Moist chicken, every time.

For some reason, I’d never tried this. Perhaps because I generally drink bottled beer? Finally gave it a shot, and it’s now my favorite way to cook chicken! The beer can really just provides fluid to make sure the chicken doesn’t dry out, and it results in a super-moist bird in about 90 minutes on the grill. In fact, you can buy sturdier cylinders that provide better stability, which is the way to go if you also fall in love with this method of cooking.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 1-1-1/2 hours


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp onion powder
  • 2 Tbsp basil
  • 1 Tbsp thyme
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 can beer (with 1/2 the liquid removed)

Once you realize the can is just there to hold fluid and spices, the options are endless. I’ve actually found in a side-by-side test, we liked this with a crisp white wine even better than beer. You have multiple ways you can deal with the can. Just open it, pour out beer, optionally shake in some spices. You can add more holes to the top, or my favorite, just take a can opener to it, and remove the entire top.

Once you’ve removed the top of the can, you’ll actually find that after inserting the can into the bird, you can pour things directly into the neck, and into the can, so you don’t have to do the “carefully put the half-full can into the bird” dance most instructions recommend. Just empty the can, put it in the bird, get the bird balanced on your grill, and pour spices and liquid in directly. Feel free to experiment to find your favorite way, or to fill the can first, I just found this method the easiest for me.


  • Remove giblets from chicken, wash inside and out and pat dry
  • Open can, pour out 1/2 of liquid into a measuring cup, or other easy-pour container
  • Remove entire top of can with a can opener
  • Reserve other 1/2 of liquid in whatever way you like. May even be a good time to put it in a chilled glass to drink
  • Rub oil on the outside of the chicken
  • Mix together the spices, season inside and out, reserving about 1 Tbsp of combined spices
  • Add spices to reserved beer (or your favorite other liquid: chicken stock, wine).
  • Insert empty can into the “bottom” opening (the side with the legs), if you’ve totally removed the top, be careful not to deform the can too much
  • Put chicken with can on the grill, balancing the chicken on the can, and the two legs
  • Carefully pour reserved liquid into the “neck” area, which is now facing up (optionally, you can put liquid in before inserting into chicken, which is what most recipes recommend)
  • Cook chicken on indirect heat, medium heat, about 400º, for 1-1-1/2 hours (depending on the size of your bird), until breast is about 160º, or thighs are at 180º
  • Carefully remove chicken from grill, without tilting, and using tongs or heat-proof grill gloves, slide can out of chicken (it will obviously be quite hot, as is the liquid inside).
  • Let chicken rest for 10 minutes, carve and serve!