Beer can chicken

Beer can chicken

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(11 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 1 hr, 20 mins


Serves 4 - 6
This method of cooking a chicken may look a little undignified, but it is guaranteed to keep the meat really tender and juicy

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving (6)

  • kcal397
  • fat24g
  • saturates6g
  • carbs5g
  • sugars5g
  • fibre0g
  • protein38g
  • salt1.6g
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  • 1.8kg chicken



    While it's the traditional Christmas bird, turkey is good to eat all year round, though…

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 440ml can of beer

For the rub

  • 1 tbsp muscovado sugar
  • 1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika



    A spice that's central to Hungarian cuisine, paprika is made by drying a particular type of…

  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp English mustard powder
  • 2 tsp thyme


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 1½ tsp celery salt


  1. Light a lidded barbecue. Let the flames die down and the coals turn ashen, then mound the coal up on one side. If using a small barbecue, you will have to remove the grills and place a sturdy roasting tin on the floor of the barbecue, next to the coals – this will give you space to close the lid once the chicken is in. If you have a large barbecue, the chicken can sit directly on the grills (or on a tray on the grills, so that it doesn’t topple over.)

  2. To make the rub, mix all the ingredients together with a good grinding of black pepper. Drizzle the chicken with the oil, sprinkle over the rub and massage it into the skin, making sure you get into all the nooks and crannies, even inside the cavity.

  3. Use a can opener to take off the top of the can of beer. Pour out half the beer (tip into a glass to drink!) and leave the rest in the can, as it will keep the chicken moist while it cooks. Pop the chicken onto the can, legs down, so that it looks like it is sitting upright with the can in its cavity. Stand the chicken and can upright on the barbecue, either in the roasting tin or directly on the grill, on the side with no coals. Close the lid and cook for 1 hr 20 mins until the chicken is browned, the meat tender and the juices run clear. If the juices aren’t clear, cook for a further 10 mins, then check again. (To cook in the oven, heat to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Sit the chicken on a baking tray, place in the bottom of the oven, and follow the same cooking time.)

  4. Remove the chicken from the barbecue, cover lightly with foil and leave to rest for 20 mins before serving.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Simon Woodiwiss's picture
Simon Woodiwiss
14th Jun, 2020
After reading Pete Hampton’s comment I decanted the beer to burn off the printed-on branding and plastic coating with a blow-torch on low. The fumes and smoke that came off the beer can were toxic as hell. I’m glad I didn’t just shove it up the bird! Dangerous recipe....beyond stupid.
Pete Hampson's picture
Pete Hampson
7th May, 2020
Beer cans are coated in epoxy, paint and plastics. Not sure I want to eat something that has been smoked in chemicals like that.
Phil Scott's picture
Phil Scott
13th May, 2019
Use the fat and whatever else drops into the tray ( I had the remains of some Cherry Chips on mine) to make some delicious gravy/sauce. Will need straining but really tasty from the rub etc!! I just used Oxo Chicken stock with splashings of Worcestershire and Soy sauces with black pepper and thickened as normal.
6th May, 2018
Made this for a bank holiday barbecue and it was probably the best chicken I've ever eaten. I put some smoking chips in the barbecue but other than that followed the recipe perfectly. Really moist, delicious meat and there were no leftovers. Highly recommended
26th Jun, 2016
Great way to cook chicken. Used oven method only.
jack kiley
2nd Jul, 2015
I was disappointed that there wasn't any bacon on the Jamaican beer can chicken
jack kiley
2nd Jul, 2015
I was disappointed by being miss leed about the bacon when it is called beer can chicken :(
4th Mar, 2015
This is a brilliant way to cook chicken! We used a can of cider as no one fancied drinking the beer and the flavours worked well, I am keen though to try it with beer to see how it differs.
katycooks's picture
19th Feb, 2015
I made this in the oven and was absolutely amazed at how delicious and juicy the chicken was. You do have to use the whole oven for it (by taking out the other shelves), but the results are tremendous - best roast chicken ever!
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