Jewish Journal

Memorial Day BBQ: Beer Can Chicken

Posted on May. 21, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Memorial Day means it's time to fire up the BBQ, raid the local farmer's market and crack open an ice cold beer (or soda).

This recipe for Beer Can Chicken comes from my co-worker's dad, Barry Hensiek.

Thanks, Barry!


1 whole roasting chicken

1 tall can of beer, half-full

1 small onion diced

1 med-large lemon cut into small pieces

1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)

1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper (or to taste)

1 teaspoon garlic powder*

1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves*

*use other spices if you prefer


1. Prep your BBQ--make sure the top is big enough to completely cover a whole chicken standing upright.

2. Season/rub the chicken, inside and out, with most of the salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary or other spices that you choose to use, reserving a couple pinches of each.

3. Put about 3/4 of the lemon and onion pieces in the chicken cavity

4. Open up the top of a beer can with a church key to remove as much of the top as possible, or use a sharp knife. Be careful not to cut yourself.  Drink about half the beer (or toss if you don't want to drink it).  

5. Put remaining spices, onion and lemon in the beer can with the beer.

6. When ready, place the chicken, bottom side first, on the can, so that it is sitting up on it.  Place the chicken on the can onto your prepared BBQ so that it is supported, sort of like a tripod--with the legs and can acting as the three points of support. You can put a small aluminum pan under it to keep the BBQ cleaner and to collect juices.  

7. Cook  for about an hour over indirect heat with the BBQ top closed and inside temp between 325 - 375.  The internal temperature should reach about 160 in the breast and about 170 in the thigh when it's done.  Depending on your BBQ, you may want to rotate the chicken about half way through to get even cooking.   

8. Time to remove the beer can! Be careful when you remove the chicken from the can--there will be lots of juice and beer, and it will all be super hot. Let the chicken rest about 10 minutes before carving.

9. Eat! Eat some more!

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