Tips For Mastering the Beer Can Chicken

How to Cook A Beer Can Chicken On The Grill


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

Serves 4
Prep Time
10 min.
Grilling Time
1:15 to 1:30 h

the Ingredients

  • whole chicken, 1.8 to 2.3 kilograms
  • 45 grams kosher salt


  • granulated onion
  • granulated garlic
  • prepared chili powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • can (360 millilitres) lager or other beer, at room temperature


  • 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 (180°C to 230°C).
  • 06 Depending on which poultry roaster you use, either pour out half the beer and place the can in the poultry roaster and plunk the chicken on top of it. Or pour half the beer into the centre cup if your poultry roaster has such, plunk the chicken over the cup so it sits firmly.
  • 07 Drain and add the wood chips to the charcoal or to the smoker box of a gas grill, following the manufacturer’s instructions, and close the lid. When the wood begins to smoke, transfer chicken on the poultry roaster to the grill. Grill over indirect medium heat, with the lid closed, until the juices run clear and the internal temperature registers 70°C to 74°C in the thickest part of the thigh (not touching the bone), 1¼ to 1½ hours.
  • 08 Wearing insulated barbecue mitts, remove the poultry roaster from the grill and transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes (the internal temperature will rise a few degrees during this time.) Carefully lift the chicken off the poultry roaster, preventing 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.