Beer Can Chicken
The new classic of roasted chicken using indirect grilling and a can of beer.
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 can of beer, preferably at room temperature
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of the spice rub of your choice
- Preheat the oven to 400º.
- Open the can of beer and pour half of it out (or drink half).
- Using a can opener, remove the entire top of the can, so it’s open like a glass.
- Place two tbsp of the spice rub into the beer and stir a little.
- Set up the can on your indirect grilling stand.
- Using the olive oil, rub the oil all over the chicken. Use your hands to get into all the outer areas, under the wings, between the folds of the legs. Make sure the chicken is fully coated with oil.
- Rub the chicken with the remaining spice rub.
- Place the chicken on the stand in the sitting position it will end up in, can up it’s opening.
- Wait 10 minutes to let the rub work its way into the chicken a bit, then place it in the oven. It’s good to use a baking dish or cookie sheet underneath to catch any mess.
- Cook the chicken for 15-20 minutes at 400º, then lower the heat to 350º.
- Continue cooking the chicken at 350º for two hours, or until it’s done.
- Pull the chicken out of the oven and allow it to rest for 10-20 minutes before carving.
I’d advise not using ice cold beer. I know it tastes good to drink, but in this recipe we want the beer to get heated and bubbling so it creates steam inside the chicken. Opening the top of the can is to make sure plenty of steam gets into the meat.
The oil serves two purposes. First it will make the chicken moist and golden as opposed to cooked and dry. Second, it helps hold the spices onto the bird.
When applying the rub, be sure to rub firmly, as you want the spices to get into the meat and flavor it. Rubbing lightly or coating the chicken will flavor the skin, but not the meat. I usually like to get some inside the chicken as well.
Use a meat thermometer when checking to see if the chicken is done. Stab it into the breast and get it deep in there. I highly advise cooking the chicken for at least 1 1/2 hours after you turn the heat down. In my kitchen, two hours brings me a a perfect bird. It might be different for you.
I mentioned before, you can variate this to your heart’s content. I originally used my barbeque spice rub, but then later tried doing things more “Slovak” style with just Vegeta, paprika, and black pepper. I’ve even taken a whole chicken and marinated it using the recipe I have for Greek style chicken. One of these days I might try a more Mexican flavor or Asian flavor.
The liquid you use is also open to variation. Many say to use a light-colored beer, but I’ve tried this with darks, lights, stouts, ales, etc. Even a beer as thick as Guinness worked quite well. You can use wine instead of the beer, or even stock. Some tried water, but I think it defeats the purpose. When I did it Greek style, I simply poured some of the marinade into the can. Worked wonderfully.