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I’m going to show you a simple way on how to grill beer can chicken that turns out moist and delicious. It looks pretty weird to see a whole chicken standing erect on top of a beer can. You might be asking yourself what is the point, can it really be that good. The answer to that is yes.

Grilling a chicken on a beer can allows all the fat to drain off since it is sitting in the upright position. This helps with giving the chicken a nice How to Grill Beer Can Chickencrispy skin. The beer can isn’t just there to hold the chicken upright, the beer steams up and flavors the bird.

First off you are going to need a whole chicken. A chicken that is about 3 ½ to 4 pounds is perfect for using with a 12 oz. can of beer. Set up your gas or charcoal grill medium indirect heat. Basically you are going to be grill the beer can chicken on the opposite side of the heat source. If you are using a charcoal grill place an aluminum drip pan in the center and the coals on both sides of the pan.

While your grill is heating up you will want to prepare your chicken. Season your chicken with your favorite rub inside and out. You can find premade spice rubs at the store, or come up with one on your own. Simply seasoning it with salt and pepper works too.

Now grab a 12 oz. can of your favorite beer. If this is your first beer can chicken I’d start out with a light lager beer such as your Budweiser, Miller, or Coors. Later on feel free to try out some other styles of beers. There are a ton of craft beers out there now that can add some interesting flavor to your chicken.

It is important to open the can of beer before you put it on the grill, otherwise a sealed can will explode. So here is the tough part, pop the top and drink half of the beer. I like to add in a couple extra holes in the top as well, so I take a church key style can opener and poke a couple more holes in it. If you have a bit of extra rub left, sprinkle some in the can of beer.

Slide the chicken onto the beer. Keep lowering it until it fits well around the can. Pull the legs forward so it looks like it is standing and place it on the grill. The chicken should be away from the heat source.  I like to add a little smoke to my beer can chicken, so I will toss in some apple wood chips or chunks. Apple or hickory wood works really well with chicken. If you are going to add smoke, you will want to soak the chips or chunks for about an hour. If you are using a gas grill, you can smoke the chicken too, just check out my post on smoking with a gas grill.

Now grill the chicken for about 1 ½ hours. You may need to add more charcoal and wood chips during this time. When the chicken is done it should read about 180F with an instant read thermometer inserted in the thigh.

When it is done carefully remove the chicken from the beer can. Using tongs helps with this. Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes before carving. That is how to grill beer can chicken that turns out fabulous.

Like I said before feel free to experiment with different beer styles to add a unique flavor to the chicken. Also you can find beer in the larger 16 oz. cans, which works great for a larger chicken, or even a duck. There is also the mini sized cans which are 8 oz. Those can be used for game hens. Also you don’t have to just use beer, try out different sodas as well, such as lemon lime, root beer, or colas.

To make the whole process of grill beer can chicken easier, they make beer can chicken holders. The one I found is a double holder which will hold two chickens. It’s perfect for when you have several people over. The nice thing about these holders is you won’t have to worry about the chicken tipping over while grilling, and it makes it easy for removing the chicken from the grill because it has handles. They definitely make the whole process easier. You Can Check Out the One I’m Talking About Here.

image courtesy of RiverRat3/flickr

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