Moist and flavourful, you will be surprised how easy it is to make Beer Can Chicken! Simply rub the bird with your favourite spice blend, secure chicken on a can of beer and turn on your grill.
Beer Can Chicken
Beer can chicken recipes have been floating around for the last twenty or so years. It’s a movement and trend that people like to follow. When you think about certain countries who roast an animal on a grill or over a fire, the animal is typically vertically placed, not parallel.
Therefore cooking a bird upright not only ensures the entire bird will cook evenly and come out nicely browned, but that the idea of vertically cooking is really not that far fetched.
Yup we went there and turned it up a notch. Some like to brine, some don’t and that’s okay. You do what works for you. If you don’t want to brine your beer can chicken, omit that step!
Brining meat can offer additional moisture and help season the food from the inside out. To this day I still see many cookbooks with tips on brining turkey and chicken.
Everyone loves a brown, crispy skin on their bird and meat. Browning happens when the sugar and amino acids in the meat heat up. This is called the Maillard Reaction, named after French scientist Louis-Camille Maillard in the early 1900s.
The technique is applied to all kinds of food, like seared steaks, fried dumplings, cookies, breads, toasted marshmallows to name a few.
Indirect heat is the key to cooking a moist bird. Set your bird up like a tripod by spreading out the legs giving it more balance.
Gas Grill: Turn on your burners on one side of your grill to medium and set up the chicken on the side with the burners turned off. Cover grill.
Charcoal Grill: Prepare your charcoals on one side of the grill, stand up the chicken on the other side of the grill with a drip pan underneath. Cover grill and replace charcoal as needed.
Sometimes we smoke the bird while cooking which merely imparts a smokey flavour.
Ready to get grilling?! We’ve made beer can chicken many times over the years and here are some of the tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way!
- You can tuck in the wings if you wish, but it’s not necessary. In fact leaving the wings out like we do ensures they will be golden, crispy and delicious.
- Add some spices to your beer before you add your chicken. We also like to add a few sprigs of fresh rosemary in the chicken cavity before combing with beer can.
- While the taste of the beer is not really noticeable, it really doesn’t matter what kind of beer you use. Replace beer with gingerale, cider, rootbeer even some sort of cool, flavourful cooler.
- These days you can buy a special beer can chicken roaster, but it’s not necessary. Neither is a drip pan.
- We’ve never had a dry bird cooking it this way despite all those trying to debunk beer can chicken and advising it can be dry. Nope not here as long as you slow cook it.
Here’s a few of our favourite grilling recipes:
- Smoked Spatchcocked Chicken
- Grilled Pork Chops with Pineapple Salsa
- Grilled Angel Food Cake
- Grilled Skewered Olives
- Canadian Rocky Mountain Burger
If you made this recipe tag Wanda Baker on Instagram and hashtag it #bakersbeans
- 5 garlic cloves peeled and lightly smashed
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 cans beer
- 1 whole chicken 3-4 lbs
- plastic bag
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup spice rub, or more
- olive oil
Chicken Beer Brine
- Place garlic, thyme, rosemary and 1 can of beer into a large plastic ziplock bag. Add the bird and seal. Give a shake and put in refrigerator overnight or for at least one hour.
Preparing the bird
- Preheat grill to medium-high. Remove bird from ziplock bag at least half an hour before grilling. Pat dry.
- Rub spice mixture all over the bird ensuring you get into cracks and crevices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.
- Open beer, pour or drink about 1/4 of the beer. Slide bird on pushing all the way down.
- Place on grill and let cook with lid down approximately 1-2 hours depending on your BBQ and size of your bird. Your meat thermometer should register an internal temperature of 165F.
- Remove from grill and carefully (with oven mitts or help) remove bird from can. Let rest 10-15 minutes before carving.