HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Beer Can Chicken -- First try! Any last minute tips?

  • k

My husband is an Aussie and we have a big honkin' gas barbecue on our back patio. We've got a fresh, organic chicken and we're doing the beer can thing. From what we've gathered from the various guidelines for this method -- dry rub (any suggestions?), dark beer, add herbs to the beer if desired, plop on the grill, indirect heat on medium heat and let it go for about an hour or so, till thermometre reads 175 degrees.

Have we missed anything? Any and all tips appreciated.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You got it. My fav is a jerk rub overnight first.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Hoss

      Jerk rub is my thought, too. Rub outside and inside and you can put it in the beer. I look for about 1 1/4 hour using coals.

    2. Do you really want to take it to 175? Seems high.

      2 Replies
      1. re: rabaja

        Agreed - it should be 160 on the breast meat,a nd 175 in the dark.

        I have been really interested in trying this, but unfortunately, I am smokey joe fire escape griller, so I am still having a hard time figuring out how to prop up a chicken in a small kettle grill.

        1. re: ijrobertson

          Okay, duly noted regarding temperature reading.

          Hubbie reports that he went with a cajun spice mixture for the dry rub.

          Will report back tomorrow!

      2. Most people pour out about half the beer before putting on the chicken.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Hoss

          Not pour! Drink... ;)


        2. I use Montreal Steak seasoning and rub it on both the inside and the out. I use a lager for the beer and have one of those beer can stands. I put the stand in a round foil baking pan and pour half of the beer into the pan. I put the beer in the stand and the chicken over the beer and then put half an onion...skin on....over the neck cavity of the chicken secured with toothpicks. It turns out so moist inside and the outside is really crispy. The flavor is great and it makes excellent chicken soup with the leftovers! Happy grilling.

          1 Reply
          1. re: blondie76

            do yoy cook over indirect or direct heat? TIA

          2. I use a mole rub that I make myself. I make it by the jar and keep it for the occasion. I rub it all over the bird and let it marinate in that. I also spoon a bunch into the beer can to let it perk through while cooking. I use a lager beer for that.

            Makew sure to wrap the beer can in foil....I do just to prevent any of that coating on the can from coming off into the chicken.


              1. I use the method and dry rub recipe in the "Barbecue Bible" - dry rub under the skin, in the cavity and on the skin. I've used beer and in an emergency, a can of Coke with equal success. I pour out about 1/3 of the can, throw several smashed cloves of garlic and a couple of Tbs of dry rub into the can. I use a conventional charcoal Weber, indirect. This produces my second favorite chicken - 1st is the Zuni dry salt method with that wonderful bread salad...

                1. Only suggestion is don't use a beer can. The inks can be toxic. Either use a commercial set-up like the Weber poultry roaster or else use a plain old unpainted can such as a soup can.

                  1. I just made one last weekend and the BEST thing you can do is brine the chicken overnight!

                    1. I make a beer can chicken at least once every two weeks...it's cheaper and tastier than takeout rotisserie chicken. I generally oil the skin before patting on the dry rub spices, and I like to use cola or fruit juice rather than beer. Cook over indirect heat: on my three-burner gas grill, I light the two outside burners and leave the center one off. The two outside burners, set to medium-high, yield a consistent 325 temp inside the closed grill. At 325, a 4-lb chicken is perfectly roasted in 1 hour 15 minutes (started cold from the fridge--a room temp bird will take less time).

                      Steven Raichlen has a nifty little cookbook with dozens of beer can chicken variations: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0761... I recently made the lacquered saigon chicken recipe, and it rocked. You marinate the chicken overnight with garlic, ginger, soy, sesame oil, five-spice powder, then roast over beer with ginger & garlic added to the can. Delicious served with peanut sauce in lettuce cups or rice paper wraps!

                      1. here is a rub for Chicken On A Throne, as passed on to me from BIL Ken. It's called Wild Willie's #1-derful Rub.

                        6 T paprika (I use smoked Spanish)
                        2 T ground black pepper
                        2 T kosher salt
                        2 T sugar
                        1 T each chili, garlic, and onion powder
                        1 t cayenne

                        Make an injection liquid using
                        12 0z beer
                        1/4 c veg oil
                        1/4 apple cider vinegar
                        2 t above rub.

                        Rinse and dry whole chicken, loosen skin over breasts and leg/thighs. Inject 1/2 c liquid in breasts, thighs evenly. Sprinkle rub over and inside chicken and massage in. Refrigerate over night, bring to room temp before placing on bbq. Cook on stand as usual.

                        Penzey's 'Northwoods Fire' spice mix is also good.

                        I've made a good Chicken Coleslaw by making a slaw and adding the spice mix to the dressing and shredding the C.O.A.T cooked meat to the salad. Top with roasted cashews.

                        1. If you are using one of those beer can stands, spray it with Pam or the chicken's skin will stick to it. My favorite rub is Stubb's. Loosen the skin so you can get the rub under it. Be generous. Have fun!

                          1. Since it is a gas grill do not do what I did the first time. I can't remember how long I was suppose to cook the bird maybe 2.5 hours so I checked it after an hour of cooking and I had black bird about a 1/4 of the way up the bird. Light the burner furtherest away from the gas tank and put the bird over the area where the burners are not on with a pan underneath the frame to cathach the drippings.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: 1 wiener hound

                              Time wise I find they can cook in 30-45 minutes. The lower the temp and longer cooking time for any chicken on the grill, the better the texture of the meat.