A Beer Can Chicken Convert

by in View All Posts, July 12th, 2010
Beer Can Chicken
The Neelys' Beer Can Chicken being basted with a brush made of fresh-picked thyme and oregano.

This past week the Neelys announced they are bringing their BBQ expertise to the Big Apple with Neely’s Pig Parlor. While they definitely are the pit masters of pork, Pat’s recipe for Grilled Beer Can Chicken is superb for grilling at home. As strange as placing an actual bird on a beer can might seem I highly suggest giving it a whirl from my recent experience.

This past weekend I attended a backyard barbecue and the host put this recipe to the test, as he was a bit skeptical about the beer can too. He made the dry rub the night before including smoked paprika, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried cumin, dried thyme, dried oregano, garlic powder, salt and black pepper that combined into dynamite! He patted down the chicken with the rub 12 hours before grilling so the flavors would meld together tenderizing the skin.

The day of his party he carefully placed the bird on the grill perched atop the 3/4-full light beer can—then he was able to set it and forget it. But he did baste the chicken every 30 minutes with a light barbecue sauce using (bonus!) a brush made out of fresh thyme and oregano picked from his garden. It added a fresh kick of flavor! After almost 2 hours of hungry anticipation I became a beer can chicken convert with my first bite—the spicy dry rub and beer provided a rich juiciness that I had never tasted before!

What are your favorite grilled chicken recipes for a summer cookout?

Reena Mehta

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Comments (14)

  1. The yooper says:

    Bring it a couple more notches using a smoker

  2. Puget Sounder says:

    make sure your bbq grill or smoker has a high enough lid to set your chickens upright ..i found out that mine is height challenged so i had to split the chicken by removing the backbone and placed a foil pan with beer under it and arranged the coals around it..it worked

  3. Puget Sounder says:

    My Chicken Rub Recipe (and i use a smoker with applewood)
    2 Tb light brown sugar 1/4 tsp Herb/Garlic Mrs Dash
    1 Tb fresh minced rosemary fresh ground pepper 1/4 tsp or so
    1Tb Garlic powder 1 Tb onion powder
    1/4 tsp ground red pepper (more or less to taste)

  4. kjb434 says:

    We've been using the beer (or any canned drink) method for years.

    It also works really well in the oven. It's a much better alternative to roast chicken if you don't have a roasting pan and rack.

  5. RobEl says:

    I love this method of grilling chicken, but the added bonus is the requirement to drink the other quater to half of can of beer before grilling. Enjoy.

  6. Scraps says:

    I did a version of this for the 4th of July using game hens and pineapple juice instead of beer–turned out great!
    http://www.nibblesnbites.com/not-exactly-beer-can

  7. babzc says:

    what is in that paint on the beer cans you"re adding to your dinner by heat fusing it to the inside of your meat?is there lead in that red to make it so bright and pretty?i would have to know ….

    • Lynn says:

      Nothing comes off of the can. Most cans are aluminum so the design doesn't come off. At least it didn't when I cook a chicken this way.

    • kjb434 says:

      Also, if are eating the part of the chicken can where the beer can touches, you really aren't enjoying the chicken. It's mostly just excess skin and fat at that point. Also, there isn't any paint on the beer can. The design on a beer can is electrostatically bound to the aluminum and heat won't separate it.

      If you are still bothered by it, just use a can that vegetables or bake beans come in after you remove the wrapper.

  8. Garlicbird says:

    question: apologies if this is obvious but I've always wondered about the juices and fat that drip out of a chicken when it is cooking – is this not a problem when you have it directly on the grill?

    • Pebbles says:

      no I grill beer can chicken alot try different herbs

    • Lisa says:

      I did a similar recipie on the BBQ and I had 2 burners on Med-High and then 1 burner off. I placed the chicken on the side where the burner was off, thus cooking with indirect heat…no flair ups…no flames…just perfect!

  9. Lynn says:

    I have cooked chicken this way and it is the best!! It has the best flavor and it is so juicy! You can use a can beer or soda. I also bought a cheap cake pan and put the chicken/beer can in the pan and set it on the grill. The pan catches the drippings and prevents flare ups!! Make sure you don't spend too much on the cake pan because it will get very discolored from the heat of the grill.

  10. nic010205 says:

    I love beer can chicken. We got a stand for it to make it realyl easy. They just come out so well… soo juicy!

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