Classic Beer Can Chicken

Category: Recipes


This classic beer-can chicken has a spicy dry rub applied to the outside. A classic pilsner, or lager is used to provide moisture and flavor to the bird. Recipe submission by Patrick Davis. His author page is here

Classic Beer Can Chicken

Time to Prepare

10-20 minutes

Estimated Cook Time

1-1.5 hours


4 people


  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1.5 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes


  1. Clean out the bird and heavily apply the dry rub all over the outside.
  2. Now that you have applied your dry rub to the chicken, set up the grill for indirect heat. For indirect heat, place charcoal on half the grill and cook the bird on the other half, above an aluminum tin to catch drippings. On a gas grill, ignite the burners on only one side to medium high heat. You want the grill to be at about 400-425 degrees for grilling a beer-can chicken.
  3. It’s easiest to insert the can into the bird right at the grill to avoid it tipping over inside the house. The legs of the chicken extend down toward the grill and the can is inserted into the cavity between the drumsticks.
  4. After the grill is pre-heated, set the chicken, neatly propped up on top of the can, on the indirect heat side of the grill and close the grill dome. After about 45 minutes, check the internal temperature of the bird. The chicken will be done when the internal temperature is 165˚F. It should take about 1 to 1-1/2 hours to fully cook the bird, depending on your grill temperature.
  5. Once your chicken reaches 165 degrees, remove the can and the chicken from the grill. Safely remove the bird from the grill. Use grill tongs placed in the neck cavity to secure the bird from the top while carefully holding the bottom of the can with some oven mitts or pot holders.
  6. Bring the bird inside for a quick 10-minute rest followed by carving.
  7. Flip the chicken skin side down after 40 minutes and cook for another 20-30 minutes or until the internal temperature is 185°F.
  8. Pro Tip: For an extra pop, a poultry butter injection inside the bird is fantastic. Melt some butter and inject it into the thickest part of the breast and into the legs and thighs. The buttery flavor can’t be beat.

beer can chicken tips