- 1 (12-ounce) can lager or sour beer, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 (4 to 4 1/2) pound whole chicken
- 1/4 cup beer, reserved from above
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- Gas or charcoal grill
- Metal or aluminuim baking dish
- Measuring cup and spoon
- Heat an outdoor grill for high, indirect heat. Heat a gas grill by heating 2 out of 3 (or 3 out of 4) of the burners to high heat. Keep the remaining burners off. For a charcoal grill, light a full chimney of charcoal and arrange the coals on one side of the grill. Heat the grates and let the coals get white and ashy, about 15 minutes. Aim for an internal grill temperature of 425 to 450ºF.
- Pour out about half of beer. Pour out or drink about half of the beer, reserving 1/4 cup if you plan to baste the chicken.
- Season the chicken with a spice rub. Stir the salt, paprika, thyme, and cumin together in a small bowl. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle it inside and out with the spice mixture.
- Prop the chicken on the beer can. Place the beer can inside a metal 9×13-inch baking pan. Lower the chicken leg-side down onto the beer until it is securely propped upright. If using a disposable foil pan, be careful when picking the pan up, as it may buckle: your best bet is to have a firm grip on the chicken with one hand while holding the foil pan with the other.
- Grill for 35 minutes over indirect heat. Place the pan over indirect heat (over the turned-off burners or where there are no coals). Pour 1 cup of water into the pan. Cover and grill for 35 minutes. At this point, it will start to brown and look almost cooked through, even thought it is not.
- Make the optional basting sauce. Stir the reserved 1/4 cup beer, vinegar, and brown sugar together in a small bowl.
- Baste and grill 25 to 35 minutes more. Baste the chicken with the sauce and continue to cook, covered, basting every 10 minutes, until the skin is deeply colored, crisp, and a probe thermometer in the deepest part of the thigh registers 165°F, 25 to 35 minutes more. Rotate the pan as needed so that the chicken browns evenly.
- Rest, then carve the chicken. Remove the chicken and the pan with its drippings from the grill. (If you using a foil pan, slide the pan onto a baking sheet before moving it around. Let the chicken rest the chicken at least 10 minutes. To remove the chicken from the beer can, first move the chicken still on the can to a clean cutting board. Have one person have a firm grip on the can to hold it in place (careful, it’s hot!) while a second person grasps the chicken with wadded paper towels or a kitchen towel and pulls it off the can. Carve and serve.
Make ahead: The chicken can be seasoned with the dry rub up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated.
Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.