Beer Can Chicken

Finished Beer Can Chicken

Grill + meat + beer = highly skeptical Hippie. I don’t get excited about any of those things. But the Hippie Husband wanted to give this a shot, so he combined a bunch of people’s recipes and made this. And it was so good! This is a wonderful one-pot dish that is prepared entirely on the grill, so it doesn’t heat up the house during the summer.

When served with a salad and all of the great veggies that are cooked alongside the chicken, this dish created plenty of leftovers for use in another meal. I will post one of our new leftover favorites next week (Chicken Tinga Tostadas – stay tuned!).

There’s a bit of prep work involved. You will need to brine the chicken, chop the veggies, and do a spice rub. You will also need to remove half of the beer from the can. I’m sure you can come up with an efficient way to make that happen. In all, you are looking about about 2.5 hours of prep/cook time (over an hour of this is sitting on the patio with a good book or your work laptop while the chicken cooks on the grill) and an overnight brining session. All of the steps are pretty simple, and they are easily managed if you plan ahead (they are even more easily managed if HH does all of the work. Advantage: Me). HH prepares the brine and the spice rub the night before he makes this, brines the chicken overnight, and does the vegetable prep during his lunch break the following day. One easy time-saver is to make a lot of the dry rub at once and store it in an airtight container so that you don’t have to assemble the rub every time you make this dish.

The "before" shot - how the chicken looked as we put it on the grill.

The “before” shot – how the chicken looked as we put it on the grill.

Brine Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon warm water
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Dry rub ingredients:

  • 1.5 Tablespoons non-iodized salt
  • 1/2 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1.5 teaspoons black pepper

Other ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, sans neck, giblets, and other innards.
  • 1/2 can of beer (we used “Old Chub,” by Oskar Blues. It was just about perfect)
  • Dry spice rub (see recipe above)
  • 2 pounds of red potatoes
  • 1 pound carrots
  • 4-6 whole garlic cloves
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. The night before cooking (or at least 6 hours before), prepare the brine. Pour the water into a 2-gallon container (we use a large stockpot for this). Add the salt, sugar, soy sauce and olive oil, stirring until the sugar and salt have completely dissolved. Allow the mix to cool to room temperature. Submerge your chicken in the brine, cover the pot, and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.
  2. Sometime during the day that you will be cooking the chicken, prep the veggies. Wash and cut the potatoes and carrots into medium-sized chunks. Toss the carrots, potatoes and garlic cloves in a little bit of olive oil, a pinch of kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. This is a good time to make your dry rub, too – just mix the spices and salt in a bowl. Heat the side burners of the grill, leaving the middle burner off. Use whatever setting you need to bring the grill temperature to about 375°.
  3. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry. Rub inside and out with the dry spice rub.
  4. Set the beer can in a foil roasting pan on a solid surface. Holding the chicken by its legs, set the bird cavity over the can. Its legs will rest on the bottom of the pan.
  5. Dump the vegetables into the roasting pan around the chicken.
  6. Carefully transfer the roasting pan to the grill. Place it over the middle burner (the one that is turned off). Roast until the juices run clear or a meat thermometer reads 165° in the breast and 180° in the thigh. This takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  7. Remove roasting pan from the grill. Let chicken rest on a cutting board. Carve and serve with the roasted vegetables.



3 thoughts on “Beer Can Chicken

    • We’re in the same boat. Hope you have dry enough weather to try this soon. Thanks for visiting!

  1. Pingback: If You Enjoyed “The Tyranny of the Home-Cooked Meal” | The Reluctant Hippie

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