Beer-Can BBQ Chicken
Cook time
Total time
Smokey, juicy, full of flavor from overnight brining, this chicken has been a favorite with family and friends.
Recipe type: BBQ
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8-10 people
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 ounces salt
  • 1.5 ounces soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 lemon peel
  • ½ teaspoon juniper berries
  • ⅛ teaspoons whole cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoons whole allspice
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 4 Arbol chilis
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard seed
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander seed
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups ice cubes
Ingredients for Flavored Butter
  • 2 ounces butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
Ingredients for Dry Rub
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground coffee
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
Ingredients for Assembly
  • 1 Whole Chicken
  • ½ apple chopped into 4 pieces
  • fresh herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme)
  • 1 beer can or ginger ale in a can
  1. Put all the brine ingredients into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Take off from heat.
  2. Add 2 cups ice cubes and let it cool down. The brine must be cold.
  3. Prepare the chicken: rinse with cold water, make sure the cavity is clean. Place the chicken into a large gallon size Ziploc bag and into a large container or bowl.
  4. Pour the brine into the Ziploc bag with the chicken, seal and place the chicken, breast side down into your container or bowl (that way if it leaks, it’s contained).
  5. Place the chicken in the refrigerator at least for 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  6. About 30 minutes prior to barbequing, prepare the flavored butter. Combine softened butter, herbs, salt, garlic. Set aside.
  7. Take the chicken out of the Ziploc bag, discard the bag with the rest of brine. Place the chicken into a rimmed pan. Put the cut-up apple pieces and herbs inside the cavity of the chicken.
  8. Starting from the neck of the chicken, use your fingers to make an opening between the skin and meat on the breast side. Stuff ½ of the flavored butter inside the openings. Use the other half to smear on top of the chicken.
  9. Prepare the rub, or use your favorite pre-made rub for BBQ and rub the chicken.
  10. Pour out ⅓ of the liquid from the can of beer into a small foil pan and use a sharp knife to make a few piercings on the top sides of the can. (If you don’t have a foil pan you can make one from a sheet of aluminum foil.)
  11. Bring the foil pan, the beer can and the prepared chicken to your BBQ. Place the foil directly onto your grill rack, then carefully stand the chicken on top of the beer can.
  12. On a charcoal grill place the charcoal on both sides of the foil pan so that the charcoal does do touch the chicken for indirect heat cooking.
  13. On a gas grill set the burners under the foil pan are on low heat and the burners on the sides to high heat for indirect heat cooking.
  14. Set your timer to 1 hour, then check every 20 minutes until the temperature on an instant read thermometer reads 165 F when inserted into the thickest part of the meat, not touching the bone. Cook time can vary depending on the size of the chicken and the altitude that you are cooking at.
You can easily double or triple this recipe in order to feed a crowd. We normally cook more than one chicken at a time.
Recipe by Welcome 2 Our Table at