Smoked Beer Can Chicken

Smoked Beer Can Chicken is tender, juicy, chicken perfectly seasoned and with a smoky flavor is great for barbecues and summertime festivities. Only simple ingredients needed for an inexpensive dinner that tastes better than rotisserie or roasted chicken.

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Grilled chicken dinner is boring, but smoked chicken is downright delicious with its moist and tender meat and smoky, crispy skin. But perhaps the best part of making beer can chicken on a pellet smoker is that it is as easy to make for a crowd as it is for just your family. So the next time you have an urge for something exceptional, you need to try this smoked beer can chicken pellet grill recipe.

Do I Need a Fancy Pellet Grill to Make This Recipe?

Pellet grills and smokers are becoming more and more popular these days because they provide the convenience of a standard gas-fired grill and the taste of a traditional smoker. But you don’t have to have a pellet grill to make this Smoked Beer Can Chicken recipe.

Any smoker will do the job, or you can use your outdoor gas grill as long as it has a lid. However, if you decide to go the standard gas-fired grill route, you will need to pick up a smoker box that you can place inside your grill. These smoker boxes are less than 20 bucks and are superb at creating a smoky taste using your choice of wood chips or pellets.

While you can use your favorite wood pellets for smoking, apple wood is particularly good in this recipe for its fruity yet mild smoke. Alder wood offers a light, neutral smoke flavor and is ideal if you want the taste of the beer to take center stage. You should probably stay away from hickory or mesquite woods.

The Best Smoked Beer Can Chicken Pellet Grill Beers

The beer can is more than just a nifty way to keep the chicken upright; it is a major flavoring component in the recipe. Choose a brand that you enjoy drinking. If you are not a beer person, try substituting a white wine (it comes in a can) or apple or pineapple juice.

Wheat and fruit-style beers and those that are a little maltier are a perfect match with chicken. So pick up a few Schofferhofer’s Hefeweizen Grapefruit or Culture Keepers Maibock from Creature Comforts Brewing Co. if you are looking for something exceptional.

Stay away from anything dark or super hoppy because these types of beers can overpower the chicken’s natural flavor.

Tips for Preparing and Serving Smoked Beer Can Chicken

  • Don’t skip using the flavor injector. You can pick up a flavor injector for under 20 dollars at a kitchen store if you don’t have one. It’s well worth the price.
  • Use plenty of the smoked beer can chicken marinade to baste the chicken while smoking. The butter-based marinade not only adds flavor and keeps the skin from drying out, but it gives the chicken a beautiful golden color.
  • Check the temperature. No one wants to eat uncooked chicken, and the cooking time may be significantly different based on several factors. Ensure the chicken is at least 165 degrees in the breast and 175 degrees in the thigh.
  • Serve with your favorite country-style sides. Potato salad, cornbread, beans, and greens are all perfect accompaniments.

See more outdoor-friendly recipes on YouTube.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Whole Chicken
  • Beer
  • Butter
  • Brown Sugar
  • Paprika
  • Garlic Powder
  • Coarse Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
smoked beer can chicken ingredients

Equipment Needed

  • Traeger pellet grill or other smoker
  • Traeger Chicken Throne or Beer Can Chicken Holder
  • Meat Injector
  • Baster Brush
  • Meat Thermometer

How to Smoke Beer Can Chicken

  1. Remove about half the beer from the can and secure the can inside the chicken throne. 
  2. Place all the brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl and whisk well.
  3. Pat the chicken dry and pour half the seasoning over the top of it.
    sprinkling seasoning on a whole chicken
  4. Rub the seasoning all over the chicken.
    rubbing seasoning on a whole chicken
  5. Place the chicken on the throne.
    seasoned whole chicken on a beer can chicken holder
  6. Add the melted butter to the remaining seasoning mixture and stir well. 
  7. Inject the butter/seasoning mixture into both shoulder areas of the chicken until it plumps up each side.
    injecting seasoned butter into a chicken
  8. Place the chicken in the smoker.
    seasoned chicken on a beer can chicken holder in a smoker
  9. Baste it with the leftover butter/seasoning mixture.
    basting beer can chicken in a smoker
  10. Smoke for 2½ hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees in the breast and 175 degrees in the thigh.
  11. Baste periodically, about every hour, or until you’re out of the baste. 
  12. Remove the chicken from the smoker.
  13. Allow the chicken to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.
knife cutting into a smoked beer can chicken

Recipe Tips

You can use another rub if desired. My homemade one is perfect for smoked chicken.

You can use whatever beer you like. You can even use soda instead beer. It’s just a source of liquid and steam for the chicken.

You can smoke more than one of these chickens at a time. Just make sure you do not overcrowd your smoker. 

You can use any flavor wood pellet you prefer. I used hickory as it offers the best flavor in my opinion.

You can skip injecting if you don’t have an injector or aren’t confident with that step. It will still turn out with amazing flavor. I mean, not as amazing as if you injected it, but definitely still tasty.

smoked beer can chicken with slices cut off and a glass of beer

What to Serve with Smoked Beer Can Chicken

Favorite Grilled, Roasted, and Smoked Meat Recipes

Check out more of my easy chicken recipes and the best recipes for dinner here on CopyKat!

smoked beer can chicken on a holder

Print
Add to Collection

Smoked Beer Can Chicken

Smoked Beer Can Chicken is tender, juicy, perfectly seasoned, and has a wonderful smoky flavor.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Beer Can Chicken, Smoked Beer Can Chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 493kcal

Equipment

  • Pellet Smoker
  • Chicken Throne or Beer Can Chicken Holder
  • Meat Injector
  • Baster Brush
  • Meat thermometer

Ingredients

  • 6 pounds Whole Chicken refrigerated or thawed
  • 12 ounces Canned Beer
  • ½ cup Butter (1 stick) melted
  • 2 tablespoons Coarse Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Ground Black Pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat your smoker to 325 degrees.
  • Remove about half the beer from the can and secure the can inside the chicken throne.
  • Place the brownsugar, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Whick until thoroughly combined.
  • Pat the chicken dry and pour half the seasoning over the top of it. Rub the seasoning all over the chicken.
  • Place the chicken on the throne. This may take a little adjusting for it to sit right, but you want it sitting as upright as possible.
  • Add the melted butter to the remaining seasonings and stir well.
  • Inject the butter/seasoning mixture into each shoulder area of the chicken until it plumps up each side. Be careful to not suck up too much of the seasoning that has settled to the bottom of the bowl as it may clog your injector.
  • Place the chicken in the smoker and baste it with the leftover butter/seasoning mixture.
  • Smoke for 2½ hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees in the breast and 175 degrees in the thigh. Baste periodically throughout the 2½ hours, about every hour, or until you’re out of the baste.
  • Remove the chicken from the smoker.
  • Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Notes

You can use another rub if desired, however, this is an amazing homemade rub recipe with the perfect flavor for chicken.

You can use whatever beer you like. I used Miller Light. You can even use soda and not beer. It’s basically just a source of liquid for the chicken.

You can smoke more than one of these chickens at a time if you have a big crowd. However many you can fit on in your smoker without being overcrowded.

You can use any flavor wood pellet you prefer, I used hickory as it offers the best flavor in my opinion.

If you don’t have an injector or aren’t confident with that step, you can skip it. It will still turn out with amazing flavor. I mean, not as amazing as if you injected it, but definitely still tasty.

Nutrition

Calories: 493kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 153mg | Sodium: 1964mg | Potassium: 390mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1449IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg

The post Smoked Beer Can Chicken appeared first on CopyKat Recipes.