8 Best Beer Can Chicken Recipes

Beer can chicken on grill

 bhofack2 / Getty Images

Beer can chicken is not only a great way to cook a whole chicken on the grill, but it's also a lot of fun to do. Sitting a whole chicken on top of an open beer can may seem a little bit peculiar, or even frivolous, but it's actually a genius recipe method for barbecuing a whole bird while keeping it moist, tender, and juicy. You can also add plenty of flavor to the meat using this method. Whether you like a smoky, mild, or spicy-tasting chicken, all you have to do is just switch up the spice rub you use to adjust the flavor.

That's the real secret of beer butt chicken—using a tasty and aromatic spice rub to season the outside of the bird while steaming the meat as it cooks over a flavorful beer. 

Not just any beer will do. Choosing the right beer for beer can chicken is key to a tasty result.

  • 01 of 08

    Classic Beer Can Chicken

    Beer Can Chicken

    Jo / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    This classic beer can chicken recipe combines the flavors of a traditional rosemary and thyme spice rub for the grill with the hoppy flavors steamed out of the beer can. This is an easy and fun way to cook a whole chicken on the grill.

  • 02 of 08

    Smoked Beer Butt Chicken

    Smoked Beer in the Butt Chicken

    Peter Sieling / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

    This smoked beer butt chicken recipe uses a low and slow method of roasting to impart a delicious depth of flavor. Steaming the chicken this way in the smoker keeps the meat super moist and juicy while it slow-roasts to perfection.

  • 03 of 08

    Southwestern-Style Beer Can Chicken

    Southwestern-Style Beer Can Chicken

    Kankongarsa Kongarsa / Getty Images

    Amp up your grilled chicken with spicy Southwestern flavors with this Southwestern-style beer can chicken recipe that packs a wallop. A cleaned, whole chicken is prepared with a spice rub that includes chili powder, garlic powder, cumin powder, allspice, sugar, salt, and pepper. It's then steamed over a beer can infused with the same spices for a one-two punch of flavor. You can adjust the heat in this beer can chicken recipe by using either hot, medium, or mild chili powder to suit your taste.

  • 04 of 08

    Garlic and Lemon Beer Can Chicken

    Garlic Lemon Beer Can Chicken
    Getty Images

    This crowd-pleasing garlic and lemon beer can chicken has a fantastic garlic and lemon flavor. Serve this chicken at cookouts and grilling parties with classic side dishes like potato salad and coleslaw. Or shred the roasted chicken meat and enjoy it in wraps, sandwiches, and burritos.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Memphis-Style Beer Can Chicken

    Memphis-Style Beer Can Chicken

    Lauri Patterson / Getty Images

    This beer butt chicken gets a dose of serious Memphis-style barbecue flavors with a fantastic spice rub on the outside and all those rich seasonings in the can. Brown sugar adds some sweetness to the peppers and spices in the rub. This Memphis-style beer can chicken is fantastic served with your favorite barbecue sauce on the side or in a hot chicken sandwich.

  • 06 of 08

    Crabby Drunken Chicken

    Crabby Drunken Chicken

    Andrew Berndt / Getty Images

    The crabby drunken chicken recipe with the apt name serves up a taste of the South that your grilling party guests are sure to enjoy. Cajun seasonings are added to the spice rub and crab boil is added to the beer to give this whole roasted chicken a tender, juicy, down-home flavor.

  • 07 of 08

    Jamaican Jerk Beer Can Chicken (or Turkey)

    Jamaican Jerk Beer Can Chicken (or Turkey)

    Richard Rudisill / Getty Images

    Serve up grilled chicken infused with the taste of the Caribbean this summer. This Jamaican jerk beer can chicken (or Turkey) recipe delivers a moist and juicy bird with all the tangy and spicy flavors of jerk seasonings. Adjust the cooking times depending on the weight of the bird.

  • 08 of 08

    Beer Can Chicken in the Oven

    Oven Beercan Chicken Recipe

    Brett Stevens / Getty Images

    When you don't feel like grilling (like on rainy days), this beer can chicken in the oven tastes just as good as if you'd made it on your barbecue.