Cooking chicken over a beer can in a BBQ has become popular since the introduction of ingeniously designed upright roasters. Even those with little barbecuing skill can grill a delicious and visually appealing chicken with minimum effort.

How the Beer Can Roaster Works

The stainless steel base holds sauces or marinades and also catches the chicken’s juices. The supports are also stainless steel and hold the chicken in an upright position, ensuring that the chicken does not stew in its own juices.

Although a real beer can be slipped inside the chicken, a glass container suitable for oven use can be substituted.

Cook a Whole Chicken on the Grill With a Can of Beer Inside

Looking for a versatile, fun, delicious way to grill a whole chicken? Beer Can Chicken is all of this and more. Also called Drunk Chicken and Beer Butt Chicken, this is a recipe that will become a conversation piece and steal the show at any barbecue or cookout.

The chicken itself looks awfully funny propped up on a can of beer, but the idea behind the method is actually very practical. The beer adds taste and moisture to the meat so it won’t dry out, and the skin ends up very crispy.

The basic instructions for cooking Beer Can Chicken are very simple, but the recipe can easily be altered to give a different flavor.

Different types of beer, for example, will yield subtle variations in taste. Try anything from a light beer to a flavourful red to a dark and strong ale.

Adding spices and other enhancers to the beer also kicks up the taste of the finished chicken. Try adding garlic cloves, diced chilies, onion, a few drops of liquid smoke, fresh or dried herbs, hot sauces, or other spices to the beer before placing the chicken on top.

Finally, using a spice rub on the chicken before grilling contributes to the overall taste experience. Use your favorite pre-made, packaged spice rub, or make one from scratch using a combination of spices, salt, and sugar.

It’s a good idea to use similar spices in the rub as the ones used in the beer for a uniform flavor throughout.

There are all kinds of gadgets and devices on the market now to make beer can chicken even easier. The trickiest part of the process is keeping the chicken upright on the grill rather than having it tip over.

Standing it up and using its legs as support usually works, but there are beer-can chicken stands available to ensure success. If grilling isn’t an option, this recipe can be cooked in the oven as well.

Beer Can Chicken: The Original Recipe

  • 1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds in weight
  • 1 can beer (12 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons spice rub for chicken
  • garlic, onion, spices, or other additions to add to the beer (optional)


  • Preheat the grill for cooking indirectly on medium heat.
  • Remove the bag of giblets from the inside of the chicken, if there is one. Rinse the chicken, inside and out, with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
  • Drink or pour out half of the beer in the can. Using a can opener, remove the entire top of the can. Add the onion, garlic, spices, herbs, or other additions if using. Set aside.
  • Rub the outside of the chicken with the oil, followed by the spice rub. Using your hands, massage the oil and rub it into the skin of the chicken to coat it completely. Holding the chicken upright, place the bird over the beer can, inserting the can into the cavity of the chicken.
  • Place the chicken and beer can directly on the grill, using the legs to anchor it all in place. Grill the chicken over medium, indirect heat until cooked through and juices run clear; about one and a half hours. The chicken should reach an internal temperature of about 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Remove chicken and beer can go from the grill. Allow standing, covered in foil, for 10 minutes before serving. Remove the chicken from the can before slicing, but be careful – the can and its contents will be very hot.

Makes about 4 servings.

Jamaican Jerk Beer Can Chicken Barbecue Marinade

This BBQ recipe produces a crisp, spicy taste. The ingredients can be used as a rub, but the flavor improves when marinated.

Use caution when handling as the jerk seasoning contains hot peppers.


  • 1 2-4 lb whole chicken
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. Jamaican jerk spices
  • 2 Tbsp. sherry or sherry peppers sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1 can Red Stripe Jamaican Beer


  1. Mix 2 Tbsp. Jerk seasoning with lime juice and sherry.
  2. marinate chicken in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight
  3. follow directions for Original Beer Can Chicken as above, omitting step 4

Jamaican Jerk Menu

Serve Jamaican Jerk Red Stripe Chicken with black-eyed peas and rice and coleslaw salad.

French Beer Can Chicken (or Poulet Provencal) BBQ Rub

French Herbs de Provence can be bought already blended and can include thyme, rosemary, savory, and basil. This recipe creates a classic French roast chicken flavor.


  • 1 2-4 pounds whole chicken
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. French herbs de Provence
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1 can Kronenbourg or other French Beer


  1. Follow directions for Original Beer Can Chicken as above

Provencal Menu

Serve French chicken with a side of oven-baked fries, tarragon green beans, and crusty bread.

Beer Can BBQ Chicken Moroccan Style Rub

It may be difficult to find Moroccan beer, so choose any favorite brew for this recipe. These spices are used in traditional Moroccan cooking and create a deliciously fragrant and tasty bird.


  • 1 2-4 lb whole chicken
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 beer of choice


  1. Mix spices, lemon juice, and olive oil into a paste
  2. Rub over the outside of the chicken
  3. Follow the directions for the original beer can chicken as above.

Moroccan Chicken Menu

Serve Moroccan Chicken with apricot couscous and tomato and cucumber salad.

New Beer Can Chicken BBQ Recipes

Almost anyone with imagination will be able to produce their own version of international beer can chicken after trying the recipes listed here. The secret is to use authentic flavors and to serve the chicken with the appropriate side dishes.