Home - Dinner - Chicken - Crackling Beer Can Chicken (For the Grill or Oven)

Crackling Beer Can Chicken (For the Grill or Oven)

5 from 3 community reviews

Did you know you can easily save your favorite recipes? Create an account or log in to get started.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

With its crackling, smoke-infused skin and tender, juicy meat, this recipe puts an Italian-style spin on the classic beer can chicken. Seasoned with a brown sugar rub combined with fresh rosemary, garlic, and fennel seed, the flavor-infused bird can be prepared on an outdoor grill or indoors in the oven.

An herb-rubbed roasted beer can chicken on a serving platter, with a serving fork on the side.

It doesn’t need to be summer grilling season to make BBQ chicken thighs or a juicy beer-can chicken on a gas grill or over charcoal. I’ve perfected the method for roasting this succulent bird indoors or out, using a grill or an oven.

My simple recipe for perfect roast chicken is still the basic method I use when cooking a whole bird for chicken dinner recipes.

Why this recipe works:

  • Roasting the chicken in an upright, vertical position ensures even cooking and crisp skin on all sides.
  • The liquid inside the can gets hot enough to create a fragrant steam that seasons the bird and keeps it juicy.
  • There’s no need to flip the chicken over and risk tearing the tasty skin.

About the ingredients

A whole uncooked chicken in a rectangular pan next to a bowl of spice rub, surrounded by an open can of beer, garlic and fresh herb sprigs.
  • Chicken: Rather than a roasting chicken which can weigh anywhere from 5-7 pounds, get a whole 3-4 pound chicken that’s sometimes labeled “fryer.” I find these birds are much more tender and juicy than larger ones.
  • Can of beer: Use whatever style of beer you like, or not at all — you can pour wine, the Italian bubbly Prosecco, or even chicken broth into an empty 12-ounce aluminum can, which also serves as a base for the chicken to stand on.
  • Rub: Like the best baked chicken legs, this Tuscan-inspired beer can chicken seasoning mixes Italian-style ingredients in a rub that includes fennel seeds, granulated garlic, and rosemary.
  • Garlic: For a double hit of garlic, I put fresh smashed cloves into the can — the garlic steams in the liquid, infusing the bird with even more flavor.

Recipe steps

    An herb-rubbed roasted beer can chicken on a serving platter, with a serving fork on the side.

    Crackling Beer Can Chicken (For the Grill or Oven)

    Karen Tedesco
    With its crackling, smoke-infused skin and tender, juicy meat, this recipe puts an Italian-style spin on the classic beer can chicken. Seasoned with a brown sugar rub combined with fresh rosemary, garlic, and fennel seed, the flavor-infused bird can be prepared on an outdoor grill or indoors in the oven.
    Print Pin
    5 from 3 community reviews
    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Cook Time 1 hour
    Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
    Course Chicken
    Cuisine American
    Servings 4 servings

    Ingredients

    Chicken Rub

    • 2 tablespoons (30 g) brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons (30 g) chopped fresh rosemary or thyme, or 2 teaspoons dried
    • 1 tablespoon (15 g) coarsely cracked black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon (15 g) kosher salt, or 2½ teaspoons table salt
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds, or use fennel pollen for a "cheffy" touch
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

    Beer Can Chicken

    • 2 tablespoons (15 ml) olive oil
    • 1 3-4 pound (1.8 kg) whole chicken
    • 1 12-ounce can beer
    • 2-3 garlic cloves, smashed with a large knife

    Instructions 

    • To make the rub, combine the brown sugar, salt, chopped herbs, black pepper, fennel, garlic powder, and red pepper in a small bowl.
    • Put a foil-lined rimmed baking pan on your work surface. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Working over the pan, tuck the first joint of the wings behind the chicken's neck (this will help keep the wing tips from burning).
    • Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken to coat it thoroughly. Put 1 tablespoon of the rub in the cavity. Sprinkle the remaining rub over the front and back of the bird, rubbing it in evenly.
    • Pop the top of the beer. Pour ⅔ of the beer (8-ounces) out of the can into a glass and reserve as the chef's treat. Using a small, sharp knife, poke about a dozen holes all around the upper ⅓ of the can to allow steam to escape. Push the crushed garlic cloves into the can. Position the can in the center of the pan, and insert the can into the cavity. Gently push it down as far as it will go, until the chicken sits upright on the can.

    Grilling Method

    • 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-high (375-400F).
    • Put the pan holding the chicken in the center of the grill. Cover the grill and cook undisturbed for an hour, checking halfway through to be sure your grill temperature remains at a constant temperature of 375F. Add more coals during the process, if needed.
    • 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 165F.

    Oven Method

    • Move the oven rack to the bottom row. Preheat the oven to 400F (200C) degrees or 375F for a convection oven.
    • Roast the chicken for one hour, rotating the pan a ¼ turn every 15 minutes. The chicken should be nicely golden brown and spewing juice onto the pan. 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 165F.

    Serving

    • Let the chicken rest for at least 10-15 minutes. Gently tilt the chicken with a large fork, and pull the can out with a pair of tongs — be careful, it will be hot. (discard the liquid in the can). Carve the chicken into pieces and serve with the pan juices poured over.

    Karen’s Notes and Tips

    • Not into beer? Try this with Prosecco or other sparking wine. You don’t need to use an expensive bubbly, unless you happen to be drinking from an open bottle as you start to cook. 
    • You can also use this method with any empty 12-ounce can. Fill it halfway with white or red wine or even chicken broth.
    Inspired by grilling master Steven Raichlen

    Nutrition

    Calories: 100kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 572mg | Potassium: 78mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 119IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg

    Nutrition facts are calculated by third-party software. If you have specific dietary needs, please refer to your favorite calculator.

    Did you make this recipe? Search @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Pinterest

    Hey, I’m Karen

    Creator of Familystyle Food

    I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

    Leave a comment and star rating

    Do you have a cooking question? Leave your comment below and let me know how I can help.

    Did you love this recipe? Just click on the stars to leave a rating!

    Recipe rating




    Share your photo!Inspire others by uploading an image of your creation along with your review. The maximum upload file size: 512 MB. You can upload: image. Drop files here

    You may want to read my commenting policy before joining the conversation.

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    10 Comments

    1. 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!

    2. 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!

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

    4. 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!

      -Ashley

    5. Kristy Wendt says:

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

    6. 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.

      1. Oooh, Bellini can chicken?! Can’t wait to hear how you liked it.

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