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Traeger Beer Can Chicken

My Traeger Beer Can Chicken uses no fancy equipment and relies on the chicken’s legs and the beer can to form a tripod that holds your chicken up on your wood-pellet grill. Super moist and flavorful, you’re going to love this delicious whole grilled chicken.

Traeger Beer Can Chicken

Summertime, the best time of the year! You can cook outside, eat outside, just BE outside.

Grilling and BBQs are the things I look forward to the most every year, and this popular Beer Can Chicken method is one of my favorite ways to prepare chicken.

It takes about and hour to an hour and a half to cook over indirect heat.

This chicken is golden and crispy and carves up juicy and delicious and goes with any occasion or event. Having a large group for dinner? Prepare 2 or more on your grill!

It’s even great cold, so pack up that picnic basket and head for the park or the lake.

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Do I have to rinse my whole chicken before cooking?

It used to be a common practice to rinse your fowl before cooking. Now, this subject has taken on a different view. Cooking your chicken to the proper internal temperature will kill any bacteria that may be present.

There is no need to rinse and risk spreading and contaminating your whole kitchen with the splashing that happens, the exposure to everything in the area of washing, and not to mention your hands. You’re doing way more harm than good, in most cases. 

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Everyone has their own opinion, so you do what you feel you must, but also know if you are rinsing your chicken you’re wrong.

If you choose to rinse despite all evidence and advice to the contrary, be sure to thoroughly clean the whole area with a disinfectant and to wash any utensils used and your hands before proceeding with the preparation of other foods.

How to cook chicken safely

The key here is being careful, and making sure to use a good meat thermometer to ensure the meat reaches the proper internal temperature before serving.

The recommended internal temperature for chicken is 165 degrees. Insert your meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh but not touching the bone.

So do your research, and choose your preference is what I suggest.

How do I prepare a Beer Can Chicken?

Pat dry your whole chicken, being sure to remove the neck and packet of giblets from the cavity and discard. Rub chicken with oil and grab your favorite dry rub and salt and pepper and apply inside and out.

Grab a can of beer (your choice) and drink or pour out around ½ of the beer. If you are using a drip pan, however, you can pour the other ½ a can of beer right in the bottom.

Place your chicken, legs down, onto the can of beer.

Side note: Some like to stuff a bunch of fresh herbs into the can of beer and also into the top of the cavity. I like to use fresh thyme or rosemary, but you could use whatever you prefer. I love cooking with fresh herbs whenever possible because they add to the flavor.

Do I need a Beer Can Chicken Holder?

This is a well debated subject, and really depends on your preference. True, the chicken may remain more stable when using the beer can chicken stand, but if you don’t have one and would prefer not to buy one, you can make it work without.

Now that we’ve covered the do’s and don’ts and what if’s of cooking chicken, let’s get on with the fun part.

What to serve with your Beer Can Chicken

All of the following side dish recipes are available for you right here on my site!

Suggestions for side dishes:

  1. Easy Broccoli Salad Recipe (this is a GREAT option for a BBQ or picnic, whipped up the night before and left to marinade in the refrigerator, easy and quick)
  2. Loaded Baked Potato Salad (great for a crowd)
  3. Traeger Grilled Prosciutto Asparagus
  4. Traeger Grilled Smashed Potatoes
  5. Southern Style Milk and Butter Boiled Corn on the Cob
  6. Coleslaw Recipe

Several different and delicious recipes to get you started!

Traeger Grilled Prosciutto Asparagus

Easy Grilled Beer Can Chicken

Chicken is a great option for a family dinner or a great big shindig! Almost any side dishes pair well with chicken. You can keep it simple and serve one side and veggie, or go all out for a big get together with appetizers for guests while they’re waiting for the main event and then finish off with a dessert they will savor. 

I suggest my Traeger Apple Crisp for dessert, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Who doesn’t want apple pie and ice cream in the summertime?

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Traeger Beer Can Chicken

Traeger Beer Can Chicken

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Rest Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

An easy Traeger beer can chicken that requires no stand! Also no washing prior to cooking. Stop that.


  • 1 4-5 pound chicken
  • 1/2 cup dry chicken rub
  • 1 can beer


  1. Preheat your grill on "smoke" for 4-5 minutes with the lid open. Set the temperature to high, and close the lid and preheat for an additional 10-15 minutes until it reaches 450 degrees.
  2. Pour out half the beer into your mouth, and then shove the open can where the sun doesn't shine in the chicken. Push it down there, and use the legs as a tripod to hold it up.
  3. Grill until the internal temperature is 165°.
  4. Carefully remove the chicken from the grill and let rest for 15 minutes. Cut and serve!

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 882Total Fat: 51gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 31gCholesterol: 366mgSodium: 279mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 94g

Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate. If you are tracking these things for medical purposes please consult an outside, trusted source. Thanks!

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Jennifer Wilson

Monday 20th of July 2020

I assume this nutritional value is for the whole chicken?? Great, easy recipe👍🏼


Monday 18th of May 2020

2 comments, 1) to Recipe First. if you have enough time to criticize, you have enough time to read. just saying. 2) items 4 and 5 in the receipt seems to be the same thing. good information. thank you


Friday 3rd of July 2020

@Nicole Johnson, the person was referring to the other poster below named “Recipe First”, not telling you to put the recipe first. Simmer down everyone! :)

Nicole Johnson

Monday 18th of May 2020

Hi Dan! 1. Not putting the recipe first, but thanks for the suggestion. Please use the "Jump to Recipe" button at the top of the page if you would like to skip past all of the useful information. Not sure what you mean by the criticize comment, but would like to ask that you take your own advice there. 2. Thank you. Correcting that now.

Recipe First

Saturday 16th of May 2020

Not a huge fan of this recipe. Setting the Treager to high until it's 450, then put the chicken on? Burnt the exterior of the chicken, then left the inside done unevenly. Also, it was not mentioned what happens if you don't pour out enough of the beer: mine boiled over and actually caught the inside of the grill and drip bucket on fire. hmmm. Maybe spend a little more time on the details of cooking it rather than talking about the sides, whether or not to rinse the chicken, your thoughts on summer, along with 2 dozen pictures. I know you probably feel like you need to put those pictures up so that it shows well on Pinterest search function, but come on. Just put the steps up there. I'm much more likely to come back to your page if I can get to the recipe first: i'm pushed for time. I don't have 30 minutes to read through your suggestions. I'll do that after I make the dinner.

Nicole Johnson

Sunday 17th of May 2020

There's a button at the top where you can jump right to the recipe if you want to skip past the other information. Your chicken shouldn't have burned on the outside running it at 450°, the recipe states you should pour out half of the beer, so I didn't think a reason would be necessary there. Also, beer doesn't have enough alcohol in it to burn like that so unless you filled your can with whiskey or another strong spirit it shouldn't have done anything to your drip pan or grease bucket.

I'm sorry your chicken didn't turn out, and hope you have a great rest of your weekend.

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