Tuscan Beer Can Chicken

FamilyStyle Food

It doesn’t need to be summer to roast a chicken on an outdoor grill – we’ve been known to get a fire started during all kinds of weather in my backyard.

I’ve posted a simple recipe for perfect roast chicken here a while ago, and it’s still the method I use when cooking a whole bird, whether inside in the oven or outdoors on the grill.

But there is no doubt that a chicken roasted on a charcoal or wood fire is like chicken nirvana – the crackly, smoke-infused skin and tender, juicy meat that comes from roasting the bird slowly over indirect heat on a grill simply makes my mouth water.

Last weekend I switched up my usual modus operandi with a variation on a classic beer can chicken recipe, inspired by grilling master Steven Raichlen.

Instead of the usual rub and beer combo, I thought it might be fun to season my chicken with Tuscan flavors like fennel, garlic and rosemary, and to use the Italian bubbly Prosecco in place of beer.

I loved it. Impaling the chicken on a can and roasting it vertically means more even cooking and there’s no need to flip the chicken over and risk tearing the precious skin.

This might become my new go-to recipe for roasting a chicken. It’s a good thing I keep plenty of the bubbly around! And plenty of rosemary, of course.

FamilyStyle Food

Tuscan Beer Can Chicken

Serving Size: Serves 4


  • 1 whole roasting chicken (3 or 4 lbs)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon fennel pollen or ground fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder and garlic powder
  • Prosecco or other sparkling wine


  1. Set up a charcoal grill for indirect grilling by piling the hot coals on opposite sides of the grill with a drip pan or large piece of foil in between, or preheat a gas grill to medium.
  2. Put the chicken on a small sheet pan. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and rub about 3 tablespoons all over the chicken to coat it thoroughly, and put 1 tablespoon into the cavity.
  3. Poke a few holes in the top of an empty 12-ounce beer or beverage can and fill halfway with Prosecco or other sparkling wine; then carefully spoon the remaining rub into the can. (You don't need to use expensive bubbly here, unless of course you happen to be drinking from an open bottle as you start to cook, my personal preference).
  4. Center the cavity end of chicken over the can and slide it in as far as will go before carefully arranging in the middle of the grill rack.
  5. Cover the grill and cook undisturbed for an hour, checking halfway through to be sure your grill temperature remains at a constant temperature between 325 and 350 degrees, adding more coals if needed.
  6. Take the chicken off the grill when the skin is nicely crisp and brown and juices that spew out of the chicken run clear. If you want to be precise, gently insert an instant read thermometer in the thick end of the thigh, without touching bone, to get a reading of 165 to 170 degrees.
  7. Let the chicken rest for at least 10 t o 15 minutes before removing the can, carving and serving.


  1. did you do this tonight?? after you left the game??? you’re amazing…

  2. Gonna take this one further tonight based on a recommendation from a guy at Cafe Osage, I’m adding bellini mix to the Prosecco and making Bellini chicken…I’ll leave out the brown sugar, and I don’t have fennel pollen, but the peach soda oughta offer plenty of sweet. It will be great or foul (fowl)…I’ll let you know.

  3. I see that you’re interested and fascinated in food stuffs. This is awesome Tuscan Beer Can Chicken. You see, we have this food site Foodista.com http://www.foodista.com) that is a food and cooking encyclopaedia that everyone and anyone can edit. Maybe you are interested in sharing some of recipes to us or share your knowledge about food stuffs and techniques. Don’t hesitate to check us out. I hope to see you there.


  4. Oh, I want some of this!

  5. Kristy Wendt says:

    Karen, this looks absolutely amazing! I think I might try today.

  6. I recently tried beer can chicken and was surprised at how moist and delish it turned out–and this looks 100 times more amazing! I can’t wait to try it! Thanks for sharing!


  7. Hi,

    Thank you for your post.

    I love to collect and experiment different baked chicken recipes around the world.

  8. Peggy Blanton says:

    This sound so delicious, can’t wait to try. Will go so well with a sweet potato and nice salad!
    Tried the food site http://www.Foodista.com and it would not respond…is this correct?
    Love your recipes….

  9. woww.. great article 🙂 thanks for sharing buddy.. keep posting

  10. Hello,

    This recipes seems hitting my taste, becouse I just love beer and chicken.

  11. Wonderful, I have a special recipe for jerk chicken.

  12. Wow does that ever look good! I think I’m gonna have to try out this recipe! 😉

  13. barbecue season is just around the corner for those of us up north, I was surfing looking for some recipes and this looks just amazing! Thanks for posting!

  14. I’ve been using this recipe for a while now but recently started brining the bird for several hours in a brine that includes some rosemary, fennel, garlic and some of the bubbly. This is one of our favorite things to grill and is one our “go-to”s for guests. Thanks so much for sharing!


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