Beercan Chicken on the BBQ: interesting technique or gimmick?

If you are looking for a tasty and original way to prepare chicken on the barbecue, beercan chicken is definitely worth a try. Beercan chicken, also known as beer can chicken, is a method in which a whole chicken is placed on an open can of beer and then cooked on the barbecue. But what makes this method so special and what are its advantages? In this post we consider how you can make beercan chicken, whether there is added value and if so: “what?” Afterwards you decide whether you want to give this tough-looking recipe a chance! I am already looking forward to your reaction!

Disclaimer: post in paid partnership with Lidl Belgium. All opinions expressed are personal and sincere!

The gimmick effect of beer can chicken

One of the reasons why beercan chicken has become so popular is because it’s a real gimmick. The idea of ​​a chicken on a can of beer causes a lot of laughter and it also looks very impressive on the barbecue. It is therefore not surprising that many people want to try this method.

But is beercan chicken more than just a gimmick? Reactions are divided on that! At Beercan Chicken, the power of the illusion is the greatest weapon! Thanks to this technique, the beer would evaporate from the can and ensure a juicier result. Although chef “Meathead” at “” thoroughly researched the dish and busted the myth, many people are still convinced to try the beer! Impossible, it turns out… At least if you don’t take into account the power of psychology.

The power of psychology:

Although the myth has already been busted, I will never contradict anyone who claims to taste the difference. From my main profession as an “Applied Psychologist” I know how strong the power of the mind can work. Unconsciously we can stimulate our brains so much that we actually taste what we want to taste. No doubt you know the effect in another form. While traveling you can taste a delicious wine at the local winegrower. The conditions are perfect for optimal enjoyment and you buy a few crates of the Godenrank. Once home, however, the wine appears to have lost most of its shine.

The relaxed summer atmosphere stimulates your brain so that you taste differently and enjoy more. “Wouldn’t you really like that cozy authentic farmer on his beautiful domain to pour you a delicious discovery? Seeing a chicken on a beer can has a similar effect. It looks cool and surprising! It can’t help but produce a wonderful result, right?

The myth busted

The power of psychology leads us to think that the chicken is juicier and tastes like beer. This technique has been used by BBQ enthusiasts for years, but is it really as effective as claimed? According to fans of Beercan Chicken, the steam from the beer keeps the meat of the chicken tender and adds extra flavour. However, the science behind this technique indicates that the beer can actually has little to no effect on the taste and texture of the meat.

Meathead, a well-known BBQ expert at the website ““, has investigated this myth and concludes that the beer in the can does not get hot enough to generate steam and moisten the meat. You put the can in the chicken and cook it to a max core of 72°C. The “cold” meat cools the can. In reality, the beer never gets warmer than +-50°C. In other words: “far from sufficient for steaming”. In addition, the fat drips into the can and forms a film on top of the beer. Should the beer get hot enough, this layer of fat protects the beer from evaporating. After the session, Meathead found that the can contained more “juice” than before the session. After all, the can is so deep in the chicken that if the beer evaporated, only the top of the chicken could be “affected” by the evaporated beer.

The benefits of beer can chicken

Dedju… I can hear you think. Does it make no sense at all to make “Beercan chicken”? I’ll let you judge that for yourself! The power of psychology does a lot! Moreover, the technique for preparing Beercan Chicken is not completely wrong! There are indeed some advantages to making Beercan Chicken, although the can itself has very little to do with it. The indirect cooking of the upright chicken at a higher temperature in particular provides some useful advantages. But if we are very critical, you can just as well get these effects without a can.

Crispy skin

One of the great benefits of preparing beercan chicken is the ability to get a crispy skin on the chicken. This is achieved through the technique of indirect cooking, where the chicken is not placed directly on the heat source. Instead, the chicken is placed on the beer can and cooked in an indirect way. This creates a convection oven effect, with the heat and dry air circulating evenly around the chicken. Because the chicken is placed upright, the fat from under the skin can melt away nicely. The combination of these factors ensures that the skin can dry out and cook at the same time, resulting in a wonderfully crispy skin. TIP: Don’t make the mistake I made with this chicken of adding oil to the rub.

Even cooking on the outside

The indirect yarn, however, provides an additional advantage. By placing the chicken next to the heat source, the hot air can circulate around the chicken. This means that every part cooks at the same speed. With most types of BBQ’s you don’t have to turn the chicken. However, if you use a kettle BBQ with the coals on one side, it may be important to turn the chicken halfway through. Without a heat shield, part of the radiant heat will cook the silk on the coals faster. You will notice that one side of your chicken browns faster than the other.

Chest and thighs ready at the same time

Cooking on a BBQ is usually characterized by a heat from below. Especially if you do not use a heat shield, you will notice that the bottom of the chicken usually cooks faster than the top (even when using a lid). The chicken cooks upright through the can. As a result, the thighs will cook at a slightly higher heat. The breast usually cooks faster than the thighs, so you run the risk of it drying out before the thighs are done. This technique in which the chicken is cooked upright allows you to reduce this difference, resulting in a juicier result in general.

It looks fat!

No one can deny that this technique looks very cool! Especially when you have guests who are not familiar with the BBQ culture, they will usually not know this technique (nor know that the myth has been busted). When people see a canned chicken, you quickly notice their surprise and admiration! Bet this has an effect on their “psychological mindset”!

How do you make Beercan chicken?

Making Beercan chicken is not only spectacular but also very simple, making it a good technique for the novice BBQ’er. To make this Beercan Chicken we buy a simple chicken Lidl and rub it with spices (see recipe). Make sure the herbs and spices are also rubbed under the skin of the chicken for an extra flavorful experience.

Take the beer can and drink half of the beer (or pour it out). As you may have established by now, it doesn’t matter which beer you use for this. If necessary, fill the can with water or use an alternative Chicken sitter. Now push the beer can into the cavity of the chicken so that the chicken stands upright on the beer can and place it on the grill over indirect heat at 180°C. Close the grill and let the chicken cook until cooked through.

Use a Core thermometer to check if the chicken is cooked. The temperature of the thickest part of the chicken should be 75 degrees Celsius. Remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving. Enjoy your meal!


For the sake of completeness, it is not unimportant to point out the possible dangers associated with this recipe. Keep in mind that both the chicken and the can can become hot during preparation. The temperature may not be hot enough for steaming, the moisture and metal can get very hot. So pay close attention when removing the tight-fitting chicken from the can. Use heat (and moisture!) protective gloves.

In addition, using a commercial can is not the healthiest method. For this post I used a classic tin for illustration, although this is not recommended. Some beer cans have a plastic layer on the inside and the ink on the outside. Both are generally not food safe after heating. Would you like to make beercan chicken in a safe way? Then use a specially designed “Chicken Sitter“.

Beer Can Chicken

Although the Beercan chicken myth has been busted, it doesn’t mean the dish can’t be tasty. As you can deduce from this post, the preparation technique also has many advantages. Although you can safely omit the can or use other techniques. These may look less tough, but will undoubtedly produce just as delicious a result. For example, try this “Butterflyd Market Chicken” to make. Bet you get just as delicious a result! Want to really taste the beer flavor in your chicken? Then consider adding the beer to a brine. This will have much more influence than the beer can. But! Don’t forget that expectation also plays a part! If you want to impress your unsuspecting guests, the beercan chicken can definitely be recommended to make! In that case, try to use a safe can. Have fun BBQ!

Beer Can Chicken

Beercan chicken is a delicious show cooking dish that is perfect for a summer barbecue. The addition of the Magic Dust Rub ensures a delicious taste. The rub is a spice mixture that you can make yourself and consists of various spices such as paprika powder, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. In this recipe you can read how you can easily make Beercan chicken with Magic Dust Rub yourself.

Course: Main dish

Cuisine: American

keyword: barbecook, barbecue, bbq, BBQ chicken, beercan, chicken, direct grilling, roast chicken, grilled chicken, indirect, kettle, Herbal rub, Magic dust, technique, Traeger

Servings: 2 persons

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 can of beer preferably use a light beer
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil (not necessary)
  • Rub of your choice

For the Magic Dust Rub

  • 8 El paprika powder
  • 4 tbsp fine salt
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 El chili powder
  • 4 El cumin powder
  • 4 El garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 2 El mustard powder
  • 2 El cayenne

  1. Preheat the barbecue to medium heat (180°C) and provide an indirect heat source.

  2. Clean the chicken and pat it dry with kitchen paper.

  3. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil with the Magic dust rub. I put it in with this chicken, but afterwards it turned out that this was not the best choice for a crispy skin. Place the spices directly on the chicken for better effect.

  4. Rub the chicken with the spice mixture, both outside and inside and under the skin.

  5. Open the can of beer and drink about half of it (or use a beer opener to pop off the top of the can).

  6. Slide the chicken over the beer can so that the can is in the cavity of the chicken and the chicken is on top.

  7. Place the chicken with the can in the center of the grill grate and close the grill.

  8. Bake the chicken until a core temperature of 72 degrees Celsius has been reached. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. Measure the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh.

  9. Remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest for about 10 minutes before removing the beer can.

Cut the chicken into pieces and serve with your favorite side dishes.

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