Beer Can Chicken

4 to 5 pound whole chicken
Hawaiian salt and herb mix (see below)
12-ounce can of beer, any brand


Oven:  350 degrees
Prep time:  10 min.
Cooking time:  2 hours

Make sure your oven has the rack-to-ceiling space needed to accommodate the height of the chicken, plus an inch or so, in a pan before you start preheating. In my oven, I need to remove the highest rack.

Set oven for 350 degrees. Line pan with foil to make for easier clean up.

Remove innards of chicken.  (You could freeze these and use for gravy.)  Rinse the inside and outside of chicken with cool water and dry with paper towels.

Open the beer, place in center of foil-lined pan, and mount the chicken on the can.

This can seem challenging, perhaps even creepy, the first time you do it, but as you become more adept at this your tolerance for handling a dead headless animal increases. This point of the food preparation process would be a good time to express gratitude to the chicken for giving her life.

Make sure the chicken is stably resting on the can. You don’t want to spill the beer.

Rub the sea salt and herb mix over the chicken, including under the wings.

Make a foil tent to rest on the top of the chicken. Don’t pinch the sides to seal, don’t press foil against the chicken. Just make a tent. There’s no wind in the oven so it will stay in place.

Place the pan and chicken in the oven and set the timer for 1 hour.

At the end of the hour, remove the tent and set the timer for 1 more hour.

Let the chicken rest for about 10 – 15 minutes before carving.

Caveat:  Having a second person at this point is helpful:  one person to take a long chopstick and stick it down the hole into the beer can, while the other person, with paper-toweled hands around the chicken’s body, lifts.  But it can be done solo, by inserting the chopstick and gripping it with your teeth.

Use paper towels to take the still-hot beer can to the sink.

Since this roasting method yields a very juicy chicken, place the cutting board in a shallow pan to catch the juice.


alaea salt

Aalea Hawaiian salt or other coarse sea salt
Whatever dry herbs you like or have handy (basil, oregano, parsley, tarragon, etc.)
Cayenne pepper (gotta have this)

I put a bunch of salt in a jar and just start sprinkling in dried herbs and cayenne and shaking it until it looks good.  I use this salt as a rub for a pork roast, too.


  • When my friend tried this recipe, he told me he was disappointed that he couldn’t taste the beer.  “Well, Bob,” I said, “I don’t think you’re supposed to.”  I haven’t noticed any difference depending on the kind of canned beer used.
  • In any case, some people have made a point of debunking beer can chicken.  One of the complaints is dealing with the insertion and removal of the beer can.
  • I have never made beer can chicken on a grill or in a cooker, always in my oven.  On purpose.  For parties, I like to offer a non-grilled, non-fried protein.  Incidentally, most doctors recommend we avoid grilling and frying and go for baking, broiling, or boiling.


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