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Chicken School

How to Make Beer Can Chicken

We show you how to use indirect grilling to create a succulent, beer-steamed chicken.

Beer can chicken gained popularity a few years back and with good reason. It creates a juicy, tender chicken that doesn’t require much tending to. By placing a half empty can of beer in the cavity of the chicken, and standing it upright to cook, allows the beer to essentially steam the inside of the chicken creating succulent meat, while the outside remains crispy and delicious.

Purists will tell you only beer will do, but we think non-alcoholic versions, such as apple juice, lemonade, chicken stock and even non-alcoholic beer, work just as well. Pour 1 ¼ cup (300 mL) of whatever liquid you choose into an empty soft drink or beer can.

It’s a good idea to marinate your chicken for at least 2 hours, if not overnight before you BBQ it. Try one our marinades below or use your own BBQ sauce. Once the chicken is ready for the grill, open a can of beer and get rid of half the liquid (we suggest drinking it!). Lower the chicken over the can. Here’s the important part–turn only one burner on to medium and when heated, place your chicken on the unlit burner. This will allow the chicken to roast without being over direct heat, which can dry out the meat. After 45 minutes turn the chicken 180º to ensure the chicken cooks evenly. Cook for 45 minutes more, or until the internal temperature reaches 180°F (82°C). Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before serving. While it rests grill up some corn and onion halves to serve with the chicken.