Smoked Beer Can Chicken

Smoked Beer Can Chicken

Is there anything more quintessential to BBQin' than beer can chicken?  Ok, maybe baby back ribs and brisket, but this ranks pretty high up on the list.  If you've never tried this before, don't worry - it's dead simple.


  • Fresh whole chicken (make sure you get at least a 4-5 pound bird so the beer can is able to fit inside the cavity)
  • Beer Can
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Rub
  • BBQ Sauce (Optional)


To start, rinse your chickens under cold water and if there are giblits or a neck in the cavity of the chicken, make sure to remove those.  When you're done rinsing, dry your birds with a paper towel.

Smoked Beer Can Chickens waiting for rub

Now drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the chickens and using your hands, make sure you get a thin coating of oil all over the chicken.  This will act as our binder to make sure the rub we put on sticks to the chicken.

Next, dust your birds in a generous coating of rub (to taste) all over the bird.  Also, pour a bunch of rub in the cavity of the chicken as this will help to infuse flavors throughout your chicken as it smokes.

Beer Can Chicken with rub on

Now for the best part.  Crack open your beer and drink half of it... don't get carried away and drink it all.  You need some weight left in the can to help support and balance the chickens while they're on the smoker.  Once you've done that, feed the opening of the chicken over the top of the beer can and place your chickens on the smoker.  

Beer Can Chicken on the Smoker

You want to keep these chickens at around 300F until the temperature at the thickest part of the thigh reads 170F (see picture above where I put the temp probe).  This cook ran for about an hour and a half on my smoker.

Basting the Beer Can Chicken

If you're going to be applying BBQ sauce, make sure you do that about 30 minutes before the end of your cook so the sauce can reduce and caramelize onto the chicken.  Once your birds have hit the desired temp, time to take them off the smoker.  Be careful as you do this - you don't want to spill hot beer on yourself.  Once you remove the beer can, wrap your chickens in tin foil for 10-15 minutes to let the juice redistribute and you're good to go.  I guarantee this will be some of the best chicken you've ever had in your life.

Beer Can Chicken - Final Product




Beyond having a smoker, you really don't need any special gear for this cook.