Recipe: Beer-Can Chicken On A Grill

While controversial, this method will still deliver a juicy, smoky bird

Our version of beer-can chicken makes things a little more interesting in the form of a za'atar spice rub. Use whatever beer you like-or play around with different sodas or beer. Just make sure to drink or pour half of it out before you stuff that bird.

To learn more, read "What? Chicken Butt."

Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Beer-Can Chicken
4.5 from 52 ratings
Get our recipe for beer-can chicken on a grill.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
  • For the Spice Rub
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon za'atar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • For the Chicken
  • One 3½- to 4-pound chicken, patted dry
  • 1 can light beer, half empty
  1. Make the spice rub: In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients; makes about ¾ cup.
  2. Sprinkle the chicken with the rub and place it on a plate or baking sheet. Chill in the fridge, uncovered, for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
  3. Remove the chicken from the fridge 1 hour before cooking, to remove the chill.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare a charcoal or gas grill for indirect hot cooking. For a charcoal grill, place half the coals on one side and place a drip pan filled with ½ inch of water on the other side.
  5. Place the beer can on a work surface and slide the chicken around it so that the can is inside its cavity, holding on to the legs to make sure the chicken stays upright. Transfer the chicken, still upright, to the cool side of the grill. Cover and cook it until cooked through and the skin is nicely charred, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 165° when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  6. Transfer the chicken to a work surface, remove the can and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving.
Calories per Serving 694
Total Fat 44.4 g
Saturated Fat 12.6 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 216.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 10.6 g
Dietary Fiber 1.6 g
Total Sugars 4.9 g
Sodium 1,226.6 mg
Protein 55.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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