Photography: Randy Mayor; Styling: Lydia DeGaris-Pursell
6 servings (serving size: 3 ounces chicken and about 2 tablespoons sauce)

"I like any recipe that starts with 'open a can of beer and drink half,'" says recipe developer and chef Steven Raichlen. American ingenuity has produced a variety of beer-can roasters that hold the can in place and stabilize the tipsy chicken. Aluminum cans bend easily under the pressure, so when piercing holes, it's a good idea to use a can-holding gadget.

How to Make It

Step 1

Open beer can; drink half. Carefully pierce top of beer can with "church-key" can opener several times; set aside. To prepare chicken, soak wood chips in water 1 hour. Combine salt, sugar, paprika, and pepper; set aside.

Step 2

To prepare grill for indirect grilling, place a disposable aluminum foil pan in center of grill. Arrange charcoal around foil pan; heat to medium heat.

Step 3

Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Rinse chicken with cold water; pat dry. Trim excess fat. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat.

Step 4

Rub 2 teaspoons spice mixture under loosened skin. Rub 2 teaspoons spice mixture in body cavity. Rub 2 teaspoons spice mixture over skin. Slowly add remaining spice mixture to beer can (salt will make beer foam). Holding chicken upright with the body cavity facing down, insert beer can into cavity.

Step 5

Drain wood chips. Place half of wood chips on hot coals. Coat grill rack with cooking spray. Place chicken on grill rack over drip pan. Spread legs out to form a tripod to support the chicken. Cover and grill 2 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into meaty portion of thigh registers 180°. Add remaining wood chips after 1 hour and charcoal as needed.

Step 6

Lift chicken slightly using tongs; place spatula under can. Carefully lift chicken and can; place on a cutting board. Let stand 5 minutes. Gently lift chicken using tongs or insulated rubber gloves; carefully twist can and remove from cavity. Discard skin and can.

Step 7

To prepare sauce, combine cola and remaining ingredients in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 6 minutes. Cool. Serve with chicken.

Recipes adapted from Steven Raichlen's books How to Grill (Workman, 2001) and BBQ USA (Workman, 2003)

Ratings & Reviews

brenro's Review

May 27, 2012

pamsy10's Review

May 12, 2009
This is over the top deliciious. We also bake this in the oven and the chicken is tender and moist every time. We don't care for the BBQ sauce and frankly this chicken is wonderful with nothing on it at all.

TappyAmsterdam's Review

June 15, 2011
This was by far, the BEST roasted chicken I have ever made. Easy and delicious. My husband couldn't stop raving about it. Fabulous. Will definitely make again, and we liked the sauce too.

NutsinNormal's Review

September 15, 2009
My husband and I both loved this chicken. He felt the flavor was so good that the sauce was unnecessary. I liked the extra flavor in the sauce and appreciated that it wasn't overpowering. We used a charcoal grill and found the 4-lb chicken to be done after about 1 1/2 hours. The skin was fairly blackened, but the meat underneath was absolutely succulent! I served it with orzo and roasted corn salad (also from CL) and old-fashoined cole-salw.

samyers828's Review

November 02, 2012

ADinSB's Review

July 27, 2009
I've been doing Beer-can chicken for years. THIS is the best - perfectly seasoned, & the sauce is wonderful. I double the sauce and reduce it by 2/3.

dburge's Review

July 15, 2009
I love making Beer-Can Chicken because it is simple to prepare and taste like you slaved in the kitchen. The BBQ sauce is not essential as the chicken is great without the sauce. The technique of loosening the chicken skin from the breast to season was new to me, but was a great idea. (I don't eat chicken skin and this allowed the seasoning placed where it counts.) Served with a crisp salad and cob corn.

WanPin's Review

September 10, 2012

twinsucf's Review

November 24, 2008
Loved the recipe!! And no, the chicken doesn't necessarily need the cola barbecue sauce but the sauce is fantastic! I will make the sauce again for other things! Yummy!

Orlyluv's Review

July 19, 2014