Beer-Brined and Backyard Barbecued Beer Can Chicken

The crown jewel of American summer cookouts – heirloom whole chicken, brined, stuffed with aromatics and barbecued upright over a… beer can. That’s right, a beer can!! These beautiful birds are not only show-stoppers atop the grill grates, but if simply prepared following the easy-breezy instruction below, I guarantee juicy, succulent and smoky chicken, every single time!

These chickens were marinated overnight in a brine bath of lager beer, brown sugar and kosher salt. Hours before hitting the grill, the chickens were removed from the brine, rinsed, patted dry with paper towel, rested upon the counter until near room temperature, then rubbed in a a robust olive oil and bold blend of kosher salt, ground black peppercorn and toasted cumin seeds, dried chilies, roasted garlic and onion, smoked paprika, brown sugar, lemon zest and a garden of minced fresh herbs.

Perched comfortably over a craft-brewed Belgian-style Ale, both birds were rested carefully upon the indirectly-heated grill grates of my Twin Eagles Grill, then slowly barbecued and intermittently basted in browned butter until sweet and savory, tender perfection. This Twin Eagles Grill is perfect for beer can chicken because of it’s broad capacity to cook low and slow or high and hot. Also, it’s ultra-efficient briquette-cooking system distributes heat consistently and evenly from side to side and wall to wall, while the below-grate burner dividers allow for control of heat distribution across multiple cooking zones. And, that’s a recipe for success!

These beer can birds were rested after cooking for 15 minutes, carved in half, served with the crispy skin on, over skewers of charred seasonal vegetables and all washed down with an ice cold and golden Pure Michigan brew. Life just doesn’t get much better. -Cheers, David

Beer-Brined and Barbecued Beer Can Chicken

Ingredients

Beer Brine

  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 cans cheap beer

Beer-Brined and Barbecued Beer Can Chicken

  • 2 4-5 pound whole chickens, trimmed and giblets removed
  • Olive oil
  • Your favorite homemade or store-bought BBQ rub
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground peppercorn, to taste
  • Browned butter
  • Fresh parsley and thyme, to garnish
  • Zest of 2 lemons

Instructions

  • In a large heavy-bottom pot bring water, salt and sugar to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and allow the water to cool to room temperature. Immerse chicken in the cooled water, pour in beer, cover and refrigerate for 8, up to overnight. Remove chicken from brine at least 3 hours prior to cooking, rinse under cold water and pat entirely dry with paper towel. Discard brine. Place chicken uncovered back in the refrigerator for 1 hour to further dry and tighten the skin.
  • Remove chicken from refrigerator 2 hours prior to grilling and rest on the counter to begin returning the bird to room temperature. Meanwhile, drizzle the chicken with olive oil inside and out, then massage a liberal amount of dry rub, salt and peppercorn into all portions of the chicken. Open a room temperature beer, drink (or discard) half the contents, then slide the whole chicken onto the beer can.
  • Preheat the grill to low-medium heat and simply place the beer can-stuffed chicken over the coolest, indirectly-heated grill grates – balancing the bird upright upon the beer can and it’s 2 legs. Slowly roast the chicken for 60-90 minutes, intermittently rotating and basting the bird every 30 minutes with browned butter, until internal temperature in the dark thigh meat reaches 165F and juices run clear.
  • Carefully remove the chicken from the grill (attentive to the scolding metal beer can positioned inside the chicken) and transfer to a cutting board. Tent with tin foil and rest for 15-20 minutes before discarding the beer. Carve in serving portions, season additionally to taste, garnish with lemon zest and fresh herbs, then plate alongside seasonal vegetables and an ice cold craft brew.
Written by Live Fire Republic
David Olson is a nationally-recognized American Culinary Federation Chef, television personality and international social media influencer, award-winning recipe developer, live fire grill master, global adventurer-extraordinaire, and the creator behind, "Live Fire Republic." David has an organic and attentive audience of more than two million households weekly via countless television and event appearances, his blog, and various print, radio and social media channels. Meanwhile his recipes and creative content continue to be shared across the web and in print publications from sea to shining sea. For all media inquiries, please email PR agency, The Lisa Ekus Group; Boston, MA - Jaimee Constantine, 413.247.9325 or jaimee@lisaekus.com.