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Chili-Rubbed Beer Can Chicken

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Chili-Rubbed Beer Can Chicken

Chili-Rubbed Beer Can Chicken

Jessica Braider
The best thing about making beer can chicken is that it comes out perfectly cooked—juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside, even though you never touch it once it hits the grill. The theory is that the beer steams the chicken from the inside while the heat from the grill cooks it on the outside.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings


  • 12 oz. can of beer, any variety a Mexican beer would go well with these flavors
  • 3 - 4 lbs. whole chicken
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. hot Mexican or chipotle chili powder, or use additional regular chili powder
  • 1 tsp. Smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt if any of your spices above have added salt in them, cut this amount to 1/2 tsp.
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil


  • Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Using a can opener, fully open the top of the beer can and pour out, reserve, or drink half of it. Remove the package of giblets from inside the chicken's cavity.
  • In a small bowl, combine all the spices.
  • On a plate in the sink, pour the oil evenly over both sides of the chicken, then sprinkle and rub the spice mixture all over the chicken.
  • Reduce the heat on the grill to low and place the can of beer, open side up, in the center of the grill (over indirect heat if you have that ability). Put the chicken on top of the beer can so the can sits almost all the way inside the cavity of the chicken and the chicken’s neck is facing the top of the grill (this looks strange, like a headless chicken is sitting on top of a can).
  • Close the grill and cook the chicken without moving it for about an hour until a thermometer inserted deep into the meaty part of the leg, but not touching the bone, registers at least 160 degrees and the skin is deep brown and crispy.
  • Using oven mitts or two large cooking forks/spatulas, and keeping the can tucked inside the chicken cavity, remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest for 10 – 15 minutes in the same upright position it maintained on the grill - let it rest on a clean plate, not the plate that you used for the raw chicken. (If you are worried about dropping it, you can use a large pot to transport it.)
  • Lift the chicken off the beer can using a towel or mitt to hold the can, which may still be hot. Discard the remaining beer, recycle the can, and cut the chicken to serve it immediately, refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.


Do Ahead or Delegate: Combine the spices, rub them and the oil on the chicken and refrigerate, or fully prepare and refrigerate or freeze the chicken.
Scramble Flavor Booster: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the spices and/or serve the chicken with sriracha or barbecue sauce. (Click here for The Scramble’s homemade barbecue sauce recipe.)
Tip: If you only have bottled beer, just fill a clean 12 – 15 oz. can halfway with the beer. After cooking the chicken, the can may stick to the chicken a bit. Let the chicken cool for a few minutes and then you should be able to separate the two. (Thank you to longtime Scramble member Leanne Guido for the suggestions.)
Nutritional Information Per Serving (% based upon daily values): Calories 158, Total Fat: 6g, 8.5%; Saturated Fat: 1g, 5.5%; Cholesterol: 79mg, 26.5%; Sodium: 407mg, 17%; Total Carbohydrate: 1g, 0.1%; Dietary Fiber: 0g, 0%; Sugar: 0g; Protein: 25g
Like this recipe? Check out The Scramble's family-friendly meal plans to see just how simple getting dinner on the table can be!
Keyword Dairy-Free, Dinner, Fall, Freezer-Friendly, Gluten-Free, Grilling, Kosher, Low Fat, Low Sodium, Main Dish, Make-Ahead, No Added Sugar, Nut-Free, Spring, Summer, Winter
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