Beer Can Chicken Recipe

Beer Can Chicken Recipe

I remember learning how to run my first cheap offset-smoker cooking whole chickens on a beer can – what we call Beer Can Chicken. Whole chickens are inexpensive; so cooking them makes it easy on the pocket and good for practice. Also the flavor of a whole smoked bird is hard to beat… and these just look cool sitting up on a beer can. Now I’m not sure who came up with the idea of sitting a chicken on a beer can but I do know that cooking one vertical helps keep the meat moist and tender. The beer doesn’t actually do much for the flavor of the meat, but it does act as good support during the smoking process. Beer Can Chicken Here’s what you’ll need for this Beer Can Chicken recipe: – 1 Whole Chicken (raw of course) – 1 can of Beer (cheaper the better) – All Purpose Seasoning *recipe to follow – Killer Hog’s The BBQ Rub or your favorite bbq seasoning – Butcher BBQ’s Bird Booster Beer Can Chicken First you’ll need to remove the chicken from the packaging. It’s best to place it in the sink, so you don’t contaminate anything. Always disinfect any area that comes into contact with raw chicken. Most chickens are packed with giblets so remove these from the cavity. Rinse the bird under cool water and pat dry. Place the whole chicken on a platter for seasoning. Spray the outside of the skin with a light coating of Vegetable cooking spray and sprinkle All Purpose rub on the outside. You can use any all purpose seasoning that you like but here’s a simple version that’s good on chicken: Beer Can Chicken All Purpose Rub – 1 cup Salt – ½ cup Granulated Garlic – ¼ cup Black Pepper – 1 tsp Parsley (dried) – 1 tsp Oregano (dried) Mix the ingredients in a bowl and store in an airtight container. This recipe makes enough for several uses. Add a layer of Killer Hog’s The BBQ Rub to the outside of the chicken. Be sure to sprinkle both AP and BBQ Rub inside of the cavity as well. Beer Can Chicken I also use an injection to add extra moisture and flavor to the meat. This week I’m using Butcher BBQ’s Bird Booster, but you can use just about anything. The ratio for the bird booster is 2 cups of liquid (directions call for water but I substituted chicken broth) to ¼ cup of bird booster powder. Whisk these ingredients in a bowl and it’s ready to use. To inject the beer can chicken hit each breast 3 or 4 times just off the breast bone. Move the needle to the lower side of the breast and pump injection down the bottom side. Move down to the legs and stick it a couple times and then go in through each thigh. When it’s all done you will have used about 1 ½ cups of the solution. Discard any remaining injection because the needle has contaminated it. Beer Can Chicken Now the chicken is ready to go on the beer can. You’ll need a 12oz can of beer to hold the chicken. Pour out (or drink) about ¼ of the beer and open up the top a little so steam can escape. I found a vertical beer can chicken rack that holds a 12oz can perfectly and it gives the chicken a little more support which keeps it from tipping over. It can be a little challenging to balance the chicken on just the can, so you may want to invest in rack. I found the one at Lowes for around $6. Once the chicken is sitting on the can, it’s ready to go on the smoker. The cooking temperature I use for smoked chicken is 300 degrees. It may sound a little hot, but trust me the skin will turn out perfect at this temperature. Set your smoker or grill up for indirect cooking and add a couple chunks of fruit wood for flavor. You can use a stronger wood like hickory or pecan if you like, but a little goes a long way with poultry. Beer Can Chicken Once the smoker is running at 300 degrees, place the beer can chicken on the pit and close the lid. It will take about 2 hours depending on the size of the chicken. When it comes to knowing when beer can chicken is done, it’s best to have a decent thermometer. I use a Thermoworks Chef Alarm to monitor the internal temperature, so I don’t have to constantly keep opening the lid of the cooker. Beer Can Chicken After 1 hour of cooking insert the probe into the thickest part of the thigh and keep an eye on the temperature. Chicken is done when it hits 175 in the thigh and 165 in the breast. You’ll want to be sure to check both areas before removing it from the smoker. This Beer Can Chicken took 2 hours to reach final temperature and when the thighs were close I moved the probe to the breast just to confirm that it was ready. Carefully remove the chicken from the smoker and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting into it. I find it easiest to remove the leg quarters first, then the wings, and finally the breast. It portions the chicken out for serving and is easier to carve this way. Beer Can Chicken Right away you’ll see that the meat is moist and tender and the skin has a slight crisp texture. I like to cut the breast cross ways and leave a little skin on each slice. You really get the flavor of the grill, the seasonings, and the injection throughout each bite. Give this Beer Can Chicken recipe a try the next time you’re thinking about smoking whole chickens. You can’t go wrong with it! Malcom Reed Connect on Facebook Follow me on Twitter Subscribe to my YouTube Channel Find me on Google+ Follow me on Instagram Buy Killer Hogs Products Here Beer Can Chicken

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17 responses to “Beer Can Chicken Recipe”

  1. david coffman says:

    Malcom,I’m having trouble getting the skin to turn out right,it keeps coming out rubbery and tuff.My Masterbilt smoker will only go up to 275.Is that the problem,Thanks

  2. Ben says:

    Hi Malcom,

    My wife recently gave me my first offset smoker, I saw your video on how to smoke a turkey. I thought doing that for Thanksgiving would be a good idea, but figured I should practice a bit. Do you think this is a good intro into smoking a bird? Also, if you have time. I was trying to find something on smoking a tri tip, I saw your video on a grilled tri tip, but wasn’t sure if you have any suggestions on smoking a tri tip?



  3. Chuck Hanson says:

    Hi Malcom, your video recipes are so helpful and great for us amateur BBQ guys to look good. This one gave me some problems. I have a Traeger pellet grill and I followed your recipe to the letter. Here’s what happened: it was actually too juicy with the injection, the skin was not crispy and it was actually done in 1 hr 30 min but I left it on for almost 2 hrs to try and crisp up the skin.

    Would upping the temp to 325 or 350 and reducing the time to +/- 1 hr 30 min help to make skin more crispy? Thanks for answering my question.

    By the way, the chicken tasted great and even though the skin wasn’t crispy it got rave reviews at the table!!

    • Malcom Reed says:

      Make sure you dry the skin really, really well – then spray it with cooking spray before seasoning. Don’t leave it on once it hit the right internal temp – that will make for bad, dry chicken. You can push the temp up that would be fine.

  4. Adam hayes says:

    I purchased my first Killer Hogs BBQ rub. Going to do a beer can chicken tonight. We have a REC TEC pellet smoker and I’m still learning. We enjoy your site and videos.

  5. Roc says:

    Thank you Malcom,
    Your videos are fantastic.
    I am an inexperienced BBQer , and I just bought a pellet smoker after making a brisket on my charcoal grill and really earning that brisket, getting a pellet smoker was an easy decision although my friends will still be giving me a hard time for taking the easy way out. I am going to try out the beer can chicken tonight, and just bought a skirt steak to make some fajitas tomorrow. Thanks for all your good advice

  6. David S. says:

    do you have to brine the chicken for this recipe?

  7. Elena says:

    Hey Malcom,

    Do you use any liquid in the smoker pan or just smoke it with the beer can only? I’ve smoked beer can chickens before, but it didn’t seem like the beer evaporated much.


  8. Jason says:

    Malcolm you are the man!

    I purchased the BGE about a year ago. I’ve ruined quite a few meals in the learning process… following you on YouTube for about 6 months. The wife now understands and accepts my purchase. Thank you for your passion.

  9. Vanette Payne says:

    For crispier skin, fully dry the chicken with papertowels and heavily coat with kosher salt. Let it chill in fridge for about 8 hours. The kosher salt pulls moisture from the outside to the inside.

  10. Russell Tomaszewski says:

    How do you find the joints, so your not pulling off the skin? By the way the SMOKED MAC CHEESE HAS BEEN A HIT.

  11. Rick Bowers says:

    Hey Malcolm!! Thanks for all that you do…
    I’ve been a cop now for going on 32 years, and getting close to retirement. Some people fish, some play golf, others BBQ. I do all 3, but there’s just something about firing up the ‘ol grill, and getting a bunch of: “Damn, this is good”, & “How’d you cook this”? I use A LOT of your spices, and sauces, and love all of them! If you get a chance, just wondering if you could make this recipe (Beer Can Chicken & Smoked Mac & Cheese), printable? I’ve tried numerous recipe’s from you, and NONE have failed!! I like have to have the recipe on hand simply to verify the cooking temps, etc. If I don’t, a quick check on YouTube will verify my decision making. Thanks again for what you do! Most folks don’t like giving away their “cooking (grilling) secrets, let alone their personal recipes!! “You know it’s gonna be good”!!! Stay safe brother!!

  12. Patty A Paulsen says:

    Best. Chicken. Ever!

    Thanks, Malcolm.

  13. David Turkovic says:

    Hey Malcolm – you are a legend.

    Have you ever tried smoking with eucalyptus wood – specifically red gum or yellow box?
    (yes – i’m an Aussie)

    It gives off a nice clean flame with a tasty smoke flavour.
    Ran with your recipe with our wood – and it was absolutely awesome.

    Cheers mate

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