Beer Can Chicken Recipe


Beer can chicken should be your go-to grill recipe this summer. This recipe makes two grilled chickens, perfect for company or for plenty of leftovers. Rub the chickens with the spice mixture, then refrigerate them up to a day in advance. Keep them uncovered so the skin can dry out and crisp up on the grill.

Beer Can Chicken
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall
Cook Time:
8 hrs
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
8 serves


  • 1/4 cup kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 (3 1/2- to 4-lb.) whole chickens

  • 2 (12-oz.) cans beer (such as Modelo Especial)


  1. Stir together salt, brown sugar, cumin, coriander, paprika, and pepper in a small bowl. (If necessary, remove giblets from chickens, and discard or reserve for another use.) Sprinkle skin and cavities of chickens with salt mixture. Chill, uncovered, at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.

  2. Preheat a gas grill to medium (350°F to 400°F) on 1 side. Open beer cans; pour out 1/2 cup beer from each can. (Drink the poured-out beer, or reserve for another use.) Working with 1 chicken at a time, hold chicken upright with cavity facing down, and insert 1 opened beer can into cavity. Pull legs forward to form a tripod, allowing chicken to stand upright.

  3. Place chickens upright on unoiled grates over unlit side of grill. Grill, covered with grill lid, until the skin is crispy and a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of thighs registers 165°F, about 1 hour, 40 minutes. Remove from grill; rest 10 minutes. Carefully remove cans; cut chickens into quarters.

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