How to Smoke Beer Can Chicken

Beer can chicken is an ingenious way to cook up a delicious bird! Moisture and flavor from the beer infuse into the chicken as it cooks. Start with a whole chicken; remove the giblets and wash the chicken in cold water before patting dry. Rub some oil or butter on the bird and add a spice mix of your choice: Adobo seasoning works well, as does a homemade mix with brown sugar, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Cayenne is a nice addition if you’re looking for a bit more heat.

Next, take a half-full beer can (enjoy the other half yourself) and fit the chicken over the can, legs on bottom. This should be pretty stable and easy to put right on the grill or smoker. Throw the chicken on top of some foil on a preheated BBQ and close the lid: you’re going to want indirect heat, so make sure the main heat source isn’t right under the bird. You can use either charcoal or wood chips, but wood chips (such as apple) add another layer of flavor to the smokiness. A gas grill works as well but won’t impart any smoky flavor.

You can cook the bird with medium-high heat for around 1 hour and 15 minutes, until juices run clear when the thigh is pierced or when the breast registers 165oF and the thigh 180oF. You can also cook on a lower temperature and smoke the bird over a few hours; you may want to baste the chicken with sauce partway through the process if you choose this method. Let the chicken rest for around 10 minutes after cooking and enjoy!

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