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An overhead shot of everything-but-the-beer-can chicken in a casserole dish on a blue and white checked cloth on a white planked surface. Dishes of cooked sweet corn, grilled peppers and onions, tomato salad, pickles, and coleslaw sit alongside the dish.

Everything But The Beer Can Chicken (No Stand!)

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  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Inactive Brine: 12 hours - 3 days
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4-6 1x
  • Category: Main Dishes, Chicken Recipes
  • Method: Grilling & Smoking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

A few years ago, I set out to make the ultimate beer can chicken recipe. But no matter what I tried…I kept spilling the beer all over my grill!

This frustration led finding what I think is an even better solution – eliminating the can altogether.

This Everything But The Beer Can Chicken recipe recreates classic beer can chicken flavor using a beer brined, BBQ dry rubbed spatchcock chicken. The chicken lays flat on the grill for a quicker and more evenly cooked result – all without any risk of spilling.

Be sure to check out the blog post, above, for plenty of tips and tricks for perfectly juicy and flavorful results. ♡ Happy grilling!


Ingredients

Scale
  • one 45 pound whole chicken, spatchcocked (see Recipe Notes)
  • 24 ounces beer of choice (see Recipe Notes)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to season
  • PWWB BBQ Dry Rub (below)
  • for serving, as desired: BBQ sauce of choice

for the All-Purpose BBQ Dry Rub:

  • ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • heaping ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • optional: up to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix the dry rub: Add all listed ingredients to a small bowl or jar. Stir or shake to mix well. Set aside, or store on your spice rack in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
  2. Brine the chicken in beer: Place the spatchcocked chicken in a large airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Add the beer, salt, and ¼ cup of the prepared dry rub. Toss to coat the chicken in the beer mixture well. Cover or seal and transfer to the refrigerator to brine for at least 12 hours or up to 3 days. The longer you’re able to brine, the juicier and more tender the grilled chicken will be.An overhead shot of raw chicken brining in beer in a large glass bowl atop a white planked surface.
  3. Prep the chicken for grilling: About 60 minutes before you’re ready to grill, pull the beer brined chicken out of the refrigerator. Remove from the brine and transfer to a cutting board or sheet pan. Discard any excess brine. Use paper towels to pat the chicken as dry as possible. Season the entire surface of the chicken well with a good sprinkling of kosher salt, then repeat with the remaining dry rub. Use your hands to rub the spices into the surface of the chicken. Set aside to rest at room temperature while the grill preheats.An overhead shot of a brined whole chicken seasoned with dry rub on a sheet pan atop a white planked surface. A small dish of dry rub sits alongside it.
  4. Grill prep:  Prepare your grill for indirect cooking, creating a zone of direct high heat and a second zone of indirect heat. If using a gas grill, begin preheating at least 15 minutes before grilling. If using charcoal, light the charcoal at least 30 minutes prior to grilling. (Learn More! How to Grill with the 2-Zone Method.)A woman's hand shown above an open Weber Genesis II, prepared for indirect heat grilling with one side of burners all the way open and the other side shut.
  5. Grill the beer can chicken with indirect heat: Once the grill is hot, please the chicken on the indirect heat side of the grill, breast side facing up, as close to the flame as possible without being over direct heat. Cook the chicken, stopping to rotate it 180 degrees every 15 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast (without hitting the bone) registers 160 degrees F. Depending on the size of your chicken and temperature of your grill, this could take as little as 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.How to grill whole chicken, Step 5: Spatchcocked/butterflied chicken on grill grates, grilling in an indirect heat zone of Weber Genesis II grill.
  6. Finish the chicken over direct heat for charred and crispy skin: Move the chicken over direct heat, carefully flipping it such that its skin side is down and comes in direct contact with the grill grates. Cook 2-3 minutes longer, until the chicken skin is crispy and charred as desired.How to grill whole chicken, Step 7: Spatchcocked/butterflied chicken on grill grates, grilling in a direct heat zone of Weber Genesis II grill.
  7. Rest: Transfer the beer can chicken to a large plate and set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes. Carryover heat will cause the internal temperature to continue to rise as it rests. The chicken is be ready to serve once an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the chicken registers 165 degrees F.An overhead shot of a whole grilled spatchcocked chicken on a sheet pan atop a white planked surface.
  8. Carve and serve: Serve your beer can chicken immediately with your favorite BBQ sauce and whatever summery sides you love most. Enjoy!An overhead shot of everything-but-the-beer-can chicken in a casserole dish on a blue and white checked cloth on a white planked surface. Dishes of cooked sweet corn, grilled peppers and onions, tomato salad, pickles, and coleslaw sit alongside the dish.

Notes

Jess’ Tips and Tricks:

  • Spatchcocking is a poultry butchering technique in which the spine is removed so the poultry lays completely flat during the cooking process. Doing so facilitates faster and more even cooking, resulting in a juicier, perfectly cooked bird. It’s the best way to grill whole chicken! While you can ask your butcher to spatchcock the chicken for you, it’s also very simple to do at home with a pair of sharp kitchen shears. For more guidance, check out my step-by-step guide: How to Spatchcock a Chicken.
  • Best beer to use: Even if you’re not typically a beer drinker (I am not!), a beer brine adds rich, earthy flavor to chicken that’s pretty hard to beat. Any beer works well here, but for best results, use a strong and/or hoppy beer such as IPA, porter, or stout. The bolder flavor of a stronger beer comes through really nicely without overpowering the chicken.

Storage and Reheating:

Leftover beer can chicken will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave until warmed through. Once you’ve enjoyed all of the chicken, sure to hang on to the grilled chicken carcass to make homemade chicken stock or broth!