Beer Can Chicken with Cowboy Beans and Tortillas

Preparation & Cooking Time: 45 minutes | Grilling time: 1¼ to 1½ hours
Serves: 6


Recipe by Jamie Purviance


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crumbled
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 whole chicken, about 4½ pounds, neck, giblets, and any excess fat removed, patted dry
  • 1 can (12 ounces) beer, at room temperature, divided


  • 8 slices bacon, 8 to 10 ounces total, finely chopped
  • ½ medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1–2 jalapeño chile peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 cans (each 15 ounces) pinto beans or 4 cups cooked pinto beans, strained with cooking liquid reserved
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice

  • 6–12 flour tortillas, warmed on the grill
  • Store-bought tomato salsa
  • Lime wedges


  1. Whisk the marinade ingredients. Carefully run your fingers over the breast meat, drumsticks, and thighs and under the skin to loosen it, being careful not to tear the skin. Spoon some of the marinade under the skin directly on the breast meat and thighs and rub it into the meat. Spread the remaining marinade all over the outside of the chicken, especially the legs. Discard any excess marinade.

  2. Prepare the grill for indirect cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F).

  3. Pour ½ cup beer into the center cup of a Weber Gourmet BBQ System™ poultry roaster. Place the chicken over the center cup so it sits securely. If you don't have a poultry roaster, open the can of beer and pour out about two-thirds (reserve for the beans). Using a church key–style can opener, make two more holes in the top of the can. Place the can on a solid surface, and then lower the chicken cavity over the can. Tuck the tips of the wings behind the chicken’s back.

  4. Place the poultry roaster with the chicken (or the chicken-on-a-can, balancing it on its two legs and the can like a tripod) over indirect medium heat, close the lid, and cook until the juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh (not touching the bone) registers 160° to 165°F, 1¼ to 1½ hours. Check at the halfway point, and cover the wing tips with foil if they begin to brown too quickly. Remove the poultry roaster or chicken-on-a-can from the grill and let the chicken rest for 10 to 15 minutes (the internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees during this time). Carefully lift the chicken from the roaster or can. Shred or cut the meat into bite-sized pieces.

  5. In a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, fry the bacon until it starts to release its fat and is tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. (If necessary, drain all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan.) Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño and cook until the onion is tender and the bacon is browned, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the beans with 1 cup of their cooking liquid, the tomatoes and juice, and ½ cup of the reserved beer and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook until the beans have thickened to your liking, 10 to 15 minutes (if too thick, thin with more of the cooking liquid or add a little water). Remove from the heat.

  6. Serve the chicken warm with the beans, tortillas, salsa, and lime wedges.


Special equipment: Weber Gourmet BBQ System™ Poultry Roaster (optional), church key–style can opener, instant-read thermometer