The Best Beer Can Chicken Ever

Here is one of my favorites to make when I don’t want to do a long cook. Beer Can Chicken! My family loves it and I always have to hurry and be the first one to get some or they will eat it all up. I’m sure your family will enjoy it also!


  • prep time 20 minutes
  • cook time 2 to 3 hours (depending on size of chicken)
  • cooking temp – 275 to 300
  • wood used – cherry


  • 2 chickens (roasters about 3.5 to 5 lbs, avoid the ones that have 15% solution of broth and juices)
  • 6 12oz cans of beer – 6 pack (any kind you choose, I used Miller’s for this)
  • barbeque rub ( check out Kansas City Kryptonite)
  • beer barbeque sauce glaze (see below)

Make sure you rinse the chickens and take the little package of goodies out of the cavity. Funny story, I ate dinner over a friends and he roasted some chicken in the oven but forgot to take the pouch out, while cutting the bird he asked “what the hell is this?” I asked if he took the goodies out and he gave me that deer in the headlights look. I just laughed! Don’t make the mistake he made.


Beer Brine:

  • half-gallon of water (room temp to warm)
  • 3/4 Cup Course Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup barbeque rub
  • 4 can of beer
  • 2 glasses of ice cubes

Mix salt and sugar in water until they have completely dissolved. Pour in rub and stir well. Pour in beers and mix well. Just before placing chicken in brine place it in a large enough container to barely hold both chickens, I used a large kool-aid pitcher. Add the ice to cool it down, then add chickens. Cover and allow this to rest in the fridge at least 6 hours. I usually do this before I got to bed the night before i cook.

After brining the chickens, rinse them well in cool water and pat dry, paper-towels work well. Rub each chicken down with a little oil, this helps the rub stick. Apply the rub to the chickens. I make sure to apply the rub to the inside cavity as well, and I loosen the skin on the breast and apply rub under the skin on the breast side. After applying the rub allow them to rest again in the fridge, covered for at least 2 hours.

Take the last 2 cans of beer and pour about half of each beer in a small pot for the sauce (recipe below). Place 1 tablespoon of barbeque rub in each can and insert them in the cavity of each chicken. I placed them on a cooling rack, it makes for easy transfer to and from the smoker.

Beer Can Barbeque Sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp barbeque rub
  • beer from cans (about 10 to 12 oz)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup

Mix together over medium heat stirring often to avoid sticking and burning, and allow this to reduce to about half. During the last 30 minutes of cooking base the chickens with this sauce. use extra sauce for dipping.

Using an instant read meat thermometer  like the Thermapen is handy when cooking the chickens. I cook to an internal temp of 165 to 170, that’s how I know they are done. I usually stick the Thermapen prob in the thighs next to the breast and into the breast to get a temperature reading.

I cooked the chickens in my smoker with them close to the end that has the firebox but you can do this on any grill using indirect or 2 zone cooking. When birds are done cooking allow then to sit a few minutes before cutting into them.

This is a common recipe for me and my family but I have also used

  • Pepsi
  • Ginger Ale
  • Root Beer
  • Dr. Pepper
  • Sweet Tea
  • Lemonade

Don’t be afraid to try the beer, the other drinks I’ve suggested or to come up with something creative on your own.

I would love to hear what you think of this recipe or about your version of this family favorite!

About Pigskin Barbeque 80 Articles
Just a regular guy who loves to barbeque. Married father of two. I developed a love for grilling as a child watching my dad grill. My love for BBQ, using wood and the "low & slow" method came after I purchased my first horizontal smoker in my 20's.


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