Here's our spin on the roast-a-chicken-on-top-of-a-can-of-beer technique that's popular with barbecue aficionados. To simplify things, we just pour a little beer inside the chicken as it cooks. The beer keeps the meat juicy and a smoky-flavored spice rub both under and over the skin gives it extra flavor. Barbecuing poultry with the skin on helps prevent the meat from drying out. To keep calories and fat in check, remove the skin before serving.

EatingWell Test Kitchen
Source: EatingWell Magazine, May/June 2009


Recipe Summary

1 hr 45 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat a gas grill (with all burners lit) to 400 degrees F or build a fire in a charcoal grill and let it burn down to medium heat (about 400 degrees F).

  • Combine paprika, oregano, salt, brown sugar, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, chipotle chile and pepper in a small bowl.

  • Remove giblets from chicken (if included) and trim any excess skin. Loosen the skin over the breast and thigh meat. Rub the spice mixture under the skin onto the breast meat and leg meat, a little on the skin and inside the cavity. Tuck wings under the body and tie the legs together with kitchen string.

  • If using a gas grill, turn off one burner (leaving 1 to 2 burners lit, depending on your grill). If using a charcoal grill, move the coals to one side. Wearing an oven mitt, carefully place a drip pan under the grill rack on the unheated side. Place the chicken breast-side down on the rack over the pan. Pour half the beer into the cavity (it's OK if some drips out into the drip pan).

  • Close the lid and roast undisturbed for 45 minutes.

  • Turn the chicken breast-side up. Pour the remaining beer into the cavity. Cover and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 165 degrees F, 30 to 45 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board; let rest for 10 minutes before removing the string and carving.


Equipment: Kitchen string, metal or foil drip pan

Shopping tip: Smoked paprika and ground chipotle chile can be found in the spice section of well-stocked supermarkets or online at

Nutrition Facts

152 calories; protein 26.8g 54% DV; carbohydrates 2.5g 1% DV; exchange other carbs; dietary fiber 0.9g 4% DV; sugars 0.9g; fat 3.3g 5% DV; saturated fat 0.9g 5% DV; cholesterol 72.3mg 24% DV; vitamin a iu 659.2IU 13% DV; vitamin c 0.2mg; folate 5.8mcg 2% DV; calcium 30.2mg 3% DV; iron 1.5mg 8% DV; magnesium 29.4mg 11% DV; potassium 263.3mg 7% DV; sodium 646.4mg 26% DV; thiamin 0.1mg 7% DV; added sugar 1g.

Reviews (6)

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6 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 6
  • 4 star values: 0
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
Tasty and tender I made this recipe with company coming so I was hoping it was good and it was! prepping was easy and once we put it in the grill we only checked it a couple of times. It took longer than the time stated on the recipe to cook but not much. Will definitely make it again. I only have to figure out a way to get more beer to stay inside the chicken! Pros: easy don't have to check it too often Cons: beer was hard to pour and make it stay in the chicken Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Excellent taste and very moist We made this for a 4th of July cook-off and it was delicious! We chose it because it was lower in calories than the ribs everyone else brought but it still has that backyard BBQ kind of tone. And I am not a fan of cooking food with with metal near/in it as the traditional beer can chicken is. So this was a great way to get that flavor. Thanks! Pros: moist flavorful low calorie Cons: cooking time was longer than the recipe said Read More
Rating: 5 stars
This was so good and tender easy to make. We will make it again. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
A-mazing! It was easy to make and tasted sooo good! I ended up using my crockpot to make this chicken but did not miss the BBQ-ing at all. We spent they day out on the lake and came home to a delicious dinner! (served with the Garden Pasta Salad - leftover chicken made a great addition to this salad the next day for lunch!) Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I'm going to the market right now to get ingredients I need to make this recipe. I think this is great. Thank you for the recipe. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I planned to make this recipe using oil salt and Jamaican jerk rub (not the spices listed here) to make my work effort as little as possible. I had already made rub in advance (I make a larger rub mixture in advance so it is easy to grab and store it in a small glass canning jar). I realized that I had accidentally purchased a pre-cut (organic) chicken and not a whole (organic) chicken. Because of my situation I used the general idea for this recipe and modified it as best as I could. I did the following: 1) went out to my garden and cut enough fresh rosemary to coat the bottom of my half sheet pan (I have a big plant) 2) rinsed & dried the chicken 3) Rubbed kosher salt all over the chicken pieces 4) coated chicken with olive oil 5) coated the chicken which the pre-made Jamaican jerk rub 5) placed the chicken on top of the rosemary in the pan 6) poured a can of beer into the shallow half sheet pan. 7) Put it in the oven at 450oF for 10 min 8) dropped the temp to 325oF and cooked it for another hour. I just took it out and tasted it and it is great! The rosemary flavor is strong so if you don't like rosemary this isn't for you. Only down side was the organic chicken pieces are only 3.5 lbs total (I weighed it before I started) so there isn't that much meat on the chicken compared to the larger chicken pieces purchased at the stores. Read More