|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 23g||30%|
|Saturated Fat 6g||32%|
|Total Carbohydrate 6g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||3%|
|Total Sugars 1g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||7%|
|*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.|
This smoked version of the classic beer can chicken recipe takes the temperature down for low and slow cooking. The advantage is that the light steam will marinate and moisten the chicken while it slowly 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.
"This smoker recipe produces a flavorful bird with really moist meat in a mostly hands-off way: set it, check it, done. Removing the entire beer top can be challenging, and I prefer to open the can and add a few extra holes because it’s easier and equally effective." —Colleen Graham
2 teaspoons mild chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds, giblets removed
1 can beer, lager or German-style preferred
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons 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.
- The recipe cooks a four-pound chicken at the recommended smoker temperature in about 3 to 4 hours. If you have a larger chicken, the time will be longer (maybe an hour or two).
- If you're unsure if the smoker's thermometer is accurate, place a grill or oven thermometer on the smoker rack and check the cooking temperature periodically.
- The best beers for beer can chicken are not too hoppy, sour, or dark. A lager is always a good choice, as are 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 (it will still be hot after resting). 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.
- 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.
Do You Have to Cut the Can for Beer Can Chicken?
It's not necessary to remove the entire top of the can; it's a personal preference. Some people prefer to just pop the can open and others poke a few extra holes in the top to let more steam escape as well. With small enough pieces, the veggies can fit into the main hole. If you do cut the entire top off, be careful not to cut yourself or spill the beer; some aluminum cans are flimsy and may dent or collapse with a standard can opener. Metal snips are another option people use to cut the beer can below the lip; you may have to reduce the contents so it's no more than half full.
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.