Recipe: How to Make Beer Can Chicken on the Grill

James J. Latham

Numerous folks credit grill master Steven Raichlen with inventing beer can chicken. He did not. But he did popularize it, bringing the cooking approach from, as he places it, “the barbecue backwoods to the American mainstream.” What Raichlen taught the planet was that environment a chicken on a beer can to cook dinner upright—thus melting body fat out and crisping the pores and skin on all sides—is a surefire way to grill a greater bird.

“It’s also cool,” he provides. “And you should really never underestimate the cool variable.”



If that seems cavalier, relaxation confident that Raichlen is just about anything but. In advance of releasing the preeminent e-book on the issue, he place his beer can chicken recipes by a barrage of laboratory assessments. He proved that no metal or label dyes had been absorbed by the meat and found that the greatest way to make guaranteed the whole thing won’t topple in excess of is to treat the can like a single leg on a tripod—the chicken’s legs being the other two.

Raichlen suggests that cooks try out out beer can chicken employing a charcoal grill and never place the bird immediately in excess of the hearth. In its place, use oblique heat to crisp the exterior and retain the within moist. And use a charcoal grill that has ample clearance beneath the lid—this signifies a 22 1/2-inch kettle (eighteen inches is much too little). From there, it is just a make any difference of how artistic you want to get.

Steven Raichlen’s Primary Beer Can Rooster

(Serves four)


  • 1 can (12 ounces) beer
  • 1 chicken (three 1⁄2 to four pounds)
  • 2 tbsp selfmade rub
  • Optional: Contemporary herbs, chopped (thyme, oregano, rosemary, etcetera.)
  • 2 tsp vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 cups wooden chips or chunks (if possible hickory or cherrywood)

Selecting the proper can: In its place of beer, you can also use a can fifty percent comprehensive of soda, wine, or fruit juice. Use a 12-ounce can for a ordinary chicken, an eight-ounce can for a activity hen, and a 1-liter “oil can” for a little turkey. For quail, a little can of pineapple juice is best, when a duck requires a tall boy.


1. Pop the tab off the beer can. Pour fifty percent of the beer out (preferably into a glass for you to drink).

2. Get rid of the packet of giblets from the system cavity of the chicken and established aside. Get rid of and discard the body fat just within the system and neck cavities. Rinse the chicken, within and out, beneath cold working drinking water and then drain and blot dry, within and out, with paper towels. Sprinkle 1 tsp of the rub within the system cavity and 1/2 tsp within the neck cavity of the chicken. If wanted, insert contemporary, chopped herbs beneath the chicken’s pores and skin. Drizzle the oil in excess of the exterior of the bird and rub or brush it all in excess of the pores and skin. Sprinkle the exterior of the bird with 1 tbsp of rub and rub it all in excess of the pores and skin. Spoon the remaining 1 1/2 tsp of rub into the beer by the hole in the leading of the can. The beer might foam up—that’s ordinary.

three. Hold the bird upright, with the opening of the system cavity facing down, and reduced the bird on to the beer can so the can matches into the cavity. Pull the chicken legs forward to kind a form of tripod, allowing the bird to stand upright. The beer can should really be the rear leg of the tripod. If cooking on a standup roaster that contains a can, fill it with the beer-rub combination and posture the chicken on leading, pursuing the manufacturer’s recommendations.

four. Tuck the ideas of the wings guiding the chicken’s back again.

5. Established up the grill for oblique grilling and preheat to medium. If employing a charcoal grill, put a huge drip pan in the heart. If employing a gas grill, put all the wooden chips or chunks in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch, preheat on significant right up until you see smoke, and then lessen heat to medium.

six. When ready to cook dinner, if employing a charcoal grill, toss all of the wooden chips or chunks on the coals. Stand the chicken in the heart of the incredibly hot grate, in excess of the drip pan and away from the heat. Deal with grill, and cook dinner chicken right up until the pores and skin is a darkish golden brown and incredibly crisp and the meat is cooked by (about a hundred and eighty levels Fahrenheit on an immediate-read through meat thermometer inserted in the thickest portion of a thigh, but not touching the bone), about 1 1/four to 1 1/2 several hours. If employing a charcoal grill, you are going to have to have to incorporate 12 contemporary coals per aspect immediately after 1 hour. If the chicken pores and skin starts to brown much too significantly, loosely tent the bird with aluminum foil.

7. If cooking on a can, use tongs to hold the bird by the can and carefully transfer it (in an upright posture) to a platter. If cooking on a standup roaster, use oven mitts or pot holders to take away the bird from the grill when it is nevertheless on the roaster.

eight. Enable the chicken relaxation for 5 minutes, then carefully take away the can, getting treatment not to spill the incredibly hot beer or in any other case burn up oneself. Halve, quarter, or carve the chicken and provide.

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