Dad's Beer Can Chicken

Dad's Beer Can Chicken

The meat falls right of the bone with this delicious chicken recipe. Dad's Beer Can Chicken is rubbed with a Memphis seasoning and cooked in beer so the chicken remains moist and delicious. It is a grilling must for any grilling fan.

Cooking MethodGrilling


  • 1 1/2 cup mesquite wood chips
  • 4 pounds whole chicken
  • 1 can (12-ounces) beer
  • For the Mamphis Rub (makes about 1/2 cup):
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


For the Memphis Rub:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.  You will have about a 1/2 a cup of seasoning.  You can save this for later.


For the Chicken:

  1. Put wood chips in a bowl of water to soak.  Let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Rinse chicken ( remove any giblets etc. ) with cold water inside and out and pat dry.
  3. Sprinkle the cavity of the chicken with 1 Tablespoon of the dry rub and rub the outside of the chicken well with another Tablespoon or so of the rub. 
  4. Open beer can and pour out slightly less than half of beer.  Stab 6 to 7 holes in top of can and pour in 1 tablspoon of rub.
  5. Holding chicken upright with body cavity pointed down, insert the upright can of beer into the chicken.
  6. For both types of grills place a drip pan in center just below where chicken will be placed.
  7. If using a gas grill: remove upper warming rack (so it doesn't knock chicken down when lid is closed), set the grill for indirect (low) heat, place a foil pan directly beneath the chicken to catch the drippings, don't open and close the lid often . Oil the grate and stand chicken up in center of hot grate over drip pan. Spread out legs to support the chicken.
  8. For charcoal grill, bank coals to sides of the grill and light.  Also add in half of the wood chips.  After an hour, add 10 to 12 fresh coals per side and the remaining wood chips.
  9. It takes about 2 hours for the covered chicken to cook either gas or charcoal.
  10. Using tongs lift chicken to cutting board, holding large metal spatula under the beer can for support. Be careful not to spill the hot beer. Let chicken stand for 5 minutes before carving meat off the carcass.  Remove beer can and enjoy.



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