Beer Can Chicken for the Grill

beer can chicken leg

Beer Can Chicken

Beer can chicken is also known as beer up the butt chicken. Why? because the chicken cooks with a light beer up its butt; gently steaming and juicing the bird from the inside as it cooks on your grill or smoker for hours. Every chicken deserves a beer up the butt for more than the tenderness of your meat; it will also transfer some of that great hoppy beer flavor into the meat. I used a light blond from Kona Brewery in Hawaii and I enjoyed the liquid aloha with every bite. This post has Amazon affiliate links, so if you want to get any of the products I talk about, they are just a click away!

If you liked this recipe, you will also like our grilled chicken wings too. Make sure to come back and try them.

beer can chicken leg

This is a very easy recipe and I believe it would be nearly impossible to do wrong. But, leave it to the internet to find ways of breaking easy things, so I give very simple instructions to make a perfect beer can chicken on the grill below.


  • 1 whole chicken
  • seasoning
  • 2 beers. One for drinking, and one for cooking.


I have a Traeger Grill and love it so much I highly recommend you getting one. I just set the temperature and forget about it while the grill does all the smoking and work for me. You can’t screw it up.

We also used a beer can holder to hold the chicken. I put some below you may be interested in. A holder makes sure you don’t knock over the chicken during the long cook.


First, remove the giblets and other weird chicken parts from the chicken cavity. Then place the first beer in a chicken beer holder like I show above.

Pat the outside of the chicken dry with a paper towel and let the bird mount the beer can. Use butter to help lubricate it if necessary. Season the chicken with your favorite dry rub seasoning thoroughly coating the outside of the bird.

beer can chicken dry rub

Place the chicken on your grill. I cooked it at 250 for an hour and a half and then finished it at 375 for another hour. Doesn’t he look nice and cozy in there!

beer can chicken on smoker

The meat was incredible. The skin and outside formed a delicious crust and the inside was steamy hot and smelled like the beer. It took my kids about 10 minutes to put the whole bird down. I actually only got about five bites in before my children picked the carcass clean. 

beer can chicken

If you liked this recipe, you may also like our smoked pulled pork and ribs recipe as well.

Consider serving the chicken with a side of pasta salad or fried kale. For a more hearty option, make our smoked baked beans

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