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Whether you call it beer can chicken, beer butt chicken, or drunken chicken, inserting a beer can in the body cavity of a whole bird is a wonderful summer grilling tradition. Most of the recipes online call for using a dry rub on the outside of the bird, relying solely on the beer can to keep the chicken moisturized throughout the grilling process. If you're doing this as a last minute preparation, a rub is a better choice, but if you've got the time, brine the chicken before grilling for a truly amazing flavor. I also recommend using wood charcoal rather than briquettes, so you get a nice wood-smoked flavor.

Beer Can Chicken


1 Gallon Water
3/4 cup kosher salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbl pepper

1 whole chicken
1 can of beer

For a hint of spice add 2 tsp cayenne pepper to the brine.

Before beginning, remove any giblets from the chicken's body cavity and discard.

Stir salt, sugar, and pepper into the water until sugar and salt are mostly dissolved (you can speed the process up by boiling the mixture on the stove). I also like to include several sprigs of thyme in the brine for additional flavor. Submerge the chicken in your brine and place the container in the fridge for 6-8 hours.

When you get close to the end of the brining process, start your grill with coals on one half of the grill. You'll be cooking the chicken with indirect heat, so you want to make sure you have space to place the chicken with no coals underneath.

Empty or drink half of the beer can. Insert the can in the body cavity of the chicken so that the base of the can and the two legs make a tripod to hold it up on the grill. Place the chicken on the side of the grill away from the coals - this is an indirect cooking process; the outside of the chicken will burn before cooking finishes if it's placed over the coals. Cook the chicken with the grill cover on for approximately 1-1 1/2 hours, until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees. Check every 20 minutes and rotate the chicken on the grill for even cooking. The temperature is more important than the cooking time.

If you get the chicken too close to the coals, the skin can get too dark like this:
Beer Can Chicken


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