Smoked Beer Can Chicken is my new favorite way to cook a whole chicken. This method of cooking chicken has been popular with barbecue enthusiasts for quite some time. And whether you use a smoker or grill, you’re going to love the crispy skin and smoke flavor of the incredibly tender and juicy chicken meat.
I used a cranberry lemon shandy made by one of our local breweries. It added a slightly sweet, lemony flavor that was the perfect compliment to the spicy seasoning of the dry rub. The beer adds a subtle flavor to the chicken without being overbearing.
You’ll find some recipes suggest dark beers because of their hearty caramel flavor, but it’s all about the brews you enjoy drinking.
The best beer to use is the kind of beer you enjoy drinking. Those are the flavors that will be passed on to the foods you use them to create.
Other names for this recipe are “beer butt chicken” and “beer in the rear chicken.” But, no matter what you call it, my smoked beer can chicken recipe creates moist, tender chicken that your whole family will love.
I used an electric smoker to make this recipe, but you can use a gas grill, pellet grill, or charcoal grill using indirect heat to make my recipe.
Ingredients to make Smoked Beer Can Chicken
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make my Smoked Beer Can Chicken recipe. In Chef Speak, this is called the “Mise en Place,” which translates to “Everything in its Place.”
Not only does setting up your ingredients ahead of time speed up the cooking process, it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
Can I use other seasonings in the dry rub?
Absolutely! The key to making delicious dishes you and your family enjoy eating is to cook with the ingredients and seasonings you like.
Feel free to adjust the dry rub seasonings to fit your tastes. You can use a BBQ seasoning blend, jerk seasoning, cajun seasoning, or lemon pepper to make this recipe.
For a sweeter flavor, add a little brown sugar to the dry rub. If you’re not a fan of heat, leave out the cayenne pepper. You can also add your favorite fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme, to the mixture.
How to Make Smoked Beer Can Chicken
- Add the kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, sweet paprika, turmeric, and cayenne pepper to a small bowl.
- Mix the seasonings together thoroughly to make the dry spice rub.
- Pat the whole chicken dry with paper towels. This will help the skin of the chicken get crispy.
- Place the chicken in a roasting pan or disposable pan and season the outside of the chicken with dry rub.
- After seasoning the entire bird, place an opened can of beer (less two ounces) in the beer can holder, then place the cavity of the chicken over the top of the beer can. It will be a snug fit over the top of the holder, but that will help keep the chicken upright.
- Place the chicken directly on the smoker rack with a drip pan underneath to catch the drippings during the cooking process. Place a temperature probe or meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh to monitor the internal temperature.
- Smoke the whole bird until an internal temperature of 150 degrees F. has been reached. Then, carefully remove it from the smoker and wrap the bottom of the legs with aluminum foil. Return it to the smoker until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
*Cooking time can vary. Remember, we are cooking to temperature, not a specific time.
- Carefully remove the chicken from the smoker and let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
*Make sure to keep hold of the beer can base and not just the chicken when removing it from the smoker or grill. The beer will be very hot. Discard any leftover beer.
Serve my smoked beer can chicken with roasted potato wedges and green beans or any of your favorite side dishes.
Store any leftover chicken in an airtight container refrigerated for 3-4 days. It can also be kept frozen in a freezer-safe container for 4-6 weeks.
I love the ThermoPro wireless meat thermometers. The easy to use app makes it easy to track the temperatures of the meats and seafood your cooking.
You get a great variety of wood chips with this starter pack. You get one bag of apple, cheery, mesquite, and hickory wood chips in each variety pack.
Hold the chicken with a fork and a pair of tongs (or heat-proof gloves) and carefully pull the can out of the chicken, placing it in the sink. I suggest doing this in the kitchen sink. If any of the hot beer spills, it will go down the drain and away from your body.
Cooking at too low of a temperature is the reason this can happen. That is why I suggest smoking chicken at a slightly higher temperature of 275 degrees F.
Yes, you can. You can substitute wine, non-alcoholic beer or Dr. Pepper, root beer, ginger ale, apple cider, or apple juice. It doesn’t even have to be a soda or beer can. You can clean out a vegetable can and add the liquid to that can.