Grilled Citrus Beer Can Chicken 

Chicken is delicious. Beer is delicious. What do you get when you combine the two? Heaven.

This chicken is ridiculously moist, and so full of flavor, and also much more budget friendly because you’re buying the whole bird. I first made this when my husband and I found whole organic chickens on sale for crazy cheap, and I had no idea what I was going to with it. It was the middle of summer, so we were craving BBQ, and let me tell you, this hit the spot.

So, after two devoured chickens, three burned fingers (mine of course), and two babies covered in barbecue sauce I think it’s safe to say this family recipe is here to stay.

First, I cleaned the chicken by rinsing it under cool water and then pat dry with a paper towel. Its really important to get the skin nice and dry because dry = crispy!

Next, I put together the rub… Which I pretty much eyeballed. In a separate bowl I mixed together the paprika, parsley, garlic salt, onion powder, red pepper, garlic, lemon & orange zest, and salt & pepper. Then, I coated the chicken with olive oil, and liberally covered then entire chicken with the rub. Make sure to get into all the cracks and crevices, and you can even put some of the rub inside the cavity.

Then squeezed the orange juice and lemon juice over the tops and let them marinate over night in the refrigerator.

The recipe I provided is enough for one chicken, so if you intend on making two, be sure to double up on everything!

Next, when I was ready to grill, I took the tall beer can and poured out (or drank!) enough to where the beer was still about 3/4 of the way full, so you’re not getting rid of much.

After that, I stood the chicken up, making sure to hold open the cavity, and gently slid it over the top of the beer can. This part can get a little slippery, but don’t worry if you spill a little… It will only add more flavor.

Then these babies were ready to go on the grill! Something about the steam from the beer keeps the chicken super moist, and it cooks much more evenly having a source of heat in the center.

So, after they had been cooking for about 30 minutes, and  started to look like they were getting nice and crispy around the edges, they were ready for bbq sauce. I used a honey bbq sauce, but I definitely recommend using your favorite type.

Make sure to keep your coats of bbq sauce thin, not only to build the flavor but to make sure the skin stays nice and crispy.

After the first initial coat of sauce, I put another layer on about  every 15 minutes. And make sure you don’t burn your fingers on a meat thermometer like I did. OUCH! It’s a good thing these are worth the excruciating pain! 😂

When I finished the last coat of sauce, I let the chicken go another 10 minutes and then brought it inside sit for another 10-15 minutes while I finished the side dishes.

Grilled Citrus Beer Can Chicken

Approx. 4.5 lb. chicken

1 tall can beer

½ cup barbeque sauce

3 to 4 tbsp. of olive oil

Juice of 1 orange

Juice of 1 lemon


For the Rub:

2 tbsp. paprika

1 tbsp. garlic salt

2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. pepper

2 tsp. celery salt

1 tsp. red pepper flake

½ tbsp. onion powder

2 to 3 cloves finely chopped garlic

½ tbsp. finely chopped parsley

1 tbsp. lemon zest (or the zest of 1 lemon)

1 tbsp. orange zest (or the zest of 1 orange)


First, in a small bowl combine all ingredients for the rub, and mix thoroughly to combine well, set aside. Next, clean chicken by rinsing it under cold water, and remove the pack of organs inside – discard or save if preferred. Then, place the chicken in a large bowl or platter and pat dry with a paper towel. After the chicken is dry, smother the skin with the olive oil, and then the rub directly after making sure to get the seasoning into any cracks or crevices. Once the chicken is completely coated with the rub squeeze the lemon and orange juice on all sides. Cover and let marinate overnight, or at least 1 hour. When the chicken has marinated, get your grill nice and hot (about 400F). Then, open the beer can and pour out about ¼ of the liquid. Making sure to hold the cavity of the chicken open, gently slide the chicken over the top of the beer can, making sure it is steady. Place the chicken on the grill, over indirect heat. After about 30 minutes, baste with barbeque sauce, and repeat every 15 minutes. Grill for about 1 hour or until the internal temperature of the chicken reads 165F. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing, to insure maximum moisture. Enjoy!

Free Printable Recipe Here!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s