Winter Cheats BBQ Beer Can Chicken

I really love a good BBQ and as we’ll be spending Christmas in Australia this year, we’ve decided to celebrate the day with one on the beach. Yeah I know… a bit cliched but what the hell! We’ll be there, santa hats and sunglasses at the ready!

I’ll be making this beer can chicken recipe on the BBQ this Christmas. Last time I made it though, I did it inside in the oven and you can too! I’m very aware that back home its freezing cold and you’re probably reading this in your onesie with the heating on full blast but bear with me. No shivering in the garden required. I’m not suggesting you replace the turkey and all its trimmings on Christmas day but this could be fun to try over the festive period if you’re having an informal gathering at any point.

You’ll need to be able to stand a chicken upright in the oven to make this dish so test it before you start. If you can… let’s go! Cheat’s BBQ beer can chicken here we come.

Erm… Captions on a postcard, please!

Although I used a local Aussie beer, any can of beer will work. I often put a whole lemon into the carcass to keep the meat moist when I’m roasting a chicken and this is a similar theory. The beer evaporates out of the can and into the chicken to keep it lovely and moist and the hoppy citrus tang of something like an American IPA gives it a subtle but gorgeous flavour.

The rub gives the flavour of BBQ and also helps the skin crisp up. And after all, crispy skin is what makes a roast chicken!


Serves 4 with sides:


  • 1x can of lager (your choice but I recommend an IPA)
  • Large free range chicken (I used 1.7 kg)

For the BBQ rub:

  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp salt (or x2 if you don’t have garlic salt)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp chilli powder


  • Pre-heat your oven to Gas Mark 5 / 200ºc / 180ºc fan.
  • Start by making your dry rub for the chicken by mixing all of the ingredients together.
  • Rub olive oil onto the chicken and then liberally coat it with the rub. Do this with your hands to make sure you get an even coverage all over the bird.
  • Open the can of beer and either pour away or drink the top few centimetres of liquid.
  • Place the can in the centre of a baking tray and put the chicken on to it. This is a bit tricky and not on the slightest bit glamorous but it’ll really make the difference to the meat. Once your chicken is standing upright on the can of beer, it’s ready for the oven.
  • You’ll need to take all racks out of your oven apart from one, which needs to sit on the lowest level possible.
  • The chicken needs 20 – 25 minutes per 500g but you’ll know it’s cooked once the juices run clear. Be careful to ensure that the legs and wings are cooked through too.
  •  Once cooked, carefully lift the chicken off the can and carve as you would a normal Sunday roast chicken.
As I was cooking for lots of people when I made this last time, I doubled this recipe up for two chickens. I served the chicken with a spinach, red onion, pumpkin & feta salad, oven baked potato wedges (cooked on the bottom shelf at the same time as the chicken) and corn on the cob with chilli & lime butter.

See here for more side dish inspiration. A perfect indoor BBQ which will remind you of summer!


  1. 11th December 2016 / 12:07 pm

    This sounds so good! We are having Christmas in Aus too, we are going out on xmas day but I'm planning a proper BBQ for the Christmas eve!

    Jasmin Charlotte

  2. 16th December 2016 / 4:21 am

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  3. 16th December 2016 / 10:35 am

    How fab to be spending Christmas in Australia! I would love a BBQ on Boxing Day, but we may be heading to the local pub instead.

  4. 16th December 2016 / 11:10 am

    Hope your having an amazing time celebrating Christmas Australia style! This chicken looks so good, makes my mouth water just looking at it – crispy skin and all juicy inside. Perfect!

  5. 16th December 2016 / 11:18 am

    BBQ's on the beach? What a fun way to spend Christmas and this sounds like a really fun and different way to enjoy a Christmas meal – enjoy!

  6. Andrea Adams
    21st March 2018 / 10:50 am

    LOVE this recipe! I tried this twice, once with regular chicken that I bought from my local grocer, and the other which was Organic Chicken (in Bali). I never knew that the quality of chicken could make such a huge difference in the taste!!! And it make ALL the difference! The only difference in my recipe was that I sauteed my potatoes instead of baking them! Oh, well! Thank you so much anyway.

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