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Beer Can Chicken on Charcoal Grill

Here is the best beer can chicken on a charcoal grill tonight. Really easy to do and a great way to cook outside in the Summer when it’s hot. I know you remember this method from your childhood, now it is time to bring it back. We have a killer smoked beer can chicken version too now!

beer can chicken on charcoal grill

I don’t know about you but growing up we had beer can chicken pretty often. I’m not sure why but this trend wore off as I got older, yet it is still a great, easy, and flavorful way to cook chicken on the BBQ…..let us show you how you can make this easy beer can chicken recipe at home too. 😉 (affiliate links present)

Beer Can Chicken on Charcoal Grill

Yes, this is the old fashioned original way to do it y’all. You can use any can of liquid though that you wanted to. Rather use a can of soda instead? No problem, that will work fine. Biggest thing to get down is the color and heat of your briquettes, we will go over that below.

Beer Can Chicken on Gas Grill

Of course you could use a gas grill too and set to 350 degrees or so and have it done if that is the style you have. We also have instructions on how to smoke a spatchcock chicken if you want to give that a whirl. All 3 versions are delish.

beer can chicken recipe

What is the Best Liquid to Use for Beer Can Chicken

Well I mean lager of course. You could use whatever really, it doesn’t matter but a blonde light beer is top on my list for this or our Beer Can Chicken in Oven. Let’s be honest. In the Summertime we will do anything to NOT cook or turn the oven on inside the house!

It reaches over 100 degrees where we live for a few months out of the year and the last thing you want to do is heat up your house. So we use our barbecue and smoker as often as possible!

We have made desserts on the bbq and the usual hot dogs and hamburgers. But this beer can chicken recipe is the best. We even cook pizza on the bbq when it’s insanely hot outside. 

Let me start by saying that neither one of us are beer drinkers. However, the chicken has no residual beer flavor when it is done. The alcohol burns off in the cooking process so it is safe to feed your children.We have 3 kids and they love this recipe too.

  • First get either a cast iron skillet like this one or a cookie sheet. It will act as a drip pan of sorts.
  • Then light your charcoal grill, or start your gas grill so it can preheat.
Beer can chicken recipe

How to Make Beer Can Chicken

We used a larger can of beer this time because it’s all I could find on sale.

  • We have used this chicken stand as well that’s made of porcelain (seen at the top). Either way it works just fine.
  • Rinse your chicken.
  • Pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Clean the cavity of chicken out. 

Pour about 1/3 of the beer out of the can, or else it will end up really overflowing when it starts to boil. Open beer and if you’re using the chicken stand pour it inside. Otherwise, set the chicken upright on the open part of the can until it won’t go down any more and is secure.

Then put together a dry rub of your choice. Use any and all spice rub blends you’d add to any whole chicken you’d bake.

beer can chicken recipe

Whole Chicken on Top of beer can

Spray your pan with some non stick spray just to make cleanup later easier, and season the whole chicken as you normally would if you were putting it in the oven.

Make sure when you put your briquettes on you sit them in a pile. Give them some time to cool down and not have a flame above them.

You don’t want it to cook super fast. Slow is better when you grill chicken any which way. Quicker will dry it out a bit too much so take your time and don’t be in a hurry.

barbecue beer can chicken recipe

Barbecue Beer Can Chicken

Then, spread the briquettes or coals out in a circle around the edge of the bbq. You will be putting the pan with your chicken in the middle of the grill. You don’t want direct heat right under it or it will cook too fast. You don’t want to overcook it and have it dry.

Place your cast iron skillet or cookie sheet with your beer can and the chicken on top of that. Place it in the middle of the barbecue once you put the top grate back on and close the lid.

Make sure you use a thermometer when it gets to looking done to make sure the inside is at at least 165 degrees – 180 degrees at most. Best way to test it is to remove from grill leaving the heat so you get an accurate read in the middle thickest part of the chicken leg / thigh meat.

beer can chicken recipe

Beer Can Chicken on Grill

When it is done carefully remove the chicken off of the can. Be careful as juice runs out of the cooked chicken. Allow the chicken to rest for at least 5 minutes before carving to keep the juices in and stay moist.

Cut up and eat as usual. This makes for some of the moistest chicken ever. It’s essentially being steamed on the inside by the liquid in the beer. Cooked slowly on the bbq is the way to go.

If you love our beer can chicken recipe you should try cooking a whole chicken in the crockpot too.

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beer can chicken on charcoal grill
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Beer Can Chicken on Charcoal Grill

Best beer can chicken on charcoal grill using a chicken throne or can. How to cook whole chicken on the barbecue with beer can is here.
Course Entree, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword beer, beer can chicken, charcoal grill, grill, whole chicken
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 251kcal
Author The Typical Mom




  • Set coals inside grill and light, set grate on top and close the lid to wait for the coals to cool down enough to where they turn from black to white. This will take about 25 minutes.
  • While you're waiting you'll want to season your bird. Unwrap the bird, remove bag from inside if there is one and discard. Dry skin with paper towels. Rub a bit of olive oil on skin and coat with your seasonings of choice. (we have a link above for our dry rub)
  • If you're using a chicken throne fill it 3/4 of the way full, there should be a line. If using just the can dump or drink 1/4 of the contents.
  • When coals are white set cast iron skillet in middle of grate.
  • Set can or throne in middle of cast iron skillet and set chicken on top sliding the open cavity over the opening so it sits flat and isn't falling over.
  • Close lid on grill and cook until middle of thigh reaches 165 degrees F. This will take 1-1.5 hours depending on the size of the bird.
  • Remove with pot holders, set on cutting board to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Nutrition Facts
Beer Can Chicken on Charcoal Grill
Amount Per Serving (2 oz)
Calories 251 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Trans Fat 0.1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 82mg27%
Sodium 79mg3%
Potassium 218mg6%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Sugar 0.1g0%
Protein 20g40%
Vitamin A 152IU3%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 14mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Recipe Rating

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