How To Cook Beer Can Chicken On A Pellet Grill (In 10 Simple Steps)

What is better than a juicy smoked chicken!

Especially when its been sitting on a can of beer, taking in all those EPIC flavors!!

As much as I love cooking, I would prefer to be hanging out with my kids or our guests!

That’s why I love firing on my pellet grill, throwing the bird on a can then setting it to work!

A few hours later we have an awesome feast! However, some people find that chicken can go dry in the smoker!

So make sure you follow my steps below for EXTRA succulent beer can chicken!!

Beer Can Chicken

No cookout is complete without attempting the famous beer can chicken!

And, cooking a fabulous chicken throne or beer can chicken on the Pit Boss pellet smoker grill is a piece of cake.

The idea of grilling a whole chicken over a can of beer is an interesting concept, but once you’ve tasted the results, you’ll be hooked!

Equipment Needed

All you need is a can of beer and a beer can chicken roaster if you want to get extra fancy.

Preparing the Chicken for Smoking

A partially filled can of beer is placed in the chicken’s cavity before cooking, with the idea being the process creates steam that adds moisture and adds flavors to the meat.

The can holds the chicken vertically over the open can while it’s cooking in the grill or oven.

Positioning vertical means the fat drains away and the skin crisps evenly.

Recipe and Steps

Preparing beer can chicken couldn’t be easier, and the results guarantee juicy chicken on the wood pellet smoker every time.

What You Will Need:

  • Whole Chicken
  • Can of beer 
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Olive Oil
  • Chicken seasoning or barbecue rub
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Onion
  • Sweet Poato
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Thyme (Dry or Fresh)

Pre-heating the Grill

Preheat the grill to 300-350F.

Ensure the wood pellet level is sufficient to cook the beer can chicken for several hours.

Running the temperature too low in the pellet grill will result in rubbery hard skin and leave the chicken dry.

Cleaning the Chicken

Remove the chicken from the packaging and ensure all the inside giblets and organs are removed from the chicken.

Trim off any excess fat from the neck and tail area. 

Rinse under cold water if required, but if it’s clean it’s not necessary.

Pat dry with a paper towel.

Do I Need a Specific Beer?

Grab a can of your favorite beer, any type of beer is perfectly fine. You can even use a soft drink if you prefer. 

Different types of beer will produce slightly different results, so have a play around.  You can see my favorite beer for beer can chicken here.

Remove half the beer in the can, one way or another!

If cooking in a tray, you can tip some into the bottom to increase the moisture levels during the smoking process for a lovely moist chicken.

Add a couple of tablespoons of barbecue sauce to the can for some extra flavor.

Seasoning the Chicken

Once the skin of the chicken is dry, brush the entire surface with olive oil, then rub it with salt, pepper, and thyme.

You could also try my smoked chicken rub which will help tenderize the chicken, to ensure it is super juicy and moist.

Positioning the Can

Carefully slide the chicken onto the beer can roaster if you have one, so that the fits in the cavity securely.

A roasting stand isn’t necessary but may offer a little more stability to the chicken and save the beer tipping over.

Tuck the wings in.

Touch up the seasoning if any rubbed off while setting up.

What Temperature Should It Cook At?

Program the grill to the desired temperature, around 250°F, and leave for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes.

Then coat all the vegetables in salt, pepper, and thyme. Place the vegetables in the smoker with the chicken.

Then increase the temperature to 300°F.

How to Know When It’s Cooked

Monitor the internal cooking temperature with a meat probe to check when the chicken is cooked.

The ideal internal temp goal is a meat temperature of 180F. 

A meat thermometer checking the internal temperature is the best way to dictate when the bird is cooked, rather than a specific time frame.

Always place the temperature probe in the thickest part, such as the chicken breast, avoiding the bone, for accurate temps.

Removing the Can

When the internal temperature has reached the ideal range, remove it from the grill.

Let the whole thing rest for 10-15 minutes to allow the juices to settle.

Carefully slide the chicken off the can, taking care not to spill the hot contents.

Place the chicken on a cutting board or platter to carve and serve.

Wood Pellet Recommendation

The variety of wood chips can have a huge impact on the end product.

You can buy pre-prepared mixed blends or a specific type of wood for any type of wood pellet grill.

Chicken can handle strong blends like hickory with its rich, bacon-type flavors.

Looking for something a little more subtle? Go for sweeter fruity woods like apple, maple, cherry pellets.

Don’t Have Time to Smoke a Whole Bird?

If you don’t have time to smoke a whole chicken, try my chicken wings or chicken legs. They are both super tasty and succulent and cook up in no time!

Beer Can Chicken

Beer butt chicken, chicken on a throne, chicken rest, dancing chicken – no matter what you want to call it, is a taste sensation well worth trying. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 45 mins
Total Time1 hr 55 mins
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, lunch, main, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Barbecue, bbq, dinner, grill, lunch
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 800kcal
Cost: 10

Equipment

  • 1 smoker or grill

Ingredients

  • Whole Chicken
  • Can of beer
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Olive Oil
  • Chicken seasoning or barbecue rub
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Onion
  • Sweet Poato
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Thyme Dry or Fresh

Instructions

Cleaning the chicken

  • Remove the chicken from the packaging and ensure all the inside giblets and organs are removed from the chicken.
  • Trim off any excess fat from the neck and tail area. 
  • Rinse under cold water if required, but if it’s clean it’s not necessary.
  • Pat dry with a paper towel.

Seasoning the chicken

  • Once chicken is dry, brush the entire surface with olive oil
  • Rub it with the salt, pepper and thyme.

Positioning the Can

  • Carefully slide the chicken onto the beer can roaster if you have one, so that the fits in the cavity securely.
  • Tuck the wings in.

Setting temperature

  • Program the grill to the desired temperature, around 250°F, and leave for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes.
  • Then coat all the vegetable in salt, pepper, and thyme. Place the vegetables in the smoker with the chicken.
  • Then increase the temperature to 300°F.

Removing the Can

  • When the internal temperature has reached the ideal range, remove it from the grill.
  • Let the whole thing rest for 10-15 minutes to allow the juices to settle.
  • Carefully slide the chicken off the can, taking care not to spill the hot contents.
  • Place the chicken on a cutting board or platter to carve and serve.

Beer butt chicken, chicken on a throne, chicken rest, dancing chicken – no matter what you want to call it, is a taste sensation well worth trying. 

So crack a beer and wrestle an entire chicken over it and win over the guests your next barbeque!

Smoke On!

Charlie

Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

Hungry For More?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating