Perfect Roast Chicken On The Grill

August 16, 2012   24 Comments

Snack Girl rarely reveals her “foodie” side here on the site. Yes, folks, I read cookbooks, cooking magazines, and can converse about morels if pushed.

Beer Can Chicken Recipe

There is part of me that loves to make gourmet food, though I rarely get the time or money to execute my desires. One of the foods that I continue to rework is roast chicken.

Why? Roast chicken is that perfect combination of gourmet and easy. All you have to do is figure out the best way to cook the chicken so that the breast meat doesn’t dry out before the darker meat is done cooking.

I have employed a variety of methods to get my chicken into the roast chicken Hall of Fame. Now, I have a new summer method that I should have featured back in June when summer was starting.

The recipe for “Beer Can Chicken” starts with one of my favorite lines EVER in a recipe:

Open a beer can and take several gulps.

Now, that is my kind of recipe! Actually, you don’t have to use a beer can. I hear that a can of club soda will work just as well.

The idea here is that you are steaming the chicken with the beer and it is standing up on your grill. The steam keeps the white meat moist and your chicken cooks perfectly while you sit by your pool. In my case, that would be a plastic kiddie pool.

You use indirect heat to cook the chicken which means that you don’t want to have a flame directly under it. I have a propane grill with three burners. I turned off the one in the center, put my chicken in the middle of the grill, and left the two side burners on medium low for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

It worked so well that I had to write about it. It was moist, flavorful, and so great that my daughter (who doesn’t like chicken) gave it a thumbs up. Wow!

The white dots you see on the chicken are kosher salt granules. I find that coarse salt is a perfect flavoring agent. You can find kosher salt next to the fine salt in the baking aisle.

Obviously, the calorie amount for the chicken is going to vary quite a bit depending on whether you eat the skin, the dark meat, and the amount you consume. I say try to keep it to four ounces and savor every bite.

Have you tried to roast chicken on the grill?

Beer Can Chicken Recipe

1.6 from 24 reviews

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1 3-4 pound chicken
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 can beer or club soda (seltzer water)


Remove neck and giblets and discard. Rinse chicken inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Rub chicken with oil and then rub with salt and pepper.

Heat your grill for 10 minutes on high heat. Set up an area for your chicken that is not over the flames.

Drink or pour out ½ can of beer or club soda. Shove the can up the cavity of the bird so that the legs are pointing down and the breast is up. Place bird on grill and stand it up in the center of the grate, balancing the bird on its legs and can (like a tripod).

Cover the grill, lower the heat to medium-high, and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes until the breast meat’s temperature registers 165 F or until thigh juices run clear when stabbed with a sharp knife.

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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What if your grill does not have a cover? I have an outdoor Jen-Air style-no cover, just a hood for sucking up the air, heat, etc. Can I try this out there and vary the cooking temperature or time?

I love beer can chicken but can no longer have it since I have celiac (and therefore can't have beer). Thanks for the tip on the club soda. Now I can start enjoying this once again!

@Candace - I don't think this would work without a cover. You need the grill to create an "oven like" atmosphere for the chicken to cook through. Sorry about that. Great question!

I do this a lot, it is fantastic! I found a can holder made just for this at a local hardware store and it helps keep it balanced. Spray the outside of the can with olive oil, it makes it so much easier to get the bird off! My favorite is to season it with jerk spice!

do you think could you do this in the oven?

Love tried and true recipes, but wouldn't use one that relied on heating a can inside the food because of BPA concerns:

Keep the good recipes coming though!

@Cathy--- My mother has celiac and there are some really good GF beers out there that would probably work well in this recipe. I can't remember the one that my brother usually buys for my mom, but I think it's called Red Bridge (or something like that). If you can't buy it in a can, buy it in a bottle and pour it into an empty can.

I have seen this recipe before & always wanted to try it - thanks for the reminder!

Actually, I was wondering the same thing Kim was -- any reason this wouldn't work in an oven?

Was thinking the same thing about cans and BPA's - wonder if you could put club soda in a canning jar and do the same? Or if you'd have to worry about the jar breaking due to the heat.

I found an article about the risk of BPA in aluminum cans here:… and it indicates the risk is low of any health risk.

Yes, you can do this in an oven - you need to roast at 350 F and make sure you have a tall enough oven to pull it off.

I just made this the other day except I skinned the bird and rubbed a mixture of spices all over it and then cooked it in my oven. My mom had just bought me a contraption for holding the bird upright over the can so it doesn't tip. Anyways, it was DELICIOUS! I wasnt' sure how it would taste with taking the skin off but it was great!

hi lisa ,havent tried this yet but i have the new wave oven .it is the best appliance i have makes the best chicken ,or pork roast ,anyting comes out picture perfect and del/ .great to reheat food way better then the micro,and taste like fresh cooked best investment.tks for all your great recipes .

I make this all the time in my oven.

I use a roasting hen, 4-5 lbs.

I remove one of the shelves from the oven so there's enough room for the chicken.

Slice a lemon thinly and slip the slices under the skin; add rosemary, too. Use the end of the lemon to pluck up the neck opening at the top. Put more rosemary into the can of beer. Also, thickly slice an onion and put under chicken in pan in the juices after its been cooking a bit.

I roast it about 1 hr 45 min. Baste the skin as often as you like. Or not.

When its done I eat a coupla bites of the crispy skin, then must toss it (more than that & I'll get an upset tummy!).


I saw a can shaped device in a cooking store designed to avoid concerns about the can. The cook can add a beverage and spices to taste.

My son in law cooks this quite often. It is also good cooked with plain root beer, for diabetics, you can use diet root beer. I don't like anything cooked with beer, wine or any other alcohol. I'm not above having an alcoholic drink, just don't like foods cooked with it. I season it with grilled chicken seasoning on the outside and drop a couple of teaspoons inside the can of root beer. Scrumptious!

I've done it with a sprite or 7 up and added some seasoning in the soda so it evaporates slowly and seasons it from the inside out. You can do this with a BUNDT CAKE PAN, too, if you wanna do it without the can to worry about. Just put your liquid in the bottom of the pan and it keeps the chicken upright and catches any drippings. Woo hoo! Be sure to cover the hole in the pan so stuff doesn't drip thru the hole, of course, or put it on a cookie sheet or something.

This sounds so awesome. Fantastic recipe. Loved the 'Gulping' part to get started. ;)

Angie great idea about the bundt pan. Thanks.

Love the beer can in a butt recipe - My hubbys only way to cook it now!

Great timing on this article. Someone passed a Pampered Chef catalog at work and they sell a grilling pan with a movable can. It seemed pretty expensive and I wasn't sure what exactly was the point.

My family used to make this a lot, but we call it "beer in the rear chicken"! They have setups for cooking chicken like this, like holders, you might even be able to find one at Walmart! And we also used to always make it in the oven, not the grill. It will work in the oven, although you might have to remove the other rack to fit it in! Just google the recipe, since times will vary in the oven.

Angela and I share the same concern with using a BPA can. Is there an alternative (moisturizing effect) out there?


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