Beer Can Chicken (Dancing Chicken)

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Beer Can Chicken


The story behind Beer Can Chicken (Dancing Chicken)

If you want an easy way to cook a delicious, tender, juicy chicken on the BBQ…then this recipe for Beer Can Chicken is it.   We like to call them “dancing chickens” because of the way they look when cooking on the grill…with their wings tucked behind their heads.

Inserting a chicken onto a can of beer keeps it moist as the beer bubbles and bastes the chicken from the inside; the flavorful rub makes it delicious and the slow-cooking gives it tender fall off the bone goodness.  You don’t need to be concerned about cooking with the beer if you have children, because all the alcohol cooks away, leaving just great flavor.  But if you are, and you don’t want to use beer, try a coke, or maybe some ginger ale.  It’s really mostly a self-basting technique.


beer can chicken stand

For many years I just precariously positioned the chicken on the grill, using its own legs like a tripod.  It never fell over, but I have to admit this handy stand makes it a lot more stable and easier to get on and off the grill.  For less than $10.00 I highly recommend you get yourself one!  (beer can chicken holder)



Beer Can Chicken on the BBQ

Doesn’t it look like it’s dancing?


What if I don’t like beer?

I have had people, who don’t like or drink beer, tell me they had good results using a canned soft drink in place of the beer. Sounds logical that something with a bit of spice, such as Dr. Pepper, or a cola would give some good flavoring and moisture to the inside of the chicken.

So if you don’t do beer, do soda!


Beer Can Chicken (Dancing Chicken)


  • 1 large (4 - 5 pound) whole chicken
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons Rub (recipe follows)
  • 1 12 ounce can beer (you choose)
  • For the Rub:

  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon crushed dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon crushed dried thyme
  • (mix all together in a jar, shake until combined, store for up to six months)


Step 1

Set up the grill for indirect grilling at medium heat. If you have a thermometer on your grill, it should stay between 300°F and 325°F.

Step 2

Remove giblets from the chicken and rinse it well under cold running water. Pat dry inside and out with paper towels. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the rub inside the cavity. Rub the outside of the chicken with the olive oil and then rub about 3 tablespoons of the rub all over its body. Tuck the wings behind the back of the chicken.

Step 3

Pull the tab off the beer can and then using a "church key" opener, make 4 - 6 more holes. Pour (or drink) the top inch of beer; then spoon the remaining dry rub into the can. Holding the chicken upright, with the body cavity down, insert the beer can into the cavity of the chicken.

Step 4

Stand the chicken up in the center of the hot grate, over a drip pan, spread the legs out to form a tripod to support the bird (or get the beer stand). Cover the grill and cook until fall off the bone tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Step 5

Using tongs, remove the bird to a cutting board, being careful not to spill the hot beer on yourself. Let stand 5 minutes before carving.


Beer Can Chicken (Dancing Chicken)

Beer Can Chicken (Dancing Chicken)

LindySez:  You could make this with some Cornish Game hens as well.  Then decrease the cooking time to 1 hour total.

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