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How to Grill a Beer Can Chicken like a Pro

Tips For Mastering the Beer Can Chicken

There are a lot of different ways to grill a chicken and I mean, a lot. Since I tend to grill a lot of chickens, it is nice to have choices. When my decision-making process comes around, and I feel myself wanting to make presentation key, I look no further than beer can chicken. It’s a fun grilling process, and it always makes my guests say, “Wow!”

With friends or family new to grilling, the beer can chicken is an easy go-to because it’s not something you see come out of the oven. Vertical roasting is better suited for the grill. Of course in my book, everything is better suited for the grill, but I digress.

While you can use a beer can to vertically roast a chicken, I find it much easier and foolproof to use the Weber Deluxe Poultry Roaster. First, the liquid reservoir holds only a few ounces of beer, leaving plenty behind in my can or bottle to still drink. Second, the roaster is more stable than the solitary chicken sitting on a can using its legs for support. And by stable, I do not mean just on the grill, but the trips to and from it. Your guests want to see a majestic chicken, not the host covered in hot beer and dinner sprawled out on the ground.

Finally, the roaster bottom allows the addition of vegetables and potatoes to the cook. Everything tastes better when covered in rendered fat from a grilled chicken. The roaster makes it all too easy.

Hopefully, by now I’ve convinced you to give it a shot. We’ve got the perfect recipe from Jamie Purviance to bring it all together.

Recipe from Weber's Way to Grill™ by Jamie Purviance

Smoked Beer Can Chicken

People
Serves 4
Prep Time
10 mins
Grilling Time
1:15 to 1:30 h

the Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken, 4 to 5 pounds
  • ¼ cup kosher salt

Rub

  • 2 teaspoons granulated onion
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon prepared chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 
  • 1 can (12 fluid ounces) lager or other beer, at room temperature

Instructions

  • 01 Remove and discard the neck, giblets, and any excess fat from the chicken. Sprinkle the salt over the entire surface and inside the cavity of the chicken, covering it all like a light blanket of snow. Cover the chicken with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1½ to 2 hours.
  • 02 Soak the wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes.
  • 03 In a small bowl mix the rub ingredients.
  • 04 Rinse the chicken inside and outside with cold water. Gently pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season the chicken all over with the rub. Fold the wing tips behind the chicken’s back.
  • 05 Prepare the grill for indirect cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F).
  • 06 Open the beer can and pour out about half the beer. Using a church key–style can opener, make two more holes in the top of the can. Place the beer can on a solid surface. Plunk the chicken cavity over the beer can.
  • 07 Drain and add the wood chips to the charcoal or to the smoker box of a gas grill, following manufacturer’s instructions, and close the lid. When the wood begins to smoke, transfer the bird-on-a-can to the grill, balancing the bird on its two legs and the can, like a tripod. Grill over indirect medium heat, with the lid closed, until the juices run clear and the internal temperature registers 160° to 165°F in the thickest part of the thigh (not touching the bone), 1¼ to 1½ hours.
  • 08 Using tongs, grasp the bird and slide a sturdy, wide spatula under the beer can. Carefully transfer it in an upright position to a platter and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes (the internal temperature will rise a few degrees during this time). Using tongs to hold the chicken and paper towels to hold the can, give the chicken a little twist to loosen the can before trying to remove it. Carefully lift the chicken off the beer can, keeping the can upright to prevent the hot beer from spilling (the beer will be very hot). Discard the beer. Cut the chicken into serving pieces as desired. Serve warm.

Your Must Have Tools

1. Deluxe Poultry Roaster
The Deluxe Poultry Roaster holds liquid that fills your poultry with flavor and has a cap to lock in the steam, capturing juices for basting. 

2. iGrill
Know the internal temperature of your chicken at all times with the iGrill app-connected thermometer. 

3. Hickory Chips
This recipe calls for a little smoke flavor and hickory is perfect! 

Add a Smoker Box to any gas grill to turn your grill into a smoker. Soak the chips for 30 minutes in water and then add them to the box. Get more tips on smoking on your gas grill here

4. Tongs
Remove the chicken or even rearrange charcoal with the greatest of ease with these tongs.