should be 180ºF at the joint of the thigh.
  8. Using tongs, transfer the chicken in its upright position on the beer can to a platter and present to your guests. Let rest 5 min. and then carefully remove the chicken from the beer can. Discard the beer and carve the chicken. You can carve the chicken in the kitchen--it will taste the same but there's a thrill to seeing the chicken standing on the beer can.

Basic barbecue rub for chicken

  • 1 Tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. white pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. cayenne
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 4 Tbsp. paprika—regular or smoked
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. salt

Mix together. This makes more than you need for 1 chicken. Store in a dry place.

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