Preparation Time: Brining and drying time 12-24 hours

Cook Time: 90 minutes

Cut: Bone-in chicken Whole Chicken


1 whole chicken (about 1.5-2 kg)
1 can beer (or beer can chicken stand)

Basic Beer Brine:
1 cup (250 ml) water
2 Tbsp (30 ml) salt
2 ¾ cups (680 ml) beer - Half Pints Bulldog Amber or St James Pale or Weizenheimer (or other Manitoba beer)

Optional flavourings for the brine (add these based on personal taste and the flavours in the beer)
2-3 crushed garlic cloves
1 tsp (5 ml) onion powder
2-3 Tbsp (30 -45 ml) brown sugar or molasses or maple syrup
Zest of an orange or lemon
1 tsp (5 ml) cracked coriander seeds
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) chili flakes or hot sauce


Stir together water, salt, and any optional flavourings, until salt dissolves completely. Set a large resealable plastic bag in a big bowl and pour the salt water into the bag. Add the beer and let the foam subside.

Place the chicken, breast side down, in the bag; squeeze the air out of the bag and seal it. The brine should cover most, if not all, of the chicken.

Refrigerate overnight then remove the chicken to a rack in a roasting pan. Throw out the brine then refrigerate the chicken, uncovered, for several hours or overnight. This allows the skin to dry out so it will be extra crispy when cooked.

On a multi burner barbecue, light one side and set it to medium heat (350F).

Open the can of beer and remove about 1/4 cup of beer. Make three more holes in the top of the can. Slide the chicken, with the legs pointing down, onto the can (or onto a beer can chicken stand). The ends of the drumsticks should touch the bottom and the chicken should stay upright. Put the chicken and can over the unlit side of the grill, using the legs to help keep the chicken upright. Close the barbecue lid. Grill for 45 minutes then turn the chicken 180 degrees to ensure even heating. Close the lid and continue cooking for another 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in the breast reads 180F (83C).

Remove the chicken and the can from the barbecue and put them on a plate so that the can remains upright. Tent loosely with foil and let stand for 15 minutes. Gently lift the chicken off the can and put the chicken on a cutting board. The can and liquid will be very hot so take care not to burn yourself. Throw out the can and liquid. Cut the chicken into portions and serve.

Tip: if you enjoy beer can chicken regularly, consider using a stand like the one below (aka vertical roaster) instead of a can.  These are available anywhere grilling accessories are sold.  A chicken on a stand is less likely to tip, and safer to handle coming off the grill.