Beer can chicken, otherwise known as a whole chicken on a beer can. Barbecuing a whole chicken is always a good idea, especially if you "beer-can" it! This method is foolproof, making it almost impossible to fail. Follow these easy steps, we promise you are going to surprise and impress all your guests!

What you'll need 

You’ll need a spacious spot and a barbecue with a lid that allows you to close it when the beer can chicken is on the BBQ. Prepare your barbecue for indirect grilling. Good charcoals/briquettes on two sides of your barbecue works well. A core thermometer is also a must.

Pro tip: put a piece of aluminium foil in the middle of your barbecue to catch the dripping fat during baking, this saves on cleaning.

 Preparation time: approx. 15 mins. Cooking time: Anywhere between 45 mins- 1.5 hours. Temperature is more important than time!


  • A whole chicken of at least 1.5kg
  • dry rub for chicken (ready prepared or homemade)
  • Wood chips (optional)

For homemade chicken rub

  • 1/2 ablespoons paprika powder (mild) 
  • 1 tablespoon of fine sea salt  
  • 1 tablespoon (brown) sugar  
  • 1 tablespoon oregano  
  • 1 tablespoon cumin  
  • ¾ tablespoon onion powder  
  • ½ tablespoon mustard powder  
  • ½ tablespoon black pepper
  • ½ tablespoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of Cayenne pepper, not too much, maximum half a teaspoon 


1. Prep yourself!

First and foremost, drink about half the can of beer. This is important whilst your beer is still nice and cool. Whilst enjoying your beer, your barbecue needs to be heated to 180 degrees C or, if you go for low&slow opt for 130-150 degrees C.

2. Prep your chicken!

Cut away loose pieces of skin and fat, loosen the skin a little bit too. Make sure the chicken is large enough to put it on a can. 

3. Rub your chicken!

Grease the chicken with a little olive oil and season it with your favourite BBQ-rub. You can choose a nice ready-made one, or it's a lot more fun to make your own one. Do this by mixing all the ingredients listed above together in a bowl. Simple!

4.  Beer-can your chicken!

Carefully slide the spiced chicken over the half-filled can of beer. Add some wood chips to your BBQ. Apple wood is delicious, or oak for a more powerful smoke flavour.

5. Cook your chicken!  

Grill the chicken in the middle of the BBQ, until the core of the breast is 70 degrees. The thighs should be 85 degrees, so put the chicken with the thighs towards the coals.

Always measure the temperature in the thickest part and make sure that the chicken is really at the right temperature: medium-rare chicken is a really bad idea.

Let the chicken rest for 10-15 minutes, put a piece of aluminium foil on top of it (do not pack tightly). The meat juices will now be well distributed, resulting in an even more tender chicken.

Let's not forget the beer...

Take this opportunity to drink some nice beer. You can not rush barbecuing, sit back, enjoy your beer and wait for 70 degrees C!

We tasted Affligem Blond with the chicken. The sweet taste of the beer lifts the flavours of the chicken, while the salty taste of the chicken makes the beer more fruity. Another delicious blonde is the Brugse Zot. Slightly milder in taste than the Affligem, which fits better if you've used a milder rub.  An alcohol-free alternative is Erdinger. Enjoy more beer and food pairings by checking out our recommendations! 


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