Beer Can Chicken on the Grill?

Who has the secret tips and tricks?

Does the bird cook any faster or differently by virtue of the “steam” effect? What’s your preferred liquid or rub?

Do you use a purpose-made rack/suppository, and do you recommend it?

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Parlor trick. I think the vertical position makes for even cooking, but the beer just doesn’t do anything. It’s a waste of beer. Drink the beer, use the empty can to prop the chicken. Grease the can a little to make it easier to remove from the chicken’s cavity later. I doubt the liquid ever vaporizes, because it’s basically insulated by the chicken itself, and if the can got hot enough to produce steam, the chicken in contact with it would be overcooked.


I have always been nervous about using a can that has ink on it so I have not tried it. Your comment about the purpose built rack makes me curious to give it a try, though.
I used to just clean the bird, rub salt, pepper and rosemary on it and chuck it in the oven, rotating once.
Last month I tried Two Lemon Chicken and I think I will stick with that one. Prep is simple, just perforate two lemons, wash the chicken, quick rub of spices and put the lemons inside the chicken and the chicken in the oven at 350°. Breast down for 30 min then rotate and cook another 25-30 mminutes and check for doneness.
I taste tested the chicken in the photo before i remembered to take a photo. Great skin and both white and dark meat were done right.

Sorry for a threadjack but it worked for this tyro so I thought I would share.


I tried it once many years ago. I wrapped the beer can first in crumbled foil with the top open. Just meh.


Well, if we’re only talking about an actual beer can, you may be right. I suppose it would depend on the level of heat being imparted to the bottom of the can.

However, there are several designs of purpose-built racks that sit into pans that certainly would generate steam at roasting temperatures. Here’s one with an interesting sealed design that looks like it would actually direct steam into the cavity (and maybe without also steaming the bird’s exterior. I have one of these on order to try.

As for overcooking, this method could result in shorter cook times, which might allow higher temperatures without burning.

Anyway, I’m going to give it a try.

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Long ago and far away, I had a larger version of the “suppository” wire cone/rack for turkey. I actually used it for turkey and I would have remembered had it been a fail. The problem with it was a large turkey, stood on end and mounted on the rack is too tall for most home ovens.

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I have a metal contraption for this purpose and have used it to prop the bird upright. I don’t use liquid as I don’t think it does anything.

I’m not sure the upright position helps either; but to my way of thinking, it seems beneficial to align the axis of symmetry of the chicken (by making it sit upright) with the direction of heat movement in the kamado (bottom to top) to make the cooking more even.

However, I’m not sure I’d be able to distinguish a bird cooked upright vs horizontal, all other things being equal.


You may be right about the liquid doing nothing. We’ll see.

I sprung for this set ($50) only because it includes a SS drip pan, and the insert pan looks like it would be good to roat vehetables in the draining chicken fat. We’ll see about that, too.

I like the design of the one you chose.

Mine is branded Williams-Sonoma but is no longer sold by them. It looks meaty identical to this one:

The base is useful for roasting veggies, though the holes in mine don’t allow for retention of juices.

I use a vertical rack like this one.

I brine the bird, pat dry, use a garlicky rub, attach the vertical rack and grill the bird until done.

That’s what I bought originally, for turkey.

What appealed to me about the Napoleon one is that the steam is directed away from the exterior, i.e., the skin.

We’ll see if it works…

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Still waiting on the new rack, but roasted a
chicken horizontallly last night in the Egg.

It was very good and moist, but the skin was not crispy enough for me.


That looks pretty darned good! I spent yesterday making chicken soup. I love the scent of cooking chicken, roasted or simmering!
What did you do with the giblets? I minced up everything except the liver and added them to the broth. I put the liver in a small portion of the soup and served it separately. It was interesting but not as good as the liver-less servings.

THAT is perfection. Was the skin as crispy as it looks?

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This time the dogs got the giblets.

We made pasta and Morels in a garlic cream sauce, and roast beets to go with.

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Natascha, the skin was just about perfect for me. I am not a roast chicken expert so I was really happy with the results. Now to find out if I can replicate my first Two Lemon Chicken recipe at a later date…

Kaleo, I bet the dogs were pretty pleased with you! LOL! And your morel comment is the third mention I have heard of morels this week. I do not think I have ever had one and I like mushrooms. I will have to figure out where to get some fresh ones.
Or maybe just one to try it out.


You’re going to like the metal vertical rack then. The bird gets that crisp you want.


You didn’t ask, but here’s my take on a whole chick on the BGE is:

  1. Spatchcock a bird and dry-brine with s&p overnight.
  2. Set up the grill - grate raised - for both direct and indirect cooking. Soak some mesquite chips.
  3. Bring bird to room temp. Preheat grill to 400. Toss in the chips just before putting on the bird.
  4. Grill indirect skin-side up (lid closed) for 20 minutes.
  5. Grill indirect skin side down (lid closed) for 20 minutes.
  6. Grill direct skin-side up (lid closed) for about 6 minutes - thigh should be reaching 155-160 or so by now. (and if not, keep cooking).
  7. Grill direct skin-side down (lid OPEN) for 2-5 minutes to desired color and temp. Don’t walk away from the bird for this last bit - the skin can become charcoal quickly, if not monitored.

At all times, I keep the dark meat (legs and thighs) pointing towards the center of the grill , and the white meat (breast) pointing to the perimeter.


I think I’ll try lemon butt chicken next time. Sounds like it actually worked to your liking. Sure as heck looks great. Thanks for posting.

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Yeah, the dogs eat pretty well, and Wahine slips them all sorts of things, so they’re shameless beggars.

Yes, definitely try morels. Big and fresh is best, but small and dried are fine, too. The dried reconstitute in water and stocks, and the drain liquid (if clean) is very flavorful. Sometimes fresh are hard to clean–I settle for <100%.

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