Beer Brined and Grilled Chicken

March 26, 2011

There are so many great uses for beer.  It's great when it it is hot or even when it's not.  You can drink it on the coast or wherever you like it the most.  You can drink it here, you can drink it there, you can drink it (almost) anywhere!  Uh, sorry, my son is on a Seuss kick.  More importantly for grill recipes, you can soak meat in it!  This beer brined chicken produces a really great tasting, juicy and tender grilled chicken.  The chicken really doesn't need much else after the brine soaking, but I'll include a simple rub to make it look pretty and give it a little more barbecue taste.  If you don't have all of the rub ingredients, just hit her with a healthy amount of fresh ground pepper and leave it at that.  The brine is the star of the show here.

  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 50 mins
  • Yields: 4 Servings


1 whole roasting chicken

2 cups water

1/4 cup Kosher salt

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 12 ounce Lager beers

3 teaspoons paprika

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon onion powder


1Mix together the water, Kosher salt and brown sugar in a small sauce pan and heat on the stove until just before boiling.

2Remove from the heat and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar.

3Stir in the two beers and allow the brine mixture to cool to room temperature.

4Remove the bag of nasty gizzards and what-not from the cavity of the whole chicken and then rinse with cold water.

5Place the whole chicken in a sealable bag and pour in the brine.

6Place the bag o' chicken and beer brine in a bowl large enough to catch any leaks (trust me on this one, my wife still won't let me live that one down...) and then place in the refrigerator.

7Allow the chicken to soak in the brine for 12 hours.

8Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse thoroughly with cold water.  I know it's tempting, but don't try to salvage that beer, that's just nasty.

9At this point, I like to butterfly the chicken so that it cooks faster.  Don't know how to do that?  Check out these instructions.  It's easy and I even saw it as a challenge on one of those Food Network Challenge things, so if that ever comes up in your life, you're welcome...

10Preheat the grill, keep one side at low and the other at medium.

11Combine the paprika, cumin, pepper, celery salt and onion powder in a small bowl.

12Pat dry the chicken and then rub with the paprika rub.

13Grill the chicken skin side down for about 10 minutes with the lid closed, moving it around if the fat produces flare-ups.

14Flip the chicken over and continue to grill until a thermometer in the breast meat reads around 160 degrees, 170 in the thigh.  It should take around 30 - 45 minutes, but rely on the temperature and not the time.  Move the chicken over to the lower heat side if the skin gets a little too browned or burned.  You can always peel that skin off, so don't sweat it if you burn a litte.

15Remove the beer brined chicken from the grill and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

16Enjoy with the rest of that beer you purchased!


2 Reviews


June 28, 2019

I made this recipe but did the indirect grilling method 1 3/4 -2 hrs depending on size of chicken. It was magnificent. Skin was like eating a sweet and salty delight. Can’t wait to try it again.


November 24, 2015

Save some beer to stay hydrated

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