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BBQ Beer Can Chicken


Beer Can Chicken (or as my kids called it, Beer Butt Chicken)is a super easy summer-time recipe. Give the chicken a rub, stick it on a can of beer and let the barbeque do the rest of the work! The Basic Barbeque Rub was adapted from the book How to Grill by Steven Raichlen.

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  • 1 whole chicken, 3-5 pounds
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 can beer
  • 3 Tbsp. basic barbeque rub (recipe follows)


Preparation time 10mins
Cooking time 120mins
Adapted from


Step 1

To make the rub, combine:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sweet paprika
1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
2 Tbsp. black pepper
4 Tbsp. course salt
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. celery seeds
2 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
Place the above ingredients into an airtight container; it will keep for 6 months.

For the chicken:
Pour about 1/2 of the beer out into a glass. Put the can with the remaining beer into a roasting stand or onto a pie plate. Wash, dry and then rub the chicken with a little olive oil. Holding the chicken over the sink, generously spoon some dry rub onto the bird and rub it in a bit. Spoon some into the cavity as well. (I put a little of the rub into my beer can too). Set the bird over the beer can and tuck the legs into the drip tray or, if you are using a pie plate, place the legs straight down (so they act like 2 legs of a tripod to support the bird). Tuck the wing tips behind the chicken's back.

Cook over indirect heat (if your grill has 2 burners, preheat one side only to about medium heat (350 degrees or thereabouts) and place the chicken on the unlit side. If your grill has 3 or 4 burners, preheat the left and right burners and cook the chicken in the center, over the unlit burner(s)). Cover the grill and cook the chicken until it is dark brown and crispy on the outside, and the internal temperature of the thigh reads about 180 degrees. This will take about 1 1/2 hours or so, depending on the size of your bird, but start checking for doneness after about 1 1/4 hours.

When the chicken is done, use a set of tongs to transfer it (can and all) upright to a platter and let it sit for about 10 minutes to let things settle. Carefully remove the chicken from the can by using your tongs and lifting it straight up off the can. You can now lie the chicken down and carve it up any way you like...enjoy! For detailed instructions and photos, visit my blog at


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