Smoked, Beer Can Chicken




Introduction: Smoked, Beer Can Chicken

About: I'm the kind of guy Who likes to figure out how everything works ! I Love Re-Purposing Old equipment for something it was not designed for. If it has Wire,Gears, plumbing, Lighting, Cooking, or Woodwork; I'm A…

Hey everyone !

I have three passions in my life, Family, Technology, and Cooking! I've been wanting to do a food Instructable for a while now, my newly Hacked Smoker was just the ticket needed. As a Family we always try to have Sunday dinner together. It gives me and dad some room for competition! This is a remix of a meal I made for one of these dinners.

I'm a free-style Cook. Normally I don't do measurements. I just give ingredients and rough ratios; Each dish is unique! I know some people are intimidated to take on a larger meal like this. Don't worry I'll walk you through it :) To make things easier, I would like to take a page from my last job, and draw the Timing chart above. It will help you time everything withing 5 min of each other, keeping all dishes Hot ! Lastly, I have designed it to be an Adaptive Recipe; you will see suggestions for your own twist!

I hope you Enjoy !

Step 1: Dry Rub & Beer !

Wash up ! Best to start with nice, clean hands

Begin with the chicken. Remove any gizzards; Give it a rinse and pat dry with paper towel, let rest on counter.

Fire up your Smoker or BBQ. Be sure it is up to temp for when you need it! (325*F - 375*F, even 400*F if your feeling lucky) and soak your wood chips

Spice Rub

  • Smoked Paprika
  • Onion Power
  • Roasted Garlic powder
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt and Pepper

This is a variant of my Classic spice rub. You can use it with Chicken, Beef or Pork! Combine in a bowl, in the ratios seen in the picture. Adjust the volume to the size and number of birds you are cooking. Rub the top of the bird with half the rub, and a quarter inside the bird. Use the last of the rub and what fell off to rub it the back. Let rest at Room temp while you prepare the Beer!

Step 2: Beer !

Crack open your favorite Beer ! Remember this is Beer-Can chicken. If you feel the desire to use one only found in bottles, Empty it into a washed out can. **IF You Use Guinness, Remove the Widget (that plastic ball) It will melt, and could make your bird IN-EDIBLE!** Remove it in the next step, or just pour it into another can :) Personally I like a Lager-type beer but anything could work. I have seen people using anything from a IPA to a Stout and even Citrus beers! Let me know what types you used :P

Crack open a can and pour it into a glass; Use the can opener (or some scissors, please don't use a knife) to pop the top off. This allows for flavoring to be added !

I used Roasted Garlic powder and dehydrated Onion flakes. Previously I have used fresh herbs like thyme and rosemary alongside Garlic and onion. Just as the type of Beer, the possibility's are nearly limitless! Let me know what you try :D

To mount the bird, I used a store bought beer can chicken pan. If you don't have one it's easy to Macgyver something up!

You can use a metal pie plate or even a old cake pan (that you don't mind scorching on the outside bottom) It's Critical that it be water tight ! Beer Will foam over as it cooks. The Beer its self isn't really flammable but the chicken fat dripping into it is. I made this mistake once and the resulting flare up Burnt all the skin on one side to charcoal, *sobs. Just buy a pie plate, your chicken will thank you !

insert the can into the chicken and use the legs to prop it up like a stool. Tie back the wings, or just tuck them back (like I did in the photo) Head over to you Smoker / BBQ.

Step 3: Smoke That Chicken !

Introducing the Toaster-Smoker 2000 ! (Instructable coming soon) This is my Hacked electric smoke house. the power output has been tippled from 450W to 1350W :D If you don't have a smoker that you can cook in, a BBQ is perfect.

I used a pair on thermocouples; one probe in the chicken thigh(on the right), and one mounted inside the case ( multimeter on the left) They let me know the critical temps without opening the door, letting the heat out. your BBQ may have a indicator but it will most likely be off and/or slow to react. I would recommend you try to find at least one for the ambient temp of your grill. Most home stores should have something cheap.

I cooked my bird at 325*F for an hour and a half, then finished it in the oven at 375. Time isn't critical, Internal temp is what you are looking for. Time will very by chicken size, the grill you use and how often you take a peek. You know who I'm talking to !


Use the Indirect cooking method. Have one burner turned on and the other side turned off, or move your coals to one side. To make smoke pouches, take a small fit of soaked wood chips and wrap it in foil like a tamale. Then stab a few holes right through it. I usually use two. Most smokers have a way to add chips without opening them, keeps the heat in. Keep this in mind, and be quick, when you add the second or third smoke pouch.

Step 4: Twice Baked Potatoes

These are Delicious!

Start by baking up a pair of spuds, nice large Russets. Wrap them in foil and bake at 350*F for a hour. You can also use your microwave if you are short on time or feeling impatient :P Use a spoon to dig out the middle just like potato skins; mash what you removed with a good spoon of margarine/butter.

Twice Baked Potato Filling

  • finely chopped white onion ( green works nicely too)
  • Fresh or dried Garlic
  • Shredded Chedar Cheese
  • Bacon Bits
  • Any other fillings you want !

Combine in a bowl. add the cheese last, saving a third of the cheese for the top. You could microwave this but I like to bake them, gives better flavor and golden brown cheese. Cook them along side your chicken. Don't put them on the grill until you Baste the bird in the next step. You only need to melt the cheese; should take the same time as the glaze needs to caramelize.

PS, ( You can do that same thing with mashed potatoes, pretend it's still healthy! Shhhh...)

Step 5: Sauce It Up !

This step is optional.

You could leave the skin as is, or baste is with some nice melted butter/margarine. I prefer a sweet finish; So I stick with BBQ sauce. This is a quick way a modify a store bought sauce.

Beer BBQ Sauce

  • 1/2 cup, BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup, Honey
  • 1/2 can, of Beer
  • Vinegar to taste

Now hopefully you saved the 1/2 Beer from earlier. On the off chance the other half is gone, Then I guess you will need another ! oh darn eh? Start with the beer, any more then a half beer will take longer to reduce. Add the sauce and honey last, I find liquid first helps it blend easier. Bring to a low boil on high, while constantly stirring. Then turn down the medium and stir occasionally for 15-20 min. Watch closely, as it nears the end the sugars will go from delicious to burnt really quickly!

Remove the Bird from you grill. Take a temperature while you Base the bird in the BBQ Beer sauce. This temperature reading will help you to determine how long your bird will need to finish cooking. Be sure to sauce up the entire bird, remember the temperature is dropping as you have it out try not to take tooo long. The temperature you will want is 180*F, Or 190*F If you are cautious. I have heard of some people calling 160*F done. Personally I don't drink a raw egg every morning, but many people do, so it's really up to you ! Just make sure the juices run clear. At this point I was around the 170*F mark, plenty of time to let the glaze cook. Plant the chicken on your grill and rotate for even cooking. If you are cooking the Twice Baked Potatoes on the Grill, slide them in alongside the chicken.

When the Chicken reaches the temperature you want, pull it out and let it rest draped with foil; try not to touch the glaze! If you let it rest, your Chicken will be far juicier then if you cut it right away.

Step 6: Veggie Time!, Make Your Mother Happy :)

This is a Family Staple

Veggie Stir-Fry

  • 2-3 Bell Peppers
  • medium Onion
  • medium Zucchini
  • 1/2 can Baby Corn
  • small broccoli Crown
  • Any other Vegetables
  • splash of Stock or water
  • Salt and Pepper

If you need to clean out you veggie crisper in a hurry this will work with almost anything. We have made nearly a dozen different national twists on this. If you have a nice wok this is a nice time to let it shine! For best results, preheat the pan on med-high, then add room temperature oil just before you pour in the first bowl. This will make a nice hiss when the veg lands, and a good sear! The most Important part is to take note that They all have different cooking times. I will usually divide mine into three bowls. First holds the denser veg like the Zucchini, Onion and Baby Corn. Add Salt and Pepper. I like to get some nice colour on these, should take 5-8 min. Second the softer, but still crispy veg. Peppers, Roasted Corn or Snap Peas would go in here. You want some colour on these, but still have some bite (al dente) cook for an additional 5 min. Lastly the more delicate Broccoli, fresh herbs or water chestnuts. Give it a good stir and add a splash of stock or water, cover with a lid or cookie sheet. Turn off the burner but leave the pan were it is. You only need to warm these up, 2-3 min, the steam will finish it off. Give it a nice stir and cook a bit longer if needed.

Step 7: Bon Appetit ! (Translation, COME GET IT ! )

Now Plate up you Creation! I like simple family style. Just grab a nice wooden cutting board; plate the Chicken and Spuds. (If you waited long enough for the chicken to rest, there won't be much juice coming out as you care) and take the same pan you cooked the veg in and place it on the table on-top an oven mitt or Towel. head to the stairs and Holler DINNER !!!

I hope you are as hungry from reading this, as I am after writing it :D Click on Favorite if you liked it, I would love to see some " I made it " posts down below.

Good Luck,

and Happy Eating !


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    6 years ago on Introduction

    I liked veggie time, especially (Make your mother happy!)

    Nice instructable. Have a splendorous day!



    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Hey, It's a great way to clean out the fridge !

    Thanks for the comment :)

    I've made it many time over the last 10 years. I just drink 1/3 of the beer & add seasoning to the can with a funnel. No need to cut top of can. I also plug the chicken neck hole with a small potato to lock the steam inside the chicken, much juicier. I normally use a pale lager but was recently told I need to try coke or dr. pepper.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    You only need to cut the top off if you plan to use fresh herbs. I've tried plugging the top myself; I didn't find much difference. I've always found the key to keep any meat Juicy is to let it rest before cutting into it, and don't over cook it of corse. I've heard of Ice tea before but coke is a new one, I suppose it could lend to the sweetness of some BBQ Sauce :P


    7 years ago

    Love it! but call it by its true southern name ..Beer Butt Chicken lol


    Where did you get the thermocouple sensors to measure the temperature and what is their specific identifiers?


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Well the smaller one on the right (the probe in the thigh) came from a local hardware store. Just go to were you can buy a BBQ, chances are the will have what you need. The second one in the left of the picture is whats is called a Type-K thermocouple. This one is a bit harder to find; you may need to go online. check out / both site are really helpful. Let me know if you need anything !