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  • Writer's pictureBobbi Jo Lathan

Beer Can Grilled Chicken

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

Ain’t nuthin’ tastier for all your hungry summertime guests than some spicy Grilled Beer Can Chicken! So, pop open that beer, drink half of it down, and plop that whole chicken on top of that half-full beer, and let’s get to grillin’! Yum!

Beer Can Grilled Chicken

Recipe by: Bobbi Jo Lathan

Recipe type: Entree

Cuisine: American


15 mins


1 hour 15 mins


1 hour 30 mins


1- 3 ½ or 4-pound whole chicken

1- 16-ounce can Budweiser or Coors beer

1 navel orange

Vegetable oil

For Chicken Rub:

3 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

3 tablespoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons Mexican oregano

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon ground ancho chili pepper


  1. Wash your chicken and pat it dry, inside and out. Gently work your fingers under the skin of the chicken to separate it from the meat. This way, we can sprinkle some of the rub there also. Be gentle and try not to tear the skin.

  2. Open the beer and drink half of the beer. Now, you’re feeling ready to mix the rub.

  3. Get out a small bowl and mix together all the ingredients for the rub.

  4. Rub the chicken with some vegetable oil. Then season the chicken by sprinkling the rub inside both cavities, neck and bottom, and then gently lifting up the skin, sprinkle the rub under the skin, also.

  5. Cut your orange in half and then quarter. Take one of the orange quarters and gently insert the orange quarter from the bottom of the cavity of the chicken up towards the neck. This way we will block or plug up the neck cavity, which will allow the chicken to steam better and keep its juices inside its meat.

  6. If you like, you can squeeze the juices from half of the orange into the open beer can which will give a nice flavor to the meat. Now, place the beer can in a grill pan, and then place the seasoned chicken on top of the beer can, legs pointing down, and slide it down over the can of beer. (You can tuck the wings around the back to avoid burning the bony part of the wing.)

  7. Turn your gas grill on low, to about 300ᵒ. Once the grill is hot, place the grill pan with the beer can chicken onto the grill. Fill the pan ½ the way up with water. Close the lid and let the chicken cook for 30-40 minutes on low.

  8. Then, open the grill top and move the beer can chicken in the tray over the right burner. Turn the right-hand side burner off and turn the other middle and left-hand burners up to medium, or 350ᵒ. Lower the lid again and let the chicken cook for another 45-50 minutes. Keep checking the chicken as everyone’s gas grill cooks differently. Some cook hotter than others. You’ll want to cook the chicken until the instant thermometer needle place in the fattest or thickest part of the thigh reads 165ᵒ or 170ᵒ. Then, it is done.

  9. When done, remove the chicken from the grill and take the chicken off the beer can and let it rest on your cutting board for 10 minutes before cutting. You can squeeze the leftover orange quarters over the chicken for a nice flavor and sheen as it is resting. When 10 minutes has passed, cut your chicken and serve that tasty succulent beer can chicken up to all your hungry guests!


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