Beer-can chicken

  • 4 Servings
  • 20mPrep Time
  • 30mCook Time
  • 50mReady In
  • Category : Food
  • Subcategory : Poultry
  • Main Ingredient : chicken
  • Chef : Weslie Bellini

A whole chicken cooked upright with an open can of beer stuffed up its hindquarters, beer-can chicken has become a staple of summer cookouts. The beer steams and slightly flavors the bird, making for tender, tasty meat, while the grill-roasting process crisps the skin and adds smoky flavor.


  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (your favorites)
  • 1 3- to 4-pound whole chicken
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons barbecue dry rub (recipe follows)
  • 1 12-ounce can Hamm’s Beer

Dry rub

  • 1/2 cup Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley



Dissolve the kosher salt in the water in a large container or zippered plastic bag, add the herbs and submerge the chicken in the brine. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Prepare a covered barbecue grill for indirect cooking or preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Take out the bird, pat dry, salt the inside cavity then cover the chicken with the rub.

Pour out half the beer for another use. Use a church-key can opener to poke a couple more holes in the top of the can. Stand the bird up on the half-full can of beer, pushing the can up the rear cavity and pulling the legs forward so the bird sits upright. Drizzle the olive oil over the bird.

If you’re cooking on a grill, set the upright bird onto the grate, away from the coals, and close the lid. (In the oven, use a disposable foil pan for easier clean up.) Cook about 1 hour, until the internal temperature reaches 175 to 180 degrees on an instant-read meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh, but not touching the bone. Using tongs, with a spatula under the can, carefully transfer the chicken to a platter or cutting board, and wait 5 to 10 minutes before cutting up the bird. Use tongs to lift the chicken off the can, taking care not to spill the hot beer or burn yourself.

Dry rub

Mix together all ingredients. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 1 cup.