Easy Beer-Can Chicken Recipe

Steven Raichlen is renowned for his innovative grilling techniques and robust flavors. Using his principles as inspiration, here's a flavorful and juicy beer can chicken recipe that incorporates some of Raichlen's favorite elements:


For the Chicken:

1 whole chicken (3.5-4 pounds)
1 can of beer (12 ounces)
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Spice Rub:

1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano

For the Basting Sauce:

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup beer (from the can)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


Prepare the Chicken:

Remove any giblets from the chicken cavity and pat the chicken dry with paper towels.

Rub the chicken all over with olive oil.

Apply the Spice Rub:

In a small bowl, mix together the smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, thyme, and oregano.

Generously coat the chicken with the spice rub, ensuring it gets into all the nooks and crannies.

Prepare the Beer Can:

Open the can of beer and pour out (or drink) about a quarter of it. Optionally, use a can opener to remove the top of the can for better flavor infusion.

Add 2 cloves of minced garlic and 2 sprigs of fresh thyme into the can.

Position the Chicken:

Carefully place the chicken upright over the beer can, inserting the can into the cavity of the chicken.

Ensure the chicken stands upright stably. You can use a beer can chicken holder if you have one.

Preheat the Grill:

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (about 375°F/190°C) for indirect grilling. If using a charcoal grill, set it up for indirect heat.

Grill the Chicken:

Place the chicken on the grill, balancing it on its two legs and the beer can like a tripod.

Close the lid and grill for about 1 to 1.5 hours, or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165°F (74°C).

Prepare the Basting Sauce:

While the chicken is grilling, combine apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup beer, olive oil, honey, minced garlic, smoked paprika, and crushed red pepper flakes in a bowl.

Mix well.

During the last 30 minutes of grilling, baste the chicken with the sauce every 10 minutes.

Rest and Serve:

Carefully remove the chicken from the grill using tongs and an oven mitt (the can and the liquid will be very hot).

Let the chicken rest for 10-15 minutes before carving to allow the juices to redistribute.

Carve the chicken and serve with your favorite sides.

Flavor Variations: You can customize the spice rub and basting sauce to your liking by adding different herbs and spices.

Safety Note: Be careful when handling the hot beer can to avoid burns. Use tongs and an oven mitt for safety.

This beer can chicken, inspired by Steven Raichlen, combines smoky, spicy, and sweet flavors to create a juicy and delicious bird perfect for any grilling occasion.


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