Beer Can Chicken Nachos

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Today’s recipe is a twofer. Yes, these Beer Can Chicken Nachos are obviously nachos, but you’re looking at two meals here if you live in a two-person household. Bae and I ate roughly half of the beer can chicken with a few sides one night and a mountain of nachos the next. Yes, we know we are incredibly hard done by. The best thing about this recipe is it is very much a choose-your-own-adventure kind of deal. Not so much about nachos, just make the chicken. Nacho-loving vegetarian? Forget about the chicken and double down on the pinto beans. Whatever your heart desires, today’s recipe has it…provided your heart wants Tex Mex.

Beer Can Chicken

Behold one of the stranger photos I’ve ever taken. There is no question about it, beer can chicken makes for an awkward subject. But I have to say, the more I look at this photo the more enamored I am with it. It’s just so bizarre that it’s almost beautiful. Emphasis on the almost. But enough about my personal photography critiques, let’s talk about this bird.

Beer Can Chicken

Beer can chicken is incredibly straightforward. The hardest thing you have to do is get a fire going if you’re cooking with charcoal. If you are working with a gas grill, crack a beer, no brain power required.

Maple Cumin Pinto Beans

In its simplest form, beer can chicken delivers exactly what you’d expect. All you need is a chicken – preferably seasoned in some way, and yes, just salt does count – and a beer can. You simply season the chicken with a dry rub, empty half a can of beer into your mouth, and shove what remains where the chicken’s sun does not shine. Pop it on the ‘Q and let her go over indirect heat for an hour fifteen. That’s seriously it.

Fresh Veggie Toppings

Now, you may have noticed that the can in the photo above is actually a La Croix can. No, I’m not trying to reinvent beer can chicken by steaming it internally with sparkling water enhanced with grapefruit vapors. I just couldn’t seem to find a beer can that wasn’t a tallboy.

Sprinkling cheese on Tortilla Chips

Generally, I am a-ok with a tall boy because more beer is, well, more beer. But when it comes to beer can chicken, balance is everything. You need the drumsticks to touch the grill. The idea is to create a sort of tripod with the beer can and chicken legs. Obviously, that would prove very difficult if the chicken were perched atop a very tall can. So, armed with only tallboy beer cans, I pour a bit of beer into a La Croix can and made use of that. Worked like a charm and made the chicken look trendy and almost healthy. Almost. So, alls well that ends well, but it does beg the question – can you still call it beer can chicken without the beer can? Something to ponder.

Beer Can Chicken Nachos ready for the oven.

Beyond the perfect, smoky, internally steamed chicken, you have these maple cumin pinto beans. Like the chicken, these beans could not be simpler. You basically sauté onion and invite a clove or two of minced garlic to the party. You leave them to sweat it out before you add your beans. Then, you add a dash of maple syrup and a smattering of cumin, and a splash of water. Those are scientific measurements, btw, if you didn’t know. Let everything cook down and get happy, and then you stir in some jalapeno and cilantro. Honestly, you could forget about the chicken and tortilla chips and just serve these beans over rice. I wouldn’t even be mad.

Beer Can Chicken Nachos

From there, it’s all about the cheese and a host of fresh toppings. We’re talking shredded jalapeño cheddar, diced raw white onion, tomatoes, and avocado. And, of course, every plate of nachos needs a dollop of sour cream. But I didn’t seem to think about that when I was at the grocery store, so I added yogurt instead. Full fat, darling because what else is there? Honestly, I couldn’t even tell the difference.

Beer Can Chicken Nachos

So, that is everything you need to know about these Beer Can Chicken Nachos. As with many of the recipes on this here blog, this dish is a couple of solid recipes stitched together. Use one or use them all and create the kind of meal that speaks to you…or something inspirational like that.

Beer Can Chicken Nachos


Beer Can Chicken Nachos

Beer Can Chicken Nachos delivers BBQ excellence pub-style. Rounded out with pinto beans and a fresh pico de gallo, this snack-worthy chip tower will have you coming back for more.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Tex Mex
Servings 4


Beer Can Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 tsp acho chili powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp demerara sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 (355 ml, 12 fl oz.) can beer lager or ale

Maple Cumin Pinto Beans

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 can pinto beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 jalapeno quartered and sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro finely chopped

Beer Can Chicken Nachos

  • 1 large bag tortilla chips
  • 150g (5.3oz) jalapeno cheddar shredded
  • 1 batch Maple Cumin Pinto Beans see above
  • 1/2 – 3/4 Beer Can Chicken shredded, see above
  • 1/2 white onion diced
  • 12-14 cherry or grape tomatoes halved
  • 1 avocado diced
  • 1 jalapeno thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup full fat Greek yogurt for serving


For the Beer Can Chicken

  • Rinse and pat dry the inside and outside of the chicken. Trim any excess fat and set aside
  • In a small bowl whisk the spices together. Rub the chicken with the dry rub. Make sure to rub the spices inside the cavity as well.
  • Open the beer and pour half of it into a glass. Drink, if desired. Fashion two extra holes on the top of the can using church key can opener. Lower the chicken over the beer can. Balance the chicken in such a way that it forms a tripod, using the drumsticks and the beer can for support. Transfer the chicken to a BBQ-safe baking sheet and set aside.
  • Heat one side of a gas or charcoal grill to 350-375° F. Place the chicken, sheet and all, on the opposite side of the grill and cover. Cook for roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes or until juices run clear and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Transfer the chicken to a platter. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

Maple Cumin Pinto Bean

  • Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a cast iron skillet until shimmering. Add the onion and reduce the heat to low. Sprinkle in a generous pinch of salt and slowly sauté until just translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes more.
  • Pour the beans into the skillet and stir in the maple syrup, cumin and water. Increase the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 10-15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
  • Take the beans off of the heat and stir in the jalapeños and cilantro. Taste and season with salt accordingly.

For the Beer Can Chicken Nachos

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread 1/3 of the bag of tortilla chips across the sheet in an even layer. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese over top and top the cheese with 1/3 of the shredded chicken. Finally, spoon 1/3 of beans on top of the chicken. Repeat these steps until you run out of tortilla chips, cheese, beans, and chicken.
  • Transfer the nachos to the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the chips are lightly golden.
  • While the chips are in the oven, place the onion, tomatoes, jalapeño, avocado, and cilantro in a medium-sized bowl. Add the lime juice, olive oil, cumin and salt. Toss to coat.
  • Take the chips out of the oven and spoon the tomato mixture over top. Add a dollop of yogurt and serve immediately with beer.
Keyword beans, beer, chicken, nachos

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