Remove the giblets, rinse and dry the chicken, and rub it inside and out with seasoning (I use kosher salt & freshly-ground pepper). Set a half-full can of beer in the center of a pie pan. Holding the chicken vertically, lower it onto the can, then arrange the legs so that the chicken stands up in the pie pan.
Using indirect heat in a covered kettle-style charcoal or gas grill, place the chicken in the center of the grill and allow it to roast for about one hour with the grill lid closed. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer for doneness.
Remove the beer can, then allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before carving. It takes two people to extract the can from the chicken: one to lift up the chicken and one to pull the can out from below. Use old oven mitts for this task; you’ll need to wash them later.
Equipment & Technique
You want to use a pie pan because a lot of liquid will drain out of the chicken as it cooks (don’t worry, the chicken itself will be quite moist when cooked). You can purchase a combination beer can holder/roasting stand, but I’ve found that all you really need is a can of beer and a chicken . . . with the chicken standing vertically, the bottom of the beer can and the drumsticks will form a tripod that will hold the chicken up as it cooks. In the photo above, the chicken on the left is standing on its own, and I’m using a beer can holder/stand on the other chicken.
Indirect heating, on either a charcoal or gas grill, means arranging the charcoal or using gas burners on either side of the chicken, not directly under it. There’s a good explanation, with photos, here.