1 whole 5 to 6 pound chicken
1 can of beer
1 cup spice rub
Tip 1: Before we get started. Make sure that the can of beer fits inside the chicken. You don't want to fight with this issue over a live fire.
Tip 2: Make sure that the place you are going to place this bird is tall enough for a chicken to sit up in. You don't want to lower the lid on your grill only to find that the chicken doesn't fit.
You want to cut the top of the can off the beer can. This maximizes the flow of moisture from the beer to the bird. Most any can opener can be used to cut the top off a beer can. Works great. You will need to get rid of half the beer from the can some how. I leave that up to you. Next add 1/2 cup of your spice rub to the can and give it a quick stir. The can is now ready.
Take the other half of your spice rub and apply it to the chicken. Don't worry too much about getting it on the skin. Skin won't let flavor reach the meat so you need to work your spice rub in, under the skin as much as possible. Get it inside the chicken as well. Just because you put rub in the beer doesn't mean that it will season the inside too much. The spice in the can adds flavor but not like direct contact. (I added a little butter to the chicken as well.)
You will be grilling your beer can chicken indirectly. (To do this I turned on the front and back burners but left the middle one off) Place the beer can on the grill right where you want the bird to be.
With the can in place it is time to sit this bird down. You are going to get your hands dirty here. Don't worry about it. You want to slowly and gently sit the chicken over the can. Try not to force it or put too much pressure on the bird to get into position. You might need to press it down a little, but you shouldn't have to force it.
Close the lid on your grill and wash everything. This is my rule with chicken; when the bird is on the grill everything that did or could have touched that bird has to be washed. When the chicken is done and ready to come out there shouldn't be a single germ left behind.
You want to maintain a temperature in your grill around 300 to 325 degrees F. during the cooking time. You need to cook it at a temperature several degrees above the boiling point of water or the liquid in the can won't do anything for this bird.
Depending on how even your heat is you shouldn't have much to do now but wait for your chicken to cook. Time isn't important to chicken, temperature is. When this bird reaches an internal temperature of 175 degrees F. your bird is ready to come of the heat. Measure the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh being careful not to touch the bone with your thermometer. It isn't finished yet because you want to let it rest for about ten minutes before you begin carving it.
A 5 to 6 pound bird should take you about two to three hours to cook depending on the temperature.
Once the chicken has had time to rest (again, 10 minutes) it is ready to carve. I find that the can tends to get stuck inside the bird. Typically there isn't much (if any) liquid left inside the can. Lay the bird down and pull the can out gripping it with a pair of tongs. With the can out of the chicken, it is just like any other (just better tasting). Carve it up and enjoy.