Beer Brined Beer Can Chicken is a double dose of beer, in one juicy bird. The beer brine keeps the meat nice and juicy, while grilling it with a beer can keeps it moist inside as the skin gets crispy on the outside. If you love all things beer and grilling, it’s time to fire up this recipe! 

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Traeger. As always, all opinions expressed are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Cake ‘n Knife!

Beer brined beer can chicken is like a tongue-twister.

I dare you to try to say it ten times fast!

While saying it might be a mouthful, making it is super simple and the result is the best darn bird you’ll ever eat.

Why is that?

The double dose of beer of course!

First you dunk the bird in a beer brine, giving the chicken that juicy delicious flavor before the cooking even gets started.

Then, once you do start cooking, you infuse the chicken with even more beer flavor by grilling it on a beer can. While the bird is staying nice and moist (ugh, still HATE using that word) on the inside, the skin is getting nice and crisp on the outside, locking in those juices.

Beer Brined Beer Can Chicken

Though it does take some time to actually make this dish, the active time is quite short so it doesn’t feel like you are slaving over a hot stove all day long to put a killer meal on the table.

When it comes to grilling, I used to struggle making beer can chicken. The beer can and chicken wouldn’t balance on the wobbly grate, I’d have to keep feeding the grill with charcoal to keep the temperature steady…

Suffice to say it used to be way too much work.

Then Traeger came into my life and changed my thoughts on grilling for good. The Traeger grill is a thing of beauty since it can perform a whole host of fantastic cooking functions from grilling to baking, roasting to smoking.

It is a grill that is super easy to fire up, and that makes grilling all the more approachable if you are anything like me. I hate the idea of tending to the charcoals all day and waiting for-ev-er for the grill to get to temperature.

Beer Brined Beer Can Chicken

The Traeger Pro Series 34 Pellet Grill has really been life-changing because I am grilling now more than I ever have tried to grill before.

The flavor you get from the pellets feeds into the chicken as it cooks, so you are getting that added boost of flavor to pair with the beer.

You can honestly use any of Traeger’s wood pellets for this bird.

Personally I loved using pecan, but any other flavor will totally work!

Beer Brined Beer Can Chicken

Forget trying to heat up the house with an oven! Keep cool before the fall season rolls in and get some amazing food on the table without killing yourself making it.

Note: I used Session lager for the beer brine and the beer can inside the chicken as it grilled. It’s just the right lager flavor, without being overpowering. 

Beer Brined Beer Can Chicken

This Recipe’s Must Haves

This Traeger grill is the obvious choice here – for this recipe and anything else you plan to smoke, grill, roast, etc!

OXO Good Grips Can Opener is the one I use to get the top of the beer can off – it can be a bit of a challenge with other can openers!

I used my dutch oven to brine the chicken in because you can cover it. Fantastic because it’s big enough to hold the brine as well as the chicken.

Traeger grill tongs are AMAZING for larger pieces of meats like roasts and whole chickens. It makes getting the meat on and off the grill so much easier!

Beer Brined Beer Can Chicken

Beer Brined Beer Can Chicken

Yield: Serves 4 to 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 9 hours 15 minutes

A simple beer brine gets the chicken nice and juicy, and then it's hit with another dose of beer by being cooked on the grill with a beer can. It's the ultimate way to cook a whole chicken!


Beer Can Chicken

  • 1 can light lager
  • 1 3½–4-pound chicken
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Beer Brine

  • 3 12-ounce cans light lager
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns


  1. In a large pot, combine ingredients for the beer brine, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Place the chicken in the brine and refrigerator overnight (or for at least 8 hours).
  2. When ready to cook, heat grill to high.
  3. In a small bowl, combine salt, brown sugar, paprika, and cayenne pepper to make a dry rub.
  4. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Apply the dry rub all over the chicken in an even layer. Set aside.
  5. Use a can opener to remove the entire top of the beer can for the chicken. Pour half of the beer into a glass and ENJOY.
  6. Use a can opener to remove the entire top of the beer can. Pour half of the beer into a glass and drink as you prep the chicken.
  7. Place cavity of the chicken onto the open can with the legs pointing down. The open can should support the chicken upright.
  8. Place the can with the chicken on the grill over indirect heat and above the drip pan. Cover the grill and grill chicken for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F. Use the Traeger meat probes to keep track of the temperature!
  9. Let chicken rest 10 minutes before carving.