If you’re looking for something that all your backyard cookout guests will love, you need to make this crowd pleaser, Beer Can Chicken. To watch some tips of how to do it great, you can watch this video of the Pit Boss himself, owner of Barbecue at Home, Roland Dickey Jr with Chef Phil. Beer Can Chicken became popular in the late 90s and it’s pretty much just making chicken on the grill with a can of beer inserted into the cavity. Seasoning and preferred beer might have changed over the years or with each pit boss, but one thing is sure, people go crazy for this chicken.
Some people like to have beer can chicken on a gas grill while others try the more traditional beer can chicken on a charcoal grill, but it’s pretty much user’s preference in choice. The original origins of making chicken this way is unknown. Maybe it came from a genius culinary mind or maybe someone just forgot to get a grill stand one day and popped a can out of their cooler in the back yard. Either way it came about, backyard pit bosses can agree that this is a winning recipe for any cookout.
What Do You Need For Beer Can Chicken?
For starters, you’ll want to get a whole chicken and a can of beer. To season the chicken, it doesn’t take a whole lot. You can season the skin of the bird with whatever spices you enjoy. For us, our go-to beer can chicken rub that is easy and delicious is the classic Dickey’s Barbecue poultry seasoning blend. It has turmeric, sage, thyme, oregano, and chili powder. You can coat the entire bird with a heavy layer of this seasoning and call it good to go to the grill.
Now, you’re probably wondering what beer to use. To be honest, the best beer to use is a light beer you’re willing to take a couple of sips of. Some people think that the best beer for beer can chicken is lager. Something pretty much middle of the road, not overly hoppy or too bitter. Simply put though, just pick a light beer that isn’t junk, but it also doesn’t need to be a fancy beer either. Pro Tip: pick a beer you don’t mind taking a few sips from so that you can make room for additional seasoning. Chef Phil likes to take a few gulps to make room for spices to add flavor like: Rosemary, Thyme, Garlic Cloves, etc. Put these spices directly into the beer prior to putting the can into the cavity of the already seasoned chicken.
Now that you have your can of beer ready with your spices and your chicken is all seasoned up and ready for the grill, insert the can into the cavity, standing up. Worth noting, as it turns out, the beer doesn’t actually help the chicken become juicer because of magic beer vapors coming up from within and penetrating the meat with flavor. The beer provides a steam source which carries the spice flavors up into the cavity to give it a depth of flavor, for sure. But the real reason this helps a chicken to roast in such a delicious way is that it brings the legs closer to the heat source than the top of the chicken. This allows for the breasts to cook more gently and reduced moisture loss.
Pro Tip #2: Spritz your chicken!
Chef Phil recommends using a spritz solution of water, vinegar, and some whiskey. Spritz your chicken every 30 minutes or so for a perfect cook and cook your chicken to an internal temp of 165 degrees. The 2 primary areas you need to ensure is at 165 are the breasts and thighs. Heat your grill to 225 degrees and you’re good to get started!
You can enjoy your smoked beer can chicken with a bunch of sides but make sure that your chicken is the main event! Take your chicken off the grill whole and bring it over to the cutting board. Don’t slice until everyone has seen your delicious looking bird! Don’t forget to share the fun! Follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Tiktok, and YouTube and share your best beer can chicken photo with us! Follow for more fun recipes and how to videos.