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5 Reasons You Want to Make Beer-Can Chicken

May 28, 2014

Alessandra Bulow, photo by Peden + Munk

If this propped-up poultry looks familiar, that means you already know about the glory that is Beer-Can Chicken. If you’ve haven’t tried it yet, then this is your moment. Trust us.

Here, five reasons to make beer-can chicken:

1. The Recipe Requires You to Drink Beer - Only half a can of beer is needed per bird, so the other half has to go somewhere, right?

2. Crazy Crispy Skin - Since every part of the bird is exposed to the heat equally, its skin gets a uniform crackly crust. Another bonus: its beautiful burnished mahogany glow.

3. Ultra Juicy Meat - As the open beer gets hot, it releases steam that flavors the chicken and helps keep it super moist.

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4. No-Stress - There’s no flipping involved at all with this bird. You can set it and forget it for about 45 to 60 minutes, until the thigh temperature is 165°F.

5. It looks awesome - Having one of these bad boys on your grill will impress your guests. Beer-Can Chicken is also known as Chicken on a Throne—and cooking one may make a novice look like grilling royalty.

There’s quite a bit of lore surrounding beer-can chicken, and for good reason. Just look at that burnished mahogany bird. The steam from the brew flavors the meat and keeps it moist. The can props the chicken up, so it roasts evenly—no scorching, no flipping, no stressing. And you get to drink some beer. We’re believers.


  • 1 can light lager
  • 1 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken
  • 2 tablespoons 4-3-2-1 Spice Rub
  • Special equipment:A foil baking pan (for drip pan)

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Pour out (or drink) half of beer.

Prepare grill for high, indirect heat and fit with grill pan (for a charcoal grill, bank coals on 1 side of grill and put drip pan on empty side; for a gas grill, leave 1 burner turned off and place drip pan over unlit burner). Add water to pan to a depth of 1/2”.

Season chicken with 4-3-2-1 Spice Rub. Place cavity of chicken, legs pointing down, onto open can so that it supports chicken upright. Place can, with chicken, on grill over indirect heat (and above drip pan). Grill chicken, covered, until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh registers 165°F, 45-60 minutes. (If using charcoal, you may need to add more to maintain heat.) Let chicken rest 10 minutes before carving. Serve with pan drippings.

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