Beer Can Chicken

Last Updated on April 11, 2023

Some people think beer can chicken is all about steaming the chicken from within and infusing it with flavor, but this is only partly true. Beer can chicken is all about vertical roasting, an excellent way to cook roasted chicken either on the grill or in the oven. It allows the chicken to cook more evenly and brown on all sides resulting in a moist, tender breast and crispy skin. In this recipe, we use an overnight dry brine to flavor the meat in addition to vertical roasting. It’s an easy and excellent way to prepare a whole chicken from ButcherBox. Feel free to experiment with your own favorite spices too!

Beer Can Chicken

4.67 from 6 votes
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Protein: Poultry
Cut: Whole Chicken
Course: Main Course
Prep Time: 10 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 4


For the chicken

  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 Butcher Box whole chicken patted dry
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 12-ounce can of light beer

For the beer can sauce

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce


  • Mix sea salt, cumin, red pepper flakes, coriander, dry mustard, garlic powder and ground pepper in a small bowl. Mix spices well and set aside one generous tablespoon for the sauce.
  • Season a whole thawed out chicken with the spice rub and lemon zest. Season inside the cavity as well as under the skin.
  • Tuck the wings behind the back of the bird. Place chicken on a baking dish with a wire rack and keep in the refrigerator overnight to dry brine.
  • On the day of grilling, make the beer can sauce by combining ketchup, Dijon mustard, molasses, red wine vinegar and hot sauce in a small bowl.
  • Set up your grill for indirect grilling (either place hot coals on one side or on both sides of the grill with a foil tray in the middle).
  • Pour half of the beer out. Beer drinkers, feel free to enjoy this step!
  • Punch some holes on the top of the beer can with a church key style can opener.
  • Add the 1 tablespoon spice rub that you’ve set aside to the beer can sauce and pour this mixture into the can using a funnel.
  • Place the chicken on top of the beer can and position it so it’s stable. You can also use a metal pie plate as a base to help collect juices and handle the chicken more easily. Grill the chicken on indirect heat and cover. If roasting in an oven, set your oven to 350F. At about the 1 hour mark, check your chicken for even browning and turn if necessary. Baste with juices that have collected in the bottom.
  • Roast the chicken for an additional 30 minutes or until a thermometer reads 165F on the thickest part.
  • Take off the grill and let stand when done. Cool slightly before handling. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, take the bird off the can and pour the sauce into a small sauce pot. Reduce the sauce a little bit while you arrange the roast chicken on a serving plate or divide it into quarters using kitchen shears.
  • Serve your perfectly roasted chicken with the sauce on the side.
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Louiie is a chef, recipe developer, food photographer and stylist based in Las Vegas. While working the line at Bazaar Meat, Louiie merged her twin passions of the visual and culinary  arts. She has tested and developed recipes for Anova Culinary, Bon Appetit, and EATER.  She  also co-hosts and produces a food and hospitality based podcast, 2 Sharp Chefs and a  Microphone. She frequently shoots architecture, food, and people for Eater Vegas. In her free time, Louiie loves to turn her phone to airplane mode, travel, do yoga, cook outdoors, and  spend time with her naked cat, Dobby.