Beer Can Chicken

beer can chicken
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  • Two 12-ounce cans lager- or pilsner-style beer
  • 10 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 fryer chickens, about 3 lb each



Pour half the beer from each can into a bowl.

Add the lemon juice, barbecue sauce, 2 tsp of the salt, and 1 tsp of the pepper.

Leave each beer can half full of beer and set aside.


Preheat a gas grill to medium-high; leave one burner off.

If you are using a charcoal grill, build a fire and let it burn down until the coals are glowing red with a moderate coating of white ash.

Spread the coals in an even bed on one side of the grill.

Clean the cooking grate.

Blot the chickens dry and season with the remaining 2 tsp salt and the remaining 1 tsp pepper.

If you are using vertical roasters, add the reserved beer to the reservoirs in the roasters, assemble the roasters, and set the chickens on the roasters.

If cooking the chickens on the beer cans, set the cans on the grill over direct heat and carefully lower the chickens onto them.

Position the legs so that they balance the chickens. Grill over direct heat, covered, until golden, using a clean cotton mop to daub the chickens every 10 minutes with the mopping sauce, about 20 minutes.

Move the chickens to indirect medium heat and continue to cook them until they are a rich brown and cooked through (165 degrees F), another 40 minutes.

Remove the chickens from the beer cans or roasters, transfer to a platter, and let rest for 15 minutes.

Cut into quarters with a kitchen fork and boning knife. Serve on a heated platter or plates.

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