Beer Can Chicken | Good Enough to Sacrifice a Cold One


Summer time is always great. It's nice to kick back, relax, smoke some meat, grill some food, and just spend the summer evenings around a fire pit with friends or family. Another great part, is while we are grilling and smoking, we can throw back a couple of cold ones.

Then, we have beer can chicken. A recipe that is COMPLETELY silly but SERIOUSLY delicious. 

Beer Can Chicken: The Origin Story

No one REALLY knows where the beer can chicken came about. However, amongst the barbecue scholars and tales of smoke lore, that is started in the south. There are a lot of recipes for barbecue that have a tailgate, college football feel to it. What GENIUS invented this way of cooking a whole chicken? What could possibly be more silly? Or yet...delicious? 

A super simple beer can holds the chicken upright to ensure even cooking and rub distribution while giving you...hopefully..a hint of the beer taste and a more moist protein all-around. Smoking a beer can or beer butt chicken may seem odd, but will probably be the most fun you have cooking a whole bird.

What is the BEST beer for Beer Can Chicken?

The best kind of beer for beer can chicken is whatever you like to sip while watching the grill. Close your eyes and imagine with me for a second, it's a hot day, breeze blowing but plenty of ambient heat from that coal fire (or gas grill). Now open your eyes. What’s in your hand? For this recipe, I used an amber ale. I also like using Blue Moon, something that has a citrus-y flavor to it. Whatever you’d actually like to drink about half of before popping your chicken on the grill is the right choice. 

How to Make Beer Can Chicken

The process for this is very easy, but make sure to take notes or save this recipe for reference. 

  1. Crack open a beer. Drink some of it! This HAS to be the BEST first step of any recipe so far.
  2. Get some unsalted butter, and bring it to room temp.
  3. Rub the butter all over the skin of the bird. Make sure to get in all the crevasses. 
  4. Get your Kosmo's Q Rubs and apply them (in this order) 
    A. Dirty Bird Hot 
    B. SPG 
    C. Beer Can Chicken
  5. Mix some of the beer and rubs together.
  6. BEER CAN THE CHICKEN! Slowly work the beer can or ceramic stand into the cavity of the bird until it sits upright.
  7. Set the bird on the grill. Place the bird on the grill and close the lid. Only opening to check the internal temps of the breast and thy, every so often. 
  8. Smoke until the bird is at 165ºF internally. 

How to Cook the Bird

For this cook, I like to use a versatile grill where I know I will get some great smoke flavor and even cooking. I like to use my Masterbuilt 1050 Gravity Fed Smoker. I dialed the grill up to 300ºF and loaded the hopper with Kamado Joe Big Block charcoal. 

Once I put the bird on the smoker, I closed the lid and LET IT RIDE. 

Grillionaire Pro Tip: Don't keep opening and closing the lid. It creates an uneven heat through the grill and takes longer to cook. 

Each bird is going to cook different. In my video (below) you will see I had a 7lb protein, which was WAY to big! However, it took about 90 to 120 minutes to cook the bird all the way through. So time is not important here, as much as temperature. I was checking my temperatures with my ThermoPro Instant Read Thermometer. It is calibrated and works like a champ! 

The bird reached the desired temp, I took it off and let it rest for ten to fifteen minutes. From there, I pulled the chicken right off the bone to make some MOIST and JUICY pulled chicken! 

You can serve it any way you like. A lot of people break it down, or cut it in half, the possibilities are in the tens! Regardless, this is ONE meal you don't want to miss out on.

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Make sure you eat well and do well.


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