Smoked Beer Can Chicken Recipe

Smoked Beer Can Chicken

Smoked Beer Can Chicken is a delicious and easy way to impress your friends and family with your cooking skills. The Smoked Beer Can Chicken recipe is simple: all you need is a chicken, a can of beer, some seasoning, and some wood chips for smoking. 

Yones Bbq Rubs

What is Beer Can Chicken?

Beer can chicken is a style of cooking chicken that involves placing a whole chicken upright over an open beer can and cooking it on a grill or in an oven. The beer can is partially filled with beer, which steams and flavors the chicken as it cooks.

The popularity of beer can chicken stems from its ability to produce a juicy, flavorful bird with crispy chicken skin. The steam from the beer helps to keep the meat moist while also imparting a subtle beer flavor. Additionally, the vertical position of the chicken allows the fat to drip away, resulting in crispy skin.

To make beer can chicken, the chicken is typically rubbed with a spice mixture before being placed over the beer can. The beer can and chicken is then placed on a grill or in an oven and cooked until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F (74°C).

The texture of smoked beer can chicken is moist and tender, with crispy skin on the outside. The beer adds a subtle flavor to the meat, which can vary depending on the type of beer used. The spice rub also adds additional flavor and can be customized to suit individual tastes. Overall, beer can chicken is a fun and flavorful way to cook a whole chicken.

How To Make Smoked Beer Can Chicken

Preheat the Pellet Smoker

To start, preheat the pellet smoker to 325°F. This temperature is ideal for cooking the chicken to a safe internal temperature without overcooking it. Make sure to follow the instructions on your smoker for preheating, and allow enough time for it to reach the desired temperature.

Rinse and Dry the Chicken

Next, rinse the chicken thoroughly with cold water. This helps to remove any debris or bacteria that may be on the surface of the chicken. Then, use paper towels to pat the chicken dry. It’s important to remove as much moisture as possible, as this will help the BBQ seasoning to stick to the chicken.

Combine Seasonings

Combine the chili powder, salt, pepper, and onion powder in a small bowl. This mixture will be used to season the chicken.

Brush and Rub the Chicken

Brush the chicken with olive oil, which will help the BBQ seasoning to stick. Then, rub the BBQ seasoning all over the chicken, including inside the cavity. Be sure to apply the seasoning evenly so that the chicken is flavored throughout.

Prepare the Beer Can

Open a can of beer and pour out (or drink) about half of it. Use a can opener to cut off the top of the beer can. Then, add the chopped onion, vinegar, and garlic to the beer can. This will help to flavor the chicken from the inside as it cooks.

Insert the Chicken onto the Beer Can

Place the beer can on a solid surface and carefully lower the chicken onto it so that the can is inserted into the cavity of the chicken. Make sure the chicken is stable on the can, with the legs and the can forming a tripod that will support the chicken while it cooks.

Smoke the Chicken

Place the chicken on the smoker, balancing it on the beer can and the legs. Smoke the chicken for about an hour, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. It’s important to use a meat thermometer to check the temperature, as this ensures that the chicken is cooked to a safe temperature.

Remove the Chicken from the Smoker

When the chicken is done, carefully remove smoked beer can chicken from the smoker and from the beer can. Be sure to use oven mitts or other protective gear, as the can and the liquid inside will be very hot.

Let the Chicken Rest

Let the chicken rest under an aluminum foil tent for about 10 minutes before carving it. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the chicken, which makes it more tender and flavorful.

Serve and Enjoy!

Finally, carve the chicken and serve it with your favorite sides. This beer-can chicken recipe is sure to be a hit at your next barbecue!

Tips For Making Smoked Beer Can Chicken

If this is your first time making smoked beer can chicken, we recommend reading through these helpful tips and tricks!

Digital Meat Thermometer

To ensure that the chicken is cooked to a safe temperature, it’s important to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken. A digital meat thermometer is easy to use and provides accurate readings. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken (not touching the bone) and make sure it reads at least 165°F.

Room Temperature Chicken & Beer

Take the chicken and the beer of choice out of the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour before cooking. This helps the chicken cook more evenly and helps the beer reach its boiling temperature more quickly.

Wood Pellets

The type of wood pellets you use can affect the flavor of the chicken. Hickory pellets are a classic choice for smoked chicken, but you could also try apple, cherry, or pecan pellets for a different flavor profile. Make sure to choose pellets that are compatible with your smoker.

Season Chicken Generously

To ensure that the chicken is flavorful, season it generously with BBQ seasoning. Don’t be afraid to rub the seasoning all over the chicken, including inside the cavity.

Best Beer For Smoked Beer Can Chicken

There’s nothing quite like the taste of a perfectly cooked beer can chicken. Not only is it easy to make, but it’s also a fun way to impress your friends and family at your next BBQ. One of the most important ingredients to a delicious beer can chicken is, of course, the beer!

Here are three types of beer that work best inside a beer can chicken. Whether you’re a beer aficionado or just looking for a great-tasting chicken, these recommendations are sure to impress.

Classic Lager

A classic lager is a great choice for a smoked beer can chicken. It’s light and crisp, with a subtle malt flavor that won’t overpower the chicken. Plus, lagers are easy to find and affordable, making them a great choice for backyard BBQs.

Wheat Beer

If you’re looking for a beer with a little more flavor, try using a wheat beer. Wheat beers are known for their fruity and spicy notes, which can add a unique flavor to your chicken.


For those who love a hoppy beer, an IPA is a great choice for a beer can chicken. IPAs are known for their bold and bitter flavors, which can add delicious complexity to your chicken.

Related Recipes

Smoked Beer Can Chicken

Smoked Beer Can Chicken

Delicious Smoked Beer Can Chicken you can try at home.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes



  • 2 tsp mild chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds, giblets removed
  • 1 can beer, lager or German-style preferred
  • 2 tbsp chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced


  • Gather the ingredients. Preheat a smoker to 225 to 250 F.
  • Combine the chili powder, salt, and onion powder and then rub all over the chicken.
  • Open the beer and pour out (or better yet, drink) half of the can. Use a can opener to cut off the top of the beer can. Add the chopped onion, vinegar, and garlic to the beer can.
  • Working over a tray, carefully place the chicken cavity over the beer can, ensuring it almost completely covers the can. Transfer to the middle of the smoker rack and ensure it stands up properly. Smoke for about 3 to 4 hours, or until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches between 165 and 170 F on an instant-read thermometer.
  • Once cooked, remove from the heat and place onto a cutting board. Loosely tent the chicken with aluminum foil and let rest for 7 to 10 minutes before removing the can and carving the chicken.

Smoked Beer Can Chicken FAQs

What is beer can chicken?

Beer can chicken is a popular grilling method where a whole chicken is cooked over a can of beer, creating a moist and flavorful dish.

How do I make smoked beer can chicken?

To make a beer can chicken, preheat your grill to medium-high heat, season a whole chicken with your preferred seasoning, place an open can of beer inside the chicken cavity, and then place the chicken on the grill, cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

What kind of beer should I use for beer can chicken?

You can use any type of beer for beer can chicken, but it’s best to choose a light or medium-bodied beer with a mild flavor, such as a lager or wheat beer.

Do I need any special equipment to make beer can chicken?

To make beer can chicken, you will need a grill, a can of beer, a chicken, and a grill thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken.

Can I make beer can chicken in the oven?

Yes, you can make beer can chicken in the oven by following the same steps as grilling but placing the chicken on a roasting pan in a preheated oven at 350°F.

How long does it take to cook beer can chicken?

The cooking time for beer can chicken depends on the size of the chicken and the cooking method, but it typically takes around 1 to 2 hours on the grill and 1 to 1.5 hours in the oven.

How do I know when the beer can chicken is done?

You can use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken, which should be 165°F in the thickest part of the chicken.

Can I use a different type of meat for this recipe?

While beer can chicken is traditionally made with chicken, you can use a similar technique with other meats, such as turkey, pork, or game birds.

Do I need to marinate the chicken before making beer can chicken?

Marinating the chicken before cooking is optional, but it can add additional flavor to the dish. You can marinate the chicken for a few hours or overnight before cooking.

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