Beer in the Butt Smoked Chicken

Beer in the Butt Smoked Chicken Recipe

The Spruce / Loren Runion

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 4 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 1 chicken
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
458 Calories
24g Fat
6g Carbs
47g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 458
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 30%
Saturated Fat 7g 33%
Cholesterol 152mg 51%
Sodium 978mg 43%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 47g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 49mg 4%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 469mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This smoked version of the classic beer can chicken recipe takes the temperature down so that the beer won't boil. The advantage is that the light steam will marinate and moisten the chicken while it slow roasts to perfection in a smoky environment.

After a little prep, you'll just need to check the chicken periodically to ensure the smoker is at the right temperature and that the chicken doesn't overcook. It's a fun smoked chicken dish to make on a lazy day. The rub adds a savory flavor, and the smoker gives a delicious smokiness. For even more flavor, the beer can mixture of apple cider vinegar, onion, and garlic infuses the meat nicely.

Serve your smoked beer can chicken with grilled veggies, mashed or roasted potatoes, or oven fries. The leftovers make a flavorful filling for a sandwich, burrito, or tacos.


  • 2 teaspoons mild chili powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 whole chicken, giblets removed

  • 1 can beer, lager or German-style preferred

  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat a smoker to 225 to 250 F.

    Beer in the Butt Smoked Chicken Recipe ingredients

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  2. Combine the chili powder, salt, and onion powder and then rub all over the chicken.

    Fub seasoning on whole chicken

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  3. 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.

    Onion, vinegar, and garlic with beer in a beer can

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  4. When the smoker is ready, place the beer in the middle of the rack.

    Can of beer on the rack in a smoker

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  5. Carefully place the chicken over the beer standing up. You might need to get a little creative to make it stand up properly. Make sure the chicken almost completely covers the beer can.

    Chicken on top of a can of beer in a smoker

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  6. Smoke the beer can chicken for about 3 to 4 hours, or until the internal temperature of both the thigh and breast reach between 165 and 170 F on an instant-read thermometer.

  7. 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 carving.

    Aluminum foil on top of a chicken

    The Spruce / Loren Runion


  • The best beers for beer can chicken are not too hoppy, sour, or dark. A lager is always a good choice, as are other malty and German-style beers. Try a smoked beer for a boost of flavor.
  • It's easy to double or triple this recipe if a few chickens fit in your smoker.

How to Remove the Beer Can From the Chicken

To get the beer can out of the chicken, carefully move the chicken onto a cutting board or sturdy tray by holding the chicken with tongs and sliding a spatula under the can (both will be very hot). Transport it to the sink and set the chicken close to the edge of the board and sink. Use tongs to pull the can out of the chicken, letting the can fall into the sink. This entire process is easiest with a second person but can be done alone if you're very careful.

Recipe Variation

  • If you're looking for a different type of flavor for your beer can chicken, try using wine, soda, or broth in place of the beer. It is strongly recommended to use a metal can because it will hold up to the grill's heat. Canned wine is now readily available, and any liquid can be transferred to an empty, clean can.

Can You Smoke Beer Can Chicken on a Gas Grill?

If you don't have a smoker, you can use the seasoning in this recipe and cook beer can chicken on the grill. The time will be different, and you can impart a little extra smoke flavor into the chicken using wood chips in a smoker box. Follow the cooking directions in the classic beer can chicken recipe.