Let me tell you about one of the best things I’ve ever done.

beer can chicken I howsweeteats.com

And no, it’s not this chicken.

Though I do beg the question of…

how does this photo below make you feel?

beer can chicken I howsweeteats.com

Oh hi.

I mean, let’s be real. Can you actually take this seriously today?

(also, if you’re anything like me all you can think of is Monica Gellar with a bird on her head.)

beer can chicken I howsweeteats.com

Well. You have to.

Because the ACTUAL best thing I’ve ever done is teach Eddie how to roast a chicken. In fact, he asked me – which certainly means he must have been abducted by aliens that day. And I taught him – which miraculously did not come complete with divorce papers or even an argument – and now… now? He kind of makes them better than I do.

Because I can sometimes be rushed and am all oh just let me add olive oil, salt and pepper while he takes his serious time and adds spices and flavors and twines the legs and what not. Like he does it RIGHT.

Like he does it like he hasn’t been doing it once a week for four years. Because it’s pretty much been that way for me.

Regardless, it’s still one of our favorite things ever. Even if we’re sick of “regular” roasted chicken – I still make one each week because it never fails that I will use it in SOMETHING. Soups, enchiladas, tacos – all the things.

This version is a… “special” version, if you will. Special as in I will usually make a beer can chicken if we just want to eat roasted chicken for dinner with some good old sides. Be boring but not so boring. And if I’m being real, the true reason we enjoy beer can chicken is because ALL of the skin gets crispy and then we don’t fight over it. That’s the worst part about teaching Eddie how to roast a chicken. Now he steals all the skin.

beer can chicken I howsweeteats.com

So. What kind of beer did I use? Bud light. Is that trashy? Do you think I’m trashy(er) now? It’s what I had and almost always the beer that I will use in beer can chicken.  My other available option was a vanilla porter which I didn’t think would float any boats. Just no.

The other reason I like to use Bud light is because it comes in skinny TALL cans! It means the chicken sits up easier, doesn’t fall down half way through, and in my own secret brain I like to think that it flavors the chicken more but I’m sure that’s debatable and you will tell me that I’m wrong. DON’T RUIN IT FOR ME.

But. Do not fear. You can use whatever beer you like that comes in a can. Whatever you like to drink – use it.

What else. This is obviously the oven roasted version. We like to grill this too but sometimes it’s April and still 35 degrees out. Some people freak over beer can chicken, saying it’s not safe because of plastic or dyes in the can. We’ve eaten beer can chicken for years and we’re still kickin’. Do your own research and decide if you’re game. It’s not something we do every week when we roast, but it’s a fun switch. Cliché moderation, you know?

We prefer limes over lemons. There is a time and place for lemons and this is not it, especially since beer is involved. Give me a lime all the time. I not only stuff butter and spices under the skin, but also lime slices. The lime, the beer, the makeshift little BBQ spice rub – GAH. So freaking good.

I don’t even want to say it, but it’s ridiculously juicy.

beer can chicken I howsweeteats.com


Our Favorite Beer Can Chicken

Yield: serves about 4

Cook Time: 75 minutes


1 whole chicken, about 5 pounds in weight
1 can of beer (I prefer the taller, skinnier cans)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 limes


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place a baking dish, roasting pan or dutch oven on a baking sheet. Open the can of beer and take a few sips and/or pour about 1/4 of it into the dish or pan. Set the can in the center of the dish.

Remove the giblets and any other parts of the chicken and discard or set aside for another use. If desired, wash the chicken but either way - pat it TOTALLY dry with paper towels. You don't want one speck of liquid.

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and chili powder.

In another bowl, add the softened butter. Add a few pinches (about 1/3 of the mix) of the spice mix to the butter and stir together until combined and smooth. Gently lift the skin of the chicken and rub the butter all over the breasts (UNDER the skin) and the thighs, if you can get to them. You only have to add a thin layer because much of the butter will run out of the chicken as it cooks. Push it up underneath the skin as far as it can go. Slice one of the limes into 1/8-inch slices and slide them up underneath the skin - as many as you can fit in one layer. Gently sit the chicken on top of the can of beer which is in the dish (OMG, so many things), the beer can going into the cavity of the chicken. Or you might have one of those fancy contraptions that makes beer can chicken easier.

Rub the outsides with olive oil - don't miss a spot! And rub the remaining spice rub over top. Slice the other lime in half and shove it face down in the top cavity of the chicken (where the neck would be). Roast the chicken for 1 hour and 15 minutes. When finished, carefully remove the pans from the oven and let the chicken rest for about 20 minutes. I use kitchen tongs and my hands to gently remove the chicken from the can (it may take some wiggling) - discard the can and slice/serve the chicken as you wish.

beer can chicken I howsweeteats.com


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78 Responses to “Our Favorite Beer Can Chicken.”

  1. #
    Tina Muir — April 10, 2014 @ 6:58 am

    Hahahhahah that is hilarious! I love the lime as like a head! I have always wondered if this is real, but those photos prove it….and are hilarious at the same time! So weird, but I guess it works! hmmm, im still on the fence whether to try or not :P


  2. #
    Natalie — April 10, 2014 @ 6:58 am

    Is the vanilla porter you reference the Atwater Vanilla Java Porter because gaaaaah I love that stuff….

    Roasting a whole chicken scares the crap out of me but perhaps I can manage to try it eventually…. Is Eddie available for tutoring?! haha :)


    • Rebecca — April 10th, 2014 @ 6:25 pm

      It’s not Jessica’s method (and obviously she knows what she’s doing!) but I like to roast chickens in my crockpot. Takes all the guesswork out of knowing if it’s done, because after 8 or 9 hours, it’s definitely done and I never have to worry about it drying out. I actually pop mine in the oven for 15 minutes to keep it from tasting soggy. =) Good luck!


      • Barbara — April 11th, 2014 @ 6:08 pm

        Oooh….I like that idea too!

  3. #
    Tracy | Peanut Butter and Onions — April 10, 2014 @ 7:02 am

    Its such a fun and yummy way to cook chicken… I remember Monica with the Turkeyn on her head…. that was one big turkey.


  4. #
    Bri — April 10, 2014 @ 7:09 am

    Yum! Sometimes simple can’t be beat, so I love adding a roast chicken recipe to my list. Friends has the best life references!


  5. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — April 10, 2014 @ 7:18 am

    Oh wow! I have to admit, I have never before had beer can chicken (maybe because I can’t stand beer so never buy it) but I am super intrigued by this whole sliding limes under the skin business. I’d say you’ve taught Mr How Sweet very well! :)


  6. #
    Lisa @ Simple Pairings — April 10, 2014 @ 7:44 am

    I love Beer Can Chicken! My boyfriend makes an awesome one. I like how you used lime in yours – what a nice freshness it would add!


    • Sylvia Ayotte — August 9th, 2015 @ 3:27 pm

      Would you share your boyfriends recipe for dancing beer can chicken with me? Thank you in advance for your time sylvia


  7. #
    Extraordinary BBQ — April 10, 2014 @ 7:47 am

    That’s interesting about the limes! I always use lemons on my chicken recipes, but now you have me thinking. We have the grilled version on our site, http://www.extraordinarybbq.com/beer-can-chicken/.


  8. #
    Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) — April 10, 2014 @ 8:10 am

    These photos are so hilarious!


  9. #
    Kelly Jo — April 10, 2014 @ 8:16 am

    I LOVE beer can chicken! And no, I don’t think the Bud LIght is trasy at all because I use Busch Light :)


    • Julie — April 10th, 2014 @ 1:41 pm

      Yay for Busch Light!! oh and Bud Light!!


  10. #
    Belinda@themoonblushbaker — April 10, 2014 @ 8:19 am

    I am cracked up about the photography! Love beer can chicken and I love the addition of limes, no wonder your chicken is dripping out of the can. Food porn has never been so dirty.


  11. #
    Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic — April 10, 2014 @ 8:37 am

    Is it bad that I want this for breakfast? Looks delicious!


  12. #
    Erin Lint — April 10, 2014 @ 9:10 am

    I LOVE “beer butt chicken” (as my Dad likes to call it.) I have never thought to put seasoning and/or limes under the skin though! I definitely will be trying this! Amazingly, in Michigan it is even nice enough to get outside and grill :)


  13. #
    Ali | Gimme Some Oven — April 10, 2014 @ 9:36 am

    Ha, Monica Gellar!!! YES.

    Looks tasty!


  14. #
    Rebecca @ it's a nourishing thing — April 10, 2014 @ 9:46 am

    I love it!! I think the chicken looks kind of cute with a lime head!


  15. #
    Kim @ Adventures In A New(ish) City — April 10, 2014 @ 9:49 am

    Um, those pictures are HI-Larious. Looks so delicious!


  16. #
    Sara Beth — April 10, 2014 @ 10:17 am

    I’m just dying laughing that after all of the pictures, story about the chicken, and the recipe you say “Bye.”

    Hahahaha..this is why I love you. Thanks for making my day!


  17. #
    Anne — April 10, 2014 @ 10:20 am

    I have been preaching the How Sweet Eats method of chicken roasting for a while now – never fails.

    I’m scared/excited to try this version…which basically sums up all my kitchen endeavors.


  18. #
    Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps — April 10, 2014 @ 10:35 am

    1. That photo makes me feel slightly violated 2. After you mentioned it, I couldn’t stop picturing Monica doing her little dance with the turkey on her head 3. Bud Light is a heckuva lot better than Miller Lite which is usually in our fridge. 4. My husband needs to take notes from yours because aside from the slight uncomfortable violation of beer can chicken,it looks seriously delicious!


  19. #
    leslie @ definitely not martha — April 10, 2014 @ 10:52 am

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm….beer can chicken on the BBQ is definitely the best. I pick up whole chickens every time they are on sale, pretty much so I can make beer can chicken. I like to put the rub on the night before, or the in the morning, so I get maximum flavour penetration.

    I much prefer doing it on the bbq – I find when I do it in the oven, I get a baked on smokey mess in the pan under the chicken, but with the bbq, that just drips down and I don’t have to clean it up. I have experimented by putting a bit of water in the pan under the chicken (so it doesn’t get so burnt) but then the chicken doesn’t get as crispy.


  20. #
    Molly (Yes to Yolks) — April 10, 2014 @ 11:04 am

    Sounds and looks delicious (and funny!). You’re right, turkey-head Monica totally comes to mind. I love roasting chicken but have yet to try the beer can method. It’s on the list! This past weekend, I spatchcocked a chicken for the first time and loved the results. It was super moist and juicy (sorry).


  21. #
    allie@sweetpotatobites — April 10, 2014 @ 11:20 am

    Still need to make beer can chicken – it’s been on my to do list for ages.

    All that chicken needs is large sunglasses and a fez hat and then it’s Monica Gellar style.


  22. #
    Ellen — April 10, 2014 @ 11:32 am

    I have never in my life made a beer can chicken before. I thinking this recipe is just the push I needed to finally give it a try this Sunday. Also, now I have an overwhelming desire to watch Friends ALL DAY. Too bad…work instead.


  23. #
    Lisag — April 10, 2014 @ 11:38 am

    Yes to beer in the butt chicken. I’ve only cooked on the grill but this is a great idea! Love!


  24. #
    Heather — April 10, 2014 @ 1:30 pm

    I have been searching for a “manly” dinner that my boyfriend can eat on the regular, this looks like the ticket! Thanks for sharing!! Awesome pictures :)


  25. #
    Fred Rickson — April 10, 2014 @ 2:21 pm

    Doesn’t anybody read the BBQ websites anymore to understand that beer-can chicken really doesn’t do what everyone gushes over. Read folks, it will do you good. Nice chicken; but nothing as advertised.


  26. #
    Fred Rickson — April 10, 2014 @ 2:41 pm

    Answering an e-mail….it steams the inside of the chicken …a little…nothing more. And, you don’t eat the inside…sorry dopes.


  27. #
    tasia — April 10, 2014 @ 3:42 pm

    I swear we are the same person! That’s the first thing I thought of was Monica dancing with the turkey on her head and the glasses. ah I miss friends.

    I’d love to try to make this with gluten free beer! wonder if it would still be good… hmmmmmm


  28. #
    Liz — April 10, 2014 @ 4:28 pm

    This makes me want to start eating chicken again.


  29. #
    ami@naivecookcooks — April 10, 2014 @ 5:08 pm

    Haha love the way you described it all! I have been wanting to try making my own roasted chicken but always get kind of scared! I think it is time!!


  30. #
    Natalie @ Paper & Birch — April 10, 2014 @ 5:10 pm

    Oh my gosh that picture totally reminded me of both the Joey & Monica scenes! This recipe sounds fantastic! And plus, how often do you get to make a dinner that can make you giggle too? :)


  31. #
    Barbara — April 10, 2014 @ 5:45 pm

    I love everything about this…your pictures, your words, lime instead of lemon…every single thing!


  32. #
    Jessica @ Jessiker Bakes — April 10, 2014 @ 7:06 pm

    You are so funny Jessica !! I must say, that chicken’s position makes me think things…SUCH as Monica with the chicken on her head!


  33. #
    Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) — April 10, 2014 @ 7:16 pm

    This chicken is serious serious perfection!


  34. #
    DessertForTwo — April 10, 2014 @ 7:39 pm

    That photo is cracking me up. I want it to wave to me. Can you make a gif? ;)


  35. #
    Sarah | The Sugar Hit — April 10, 2014 @ 7:54 pm

    My mouth is watering, like I’m Wylie Coyote starving in the dessert.


  36. #
    dervla — April 10, 2014 @ 9:18 pm

    seriously? This is a thing? THIS IS EVERYTHING!


  37. #
    Larry — April 12, 2014 @ 3:52 pm

    All it needs is a pair of over-sized sunglasses and you’re TOTALLY in business! bahahaha


  38. #
    K — April 14, 2014 @ 3:14 am

    I made this last night – and it was clearly crispier than yours. Quite black even. But not burned – just overly crystalised. Next time maybe lower heat?

    Regardless, it was super tasty. Thanks!


  39. #
    Juliana — April 14, 2014 @ 12:47 pm

    I absolutely ADORE beer can chicken. It is our go-to summertime meal. We rub ours in a BBQ dry rub and stuff it with onion, garlic, herbs, and lemon. But now I can’t wait to try it with lime! Thanks for the inspiration :)




  40. #
    Emily @ Life on Food — April 15, 2014 @ 10:48 pm

    OMG, these photos look like a little chicken man with a can up the butt. Too funny!


  41. #
    Gaby — April 17, 2014 @ 1:35 pm

    My family has been doing beer can chicken for YEARS and it is still one of my favorite things to eat at home in the summer. We use Miller Lite. No shame. A beer can chicken with some corn on the cob, maybe fries or chips…ugh, it’s the summers of my childhood on a plate!


  42. #
    Aurora — April 21, 2014 @ 9:59 am

    Can we use chicken breast with this same recipe? Don’t have time to go to the store and get a whole chicken. :(


  43. #
    Sydnee Reeves — May 19, 2014 @ 2:07 pm

    Love this! We use Budweiser & Clamato Chelada Picante, it has a super tall can and it’s flavored with picante and lime. It’s great in all of your “add beer” recipes! (;


  44. #
    Mari — May 23, 2014 @ 5:41 am

    Fabulously fabulous recipe. I made some extra spice mix, sprinkled the extra over some halved baby potatoes with a squeeze of lime juice, and roasted the potatoes in the same pan as the chicken. Oh my gosh was it ever delicious! Thanks :)


  45. #
    mallory — June 10, 2014 @ 10:02 pm

    I made this tonight for the second time and freaked out AGAIN that it is sooooo delicious and that I can actually cook a whole chicken and have it all be delicious and not boring! and I CUT IT UP BEAUTIFULLY TONIGHT TOO. best night ever!


  46. #
    Teresa — July 21, 2014 @ 11:46 pm

    I have done other recipes for beer can chicken and they were pretty delicious…but hands down, this is the best one ever! I made mine on the grill put a pan underneath and used the drippings for gravy. Everything was spectacular! Thank you for sharing!


  47. #
    Karen Rogers — September 2, 2014 @ 5:45 pm

    My husband does it on the Bar b Q . He calls it “Drunk Chicken”


  48. #
    Mia — October 27, 2014 @ 2:06 pm

    I made this last night and it turned out sooo good! The chicken was super moist and flavorful. Thanks again for another great recipe!


  49. #
    Ash — March 27, 2015 @ 4:09 pm

    made this tonight, yum!!!


  50. #
    KatyLaty — May 28, 2015 @ 1:58 pm

    What sides would you recommend to go with the lime/paprika flavors?!



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