Have you ever had beer can chicken? If you haven’t, then you must. It’s seriously such an easy way to perfectly cook a whole chicken on the barbecue. Juicy inside and crispy outside, meanwhile full of flavours! Making your beer can chicken does require a few easy steps that will all be worth it in the end. First, obviously, is picking that beer. We’ve done beer can chicken with a cheap lager mostly, but this time I am using Big Rock Brewing Traditional Ale – yes, that’s my go-to beer that I always have around. It’s an English style brown ale that has those nutty caramel malts that I figured would be perfect for beer can chicken. Second, make sure you have a beer can chicken holder – you will need this to put the beer into and hold the chicken upright. There are lots available out there – try finding one at your local Canadian Tire, Walmart, Home Depot, Barbecue House, etc… Let’s get started!
Beer Can Chicken
Clean the bird well by rinsing it thoroughly in the sink. Once cleaned, pat chicken down with paper towerl to remove as much of the moisture as possible. Then set the chicken on a cookie sheet, and place in your fridge, uncovered, for an hour. This helps to dry out the bird so you get a more crispy skin in the end…. who doesn’t want that!?
While you are waiting for your chicken to dry out, you can prepare the rub. My husband and I have made a few rubs before, such as these three that you can just make and keep you your pantry: Three Rubs. For this recipe though, I wanted a bit more of a smoke flavour so I made something different. I combined in a small bowl the following: smoked sea salt, fresh ground pepper, smoked paprika, garlic and onion powder, Ancho chilies and Pasilla chilies. Most of my spices I get from Silk Road – if you live in Edmonton or Calgary, I highly recommend you check them out. If you don’t live in the area, you can order from them!
Take a heaping tablespoon of the rub and set it aside in another dish. Once an hour of drying is up, use the remaining rub to cover the bird in the rub, getting inside the cavity and under the wings and legs. Preheat your grill.
Now for the fun part! You only want your beer to be a little more than half full, so pour some of that malty goodness into a glass, and have a few sips. Add the remaining rub that you set aside earlier to the beer can with the remaining beer… and take another sip of your beer. Ensure you don’t get the two confused and accidentally sip some of the spiced beer… put the beer can onto the beer can chicken holder and then place the bird cavity over the beer and beer can holder.
Place your beer can chicken onto the preheated grill, on indirect heat (no direct coals or burners on under your chicken). Cook over the medium heat for approximately 1 1/4 hours or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the breast and 180 degrees Fahrenheit in the thigh; or until the thigh juice runs clear.
- 1 chicken, giblets and neck removed
- 1 beer of your choice
- 4 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. smoked sea salt
- 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. Ancho chilies
- 1 tsp. Pasilla chillies
- Clean the bird thoroughly and place on a clean cookie sheet. Pat the bird down with paper towels and then place whole bird in the fridge to dry for one hour.
- Add sugar and all the spices to a dish and mix well. Remove 1 heaping tablespoon of the rub to a separate bowl and set aside.
- Once chicken is dried, rub whole chicken well with the spice rub, getting inside the cavity and under the wings and legs.
- Pour some of the beer out (into a drinking glass for yourself if you'd like!)
- Preheat your grill.
- Add the remaining rub that you set aside earlier to the beer can with the remaining beer.
- Put the beer can onto the beer can chicken holder and then place the bird cavity over the beer and beer can holder.
- Place your beer can chicken onto the preheated grill, on indirect heat (no direct coals or burners on under your chicken). Cook over the medium heat for approximately 1 1/4 hours or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the breast and 180 degrees Fahrenheit in the thigh; or until the thigh juice runs clear.
- Remove from grill and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
- Enjoy with your favourite beer!