The first time I saw someone stick a can inside a chicken and cook it, I’m pretty sure I doubled over laughing. I mean, is it not the most ridiculous-looking thing on the planet? It’s a chicken. Standing up. On a beer.
But then I took one taste, and I didn’t care how silly it looked while cooking—that was a dang good chicken! By cooking the chicken on a can of your favorite beer (or hard cider—like I do here—or honestly, any liquid in a can), you not only keep the chicken moist and juicy, but you also get to impart all kinds of delicious flavor into every meaty bite. You also get to drink half a beer while you’re cooking (it’s part of the recipe!), which I’m not mad about.
You can follow this method in the regular ole oven, but I highly recommend taking out the top rack of your grill (if you have one) and trying it in there. The combo of the smoky flavor from the grill plus the beer and my sweet and spicy dry rub makes for a chicken that you just can’t stop eating.
Of course, how good your final product turns out depends entirely on how high-quality your chicken was to begin with. That’s one of the reasons I love to hit up the Meijer meat department!
Meijer carries a wide range of super high-quality meat. You can get grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, and organic, non-GMO, free-range chicken, like this whole chicken I used here from Katie’s Best Chicken. Just like with Meijer’s commitment to partnering with local Midwestern farms when it comes to fresh produce, that commitment to Midwestern farms extends to their meat department, too. Katie’s Best Chicken is a local Indiana company, which makes me a happy Hoosier! Katie’s Best organic chicken thighs, organic breasts, and organic whole fryers are in frequent rotation in our house—and I’ve always been super happy with the quality and the price.
I love that there are affordable, high-quality meat options for my family at my “regular” grocery store—no having to hit up a specialty store. Meijer is one-stop shopping at its finest! You can grab everything you need for this recipe in one spot. Grab your Katie’s Best Chicken, then head over to the spice aisle and load your cart up with all the organic True Goodness spices you need to make your spice rub. Heck, you can even head over to the outdoor section and pick up a brand new gas grill if you’re feeling really devoted to your Beer Can Chicken.
While you’re there, I also recommend picking up a cast iron skillet if you don’t already have one (they are sold in the camping section at my Meijer store, FYI). A 10″ or 12″ skillet works perfectly to hold up your beer can chicken and collect all the drippings so your grill doesn’t become a (literal) hot mess. Any oven-proof skillet, baking sheet, or grill pan will work, but, like so many things in the kitchen, a cast iron skillet is the perfect tool for the job here.
Before we dig into the recipe below, a word on the spice rub—it’s flipping delicious. It requires a number of different herbs and spices, but you can make it up in bulk (in fact, the ratio below will give you more than you need just for one chicken) and sprinkle it on all kinds of grilled meats, seafood, and veggies.
I would recommend not actually rubbing in your spice rub. Just like our skin, chicken skin has pores, and when you actually rub in the spices, you are closing up those pores. Not a big deal when you’re cooking in the oven, but when you’re cooking over a flame, you really want that smoky, open-flame flavor to permeate the chicken. So no closing up those pores! Just give your chicken a very liberally sprinkling of the “rub” and be done with it. No worries, you’ll still have plenty of great flavor!
If you’re not interested in using beer or hard cider here, this method works beautifully with juices, wine, soda, or even just water. Just save a clean aluminum can and fill it halfway up with whatever liquid you want to use. Happy grilling!