Beer Can Chicken

Prep Time
Cook Time
2h 30m
Ready In

Recipe: #17569

February 24, 2015

"A great beer can chicken recipe. The Memphis rub really makes it good. Directions include instructions for both gas and charcoal grills. From Bon Appetit."

Original recipe yields 4 servings


  • Serving Size: 1 (674.7 g)
  • Calories 623.3
  • Total Fat - 12.8 g
  • Saturated Fat - 3.2 g
  • Cholesterol - 1360.8 mg
  • Sodium - 2158.7 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 15 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 3 g
  • Sugars - 7.1 g
  • Protein - 101.9 g
  • Calcium - 95.4 mg
  • Iron - 16 mg
  • Vitamin C - 21.9 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.2 mg

Step by Step Method

Step 1

Remove and discard the fat just inside the body cavities of the chicken.

Step 2

Remove the package of giblets, and set aside for another use.

Step 3

Rinse the chicken, inside and out, under cold running water, then drain and blot dry, inside and out, with paper towels.

Step 4

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the rub inside the body and neck cavities, then rub another 1 tablespoon all over the skin of the bird.

Step 5

If you wish, rub another 1/2 tablespoon of the mixture between the flesh and the skin.

Step 6

Cover and refrigerate the chicken while you preheat the grill.

Step 7

Set up the grill for indirect grilling placing a drip pan in the center. If using a charcoal grill, preheat it to medium.

Step 8

If using a gas grill, place all the wood chips in the smoker box and preheat the grill to high; then, when smoke appears, lower the heat to medium.

Step 9

Pop the tab on the beer can.

Step 10

Using a "church key" style can opener, make 6 or 7 holes in the top of the can.

Step 11

Pour out the top inch of beer, then spoon the remaining dry rub through the holes into the beer.

Step 12

Holding the chicken upright, with the opening of the body cavity down, insert the beer can into the cavity. (Caution: the beer fizzes when you add the rub!).

Step 13

When ready to cook, if using charcoal, toss half the wood chips on the coals.

Step 14

Oil the grill grate.

Step 15

Stand the chicken up in the center of the hot grate, over the drip pan.

Step 16

Spread out the legs to form a sort of tripod, to support the bird.

Step 17

Cover the grill and cook the chicken until fall-off-the-bone tender, 2 hours.

Step 18

If using charcoal, add 10 to 12 fresh coals per side and the remaining wood chips after 1 hour.

Step 19

Using tongs, lift the bird to a cutting board or platter, holding the metal spatula underneath the beer can for support. (Have the board or platter right next to the bird to make the move shorter. Be careful not to spill hot beer on yourself.)

Step 20

Let stand for 5 minutes before carving the meat off the upright carcass. (Toss the beer can out along with the carcass.)


Step 21

Combine all the ingredients in a jar, twist the lid on airtight, and shake to mix.

Step 22

Store away from heat or light for up to six months.

Step 23

Makes about 1/2 cup. Enough for 4 to 6 racks of ribs or 1 whole chicken.

Indirect grilling on a Charcoal Grill

Step 24

To set up you grill for indirect grilling, light the coals.

Step 25

When they are blazing red, use tongs to transfer them to opposite sides of the grill, arranging them in two piles.

Step 26

Some grills have special half-moon-shaped baskets to hold the coals at the sides; others have wire fences that hook onto the bottom gate.

Step 27

Let the coals burn until they are covered with a thin layer of gray ash.

Step 28

Set the drip pan in the center of the grill, between the mounds of coals.

Step 29

Place the food on the grate over the drip pan, and cover the grill.

Step 30

You'll need to add about 10 to 12 fresh briquettes to each side after an hour of cooking.

Step 31

If you want to add a smoke flavor, add 1 to 2 cups of presoaked wood chips, or 2 to 4 chunks, to the coals just before you start to cook, and again whenever you replenish the coals.

Tips & Variations

No special items needed.

2 Reviews


Great chicken! Love beer can chicken, but I've never rubbed seasoning under the skin for it. One might want to pour out more than 1 inch of beer. When I added the Memphis rub to the beer it foamed out all over the counter! So I poured more out and re-added the rub. Turned out great!!


review by:
(8 Aug 2020)


The dry rub is really good and the method makes a really juicy and tender chicken! We had it with grilled baked potatoes and a garden salad for a delicious meal.


review by:
(30 Jul 2020)

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