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While making Beer Can Chicken on a beautiful Sunday afternoon I wondered to myself who the fellow was that first decided to stick a can of beer in a chicken’s butt and grill it.  Whatever craziness lead to that discovery was certainly worth it.  This makes the most delicious and moist grilled chicken.  It is also one of those wonderful dinners that is easy to put together but takes a long time to slow cook so it is perfect for lazy summer afternoons.

A whole chicken, a can of beer, butter, and herbs is all you will need to make this great grilled chicken.

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I season the chicken two ways with the same herb blend.  First open a can of beer and drink half of it.  The other half beer stays in can and into that I put 4 tablespoons diced butter, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon paprika, and a 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.  I give that a little swirl to combine and then poke extra holes in the top of beer so it can steam into the chicken.

beer can chicken-2

The rinsed and dried 4.5 lb chicken is then stood up on the can.  I have made this chicken probably 10 times over the last 3-4 years and it wasn’t until I wrote the recipe down and photographed it I realized I should season the outside of the chicken before I stand it up (it is way easier).

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The exterior of the chicken get rubbed with 2 tablespoons softened butter and I lift skin and slide extra under it.  Then I sprinkle more garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper and some of my garden herb blend over the chicken- again do this before you stand it up on can (learned the hard way).

I use a small sheet pan and cover it in tin foil to prevent ruining on the grill.  Now it is time to get outside to the grill.

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My grill has 3 zones.  I will cooked over indirect heat so I will fire the burners on the far right to medium heat and place the pan with Beer Can Chicken on the left side.  I have cooked this using direct heat but I turn the burner to low instead.

The grill cover goes down and the Beer Can Chicken will slow cook for 2 hours.  At the 1 hour point I rotate pan so the chicken cooks evenly on both sides.

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I use a meat thermometer to check the chicken.  I am looking to hit 170 degrees in a few different places to know it is done.  2 hours was the perfect time for my 4.5 lb bird, my grill thermometer showed about 350 degrees for the majority of the time.  I take the chicken off the beer can and allow to rest for a few minutes before cutting up and serving.

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We enjoyed this after a long day of garden projects and maniac chasing.  It was our first outdoor meal of 2015.  We had Purple Potato Salad to go along with it and the kids loved it especially Norah.

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Beer Can Chicken
Cuisine: Dinner
Author: Blogging with Apples
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 10 mins
Serves: 8
  • 4 1/2 lb whole chicken, rinsed patted dry
  • 1 12oz can of beer, half of beer removed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon herb blend
  • 6 tablespoons butter divided
  1. Preheat one side of grill to medium heat.
  2. Line a small sheet pan with tin foil.
  3. Rub 2 tablespoons softened butter over chicken and under skin.
  4. Sprinkle exterior of chicken with 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and herb blend.
  5. Into half full beer can place 4 tablespoons diced butter, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
  6. Poke extra vent holes in top of beer can the place on baking sheet.
  7. Stand chicken on beer can by inserting cavity over can.
  8. Transfer to grill and place on side not lit to cook over indirect heat.
  9. Rotate pan during cooking to cook chicken evenly.
  10. Check chicken with meat thermometer to determine when ready approx 2 hours.
  11. Remove chicken from can and allow to rest a few minutes before slices and enjoying!

Jeff McIntosh

Jeff's family lives in his childhood home on a 1/4 acre in town lot. Despite the small space to work with, they have challenged ourselves to produce as much of our own food as possible — and cook it!...