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BBQ! Beer Can Chicken

The steaming beer keeps the meat moist while the high heat crisps the skin, delivering a perfect bird each time, every time.

Recipe originally appeared in the 15th edition of the Barbecue Genius Grillers Handbook, and can also be found at

Preparation Time: 1.5 hours

Serves: 4


  • 1 whole chicken about 4 lbs.
  • 1 can beer (16 oz - tall boy)
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of your favorite dry spice rub
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. Remove neck and giblets from Chicken. Discard. Rinse chicken inside and out; pat dry with paper towels. Rub chicken lightly with oil then rub inside and out with salt, pepper and dry rub. Set aside.
  2. Preheat barbecue on HIGH.
  3. Open beer can and pour off half of the beer. Place beer can on a solid surface. Grabbing a chicken leg in each hand, plunk the bird cavity over the beer can.
  4. Turn one side of the burner completely off and the other side to MEDIUM. Place the bird-on-a-can on the side that is turned off to use the indirect cooking method. Balance the bird on it`s two legs and the can like a tripod. Make sure it is well balanced before closing the lid.
  5. Cook the bird over MEDIUM indirect heat for approximately 1 1/4 hours or until the internal temperature reads 170 degrees F (77 degrees C) in the breast area and 180 degrees F (83 degrees C) in the thickest part of the thigh.
  6. Carefully remove from grill using oven mitts. Let rest for 10 minutes before removing can. Be careful not to spill, contents will be hot. Carve chicken and serve immediately.

Genius Tip:

Make sure that the bird is well balanced before closing lid. Otherwise your bird may tip, spilling the beer. When removing cooked chicken from grill, use oven mits and be careful not to spill contents of beer can as it will be very hot. Let the bird rest 10 minutes before removing can.