Beer-Can Chicken

While controversial, this method will still deliver a juicy, smoky bird
50 Ratings
100% would make again
Beer Can Chicken
Photo: Dave Katz/Tasting Table 

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."

Beer-Can Chicken

Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus chilling time

Cook Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 35 minutes, plus chilling time


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.

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