Devour This: Beer Can Chicken

by Chef Lesli Sommerdorf for Harmons

For the perfect summertime meal, try  this recipe for Dad’s Spicy Beer Can Chicken and serve this smoky, spicy bird with Smashed Grilled Potatoes and  Brown Butter-Rum Sauce Over Fresh Grilled Pineapple. Or for a simpler spread, prepare a traditional Caesar salad and some grilled vegetables, such as asparagus and zucchini.

Choose your favorite local beer (a light lager or pale ale work best) for the spicy beer can chicken. Combine chipotle, cumin, paprika, and brown sugar to form a smoky-spicy blend, then rub all over the bird prior to cooking. This recipe calls for indirect grilling, which means for gas grills, half of the grill will be hot and half of the grill—where the chicken on a can is—will be off.  For charcoal grills, mound your hot coals on one side of the grill and place the drip pan over the cooler side of the grill. By covering the bird in both instances, the chicken will cook by the radiant heat from the hot side of either type of grill.

Our spin on this classic grilling favorite elevates your dinner by blending crave-worthy flavors with a unique cooking method. Follow the recipe on this page and add our selection of side recipes for a perfect complement to your plate.

Dad’s Spicy Beer Can Chicken
2 T kosher salt
1 T light brown sugar
1 T paprika
1 T ground cumin
2 1/2 t ground chipotle chile

1 (12 oz) can light lager, top removed
1 (4 – 4 2 lb) chicken
3 T rub

To make the rub, in a small bowl, add salt,  brown sugar, paprika, cumin, and cayenne and  stir to combine.

To make the chicken, pour out half of the beer.

Prepare a grill over high, indirect heat and place a slotted grill tray on the grill grates over no heat. Place a drip pan filled with 1/2” of water under the grill grate and under the chicken.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season with rub. Place cavity of chicken over can so that it supports chicken upright. Place the can and chicken on grill tray over indirect heat and above drip pan.

Grill chicken, covered, until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh registers 165°, 45–60 min. Remove from the grill and let rest, tent loosely with aluminum foil, 10 min.

Smashed Grilled Potatoes
Brown Butter-Rum Sauce Over Grilled Pineapple

Recipes available at


Content Provided by Harmons.

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