John’s Beer Can Chicken

Beer Can ChickenHello everyone,

So anyone living in Edmonton will have experienced our higher than normal temperatures last week. I’m not sure how high they actually got, but when planting my garden out in our south-facing back yard, it felt pretty hot to me! And when the weather gets hot, it’s time for a beer! Nothing will make your day and ruin the next like beer!

Beer, beer, wonderful beer! Drink it on a nice hot day, or while watching the Oilers loose (Or the Oil King win whoop whoop! Memorial cup champs 2014!) You might like your fancy import beers, or perhaps you prefer your flavourless domestics as I do. After my visit to Texas, I am now a Pabst Blue Ribbon faithful. I was informed last weekend that this beer is actually not that good, and I refused to believe it (Steven, you broke my heart with your harsh words about my beloved PBR.)

Now as many of you know, beer is not only good for drinking on a hot summer day, but it is also great for cooking. Beer batters, marinades, Guiness stews, beer is great ingredient. But my favourite beer recipe has always been beer can chicken.

Growing up at the lake, my dad would always BBQ beer can chicken. I remember thinking how funny the chicken looked perched there his little stool, a beer can. A chef at heart, my dad always did such a wonderful job. The chicken was always so succulent, the best ever, so moist and flavourful. This year, John took a crack at beer can chicken for the first time. As you can imagine, it was to die for! And the best part is that beer can chicken is surprisingly simple.

In a nutshell:

Cover the chicken in a rub and some oil. Drink a few big gulps from a can of beer. Add herbs and seasoning to the can and insert can in chicken. Heat your barbecue to 350 degrees and place chicken on barbecue. While your chicken is cooking, enjoy a beer or two. Barbecue your chicken for about an hour and a half, or until the chicken breast reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Beer Can Chicken DinnerPictured left: Beer Can Chicken Dinner at the Lake – Roasted Red Pepper Rub, Baby Potatoes with Lemon Herb Aoli, Roaster Asparagus and Coleslaw. This chicken was done in a brine and very tender despite some barbecue issues

As an added bonus, John smoked his chicken with maple. If you don’t have a smoker, consider purchasing a smoker box for you BBQ! John would be glad to answer any questions you may have about smoker boxes and smoking.


–  Use a meat thermometer!
– Try brining your chicken, especially if you are concerned that it may overcook. Although it will be a little saltier, the chicken will be ultimately tender. Steven did this at the cabin the other weekend with a very finicky 20+ year old barbecue, and it was wonderfully tender and delicious!
– Try using any combination of herbs or rubs that you like. John and I have really been enjoying lemon pepper lately. We did one at the lake with this roasted pepper seasoning that my mom got at Costco that was just fantastic too.
– For those of you who don’t have temperature gauges on your barbecues, turn your BBQ to medium on one side of the grill, and place your chicken on the other, using indirect heat.
– I like to freeze my leftover chicken carcass and turn it into a soup later!
– If you are concerned about using aluminium to cook your chicken, you can purchase beer can chicken holders made of steel. John got one at Lowe’s the other day that even has a tray attached to it so you can roast vegetables. We have yet to try it out, but it looks great!

Ingredient I can’t live without:


Herb/spice of the week

John and I have been loving this rub. We even found it in the bulk section at Save-On-Foods!

So go grab a couple of beers – one for the chicken, and one for you – and enjoy!

Bon appetit,


Click here to view printable Word version of recipe:
John’s Beer Can Chicken


John’s Beer Can Chicken

Time: About 1.5 hours


1 whole chicken
1 can beer (we lake Pabst Blue Ribbon)
1/2 cup high heat cooking oil – grape seed oil preferred
Fresh basil, thyme and sage.
Rosemary optional.
3 cloves garlic.
Lemon pepper seasoning

To prepare marinade, combine all ingredients (except lemon pepper) and blend well. Rub chicken with blended mixture then cover with lemon pepper.

Take two big sips of your beer so it is about 1/3 empty. Top off with any remaining herbs and garlic mixture. Insert beer can into upright chicken. Extend chicken’s legs so that it sits upright(like a tri-pod)

BBQ Directions:

1. Heat BBQ or smoker to 350 F.

2. Place chicken on rack/grill.

3. If you are smoking, use maple wood. If using a barbecue, consider adding smoker box with maple chips. Place box on far side of barbecue – under grill away from chicken. (Consult John for more information on smoker boxes.)

4. Cook until chicken breast temperature reaches 165 F. This will take approx. 1.5 hours. This is where your meat thermometer pays off.

5. Remove can from chicken and serve.

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