Smoked Beer Can Chicken Recipe (With My Family Secret: Beer Can Chicken Rub)

Beer can chicken gets everyone in my family excited! 

It could be that the chicken is joining in on an afternoon beer. Or is knowing that chicken sitting on a can of beer makes means an exceptionally  juicy and flavorsome bird!

No matter what the real reason is, I do know that beer can chicken is a favorite around my family table!

Hungry Now? Jump Straight to My Beer Can Chicken Recipe!

Beer can smoked chicken recipe

Beer Can Chicken Rub (A Family Favorite)

If you don’t have your own beer can chicken rub, here is my secret smoked chicken rub recipe. Use it as is or adapt it to your flavors, the possibilities are endless. 

It’s also a great way to use those older herbs and spices in your kitchen, or those weird craft beers your cousin Rick left behind at Christmas.

Beer can chicken is worth all the effort (its bloody delicious) However you want to ensure you carve this bad boy right! Here’s some tips from a pro!

Smoked beer can chicken recipe

Can You Use Beer in a Smoker?

Beer can be used to give flavor when you’re BBQ-ing, grilling, roasting, using rotisserie, and even smoking. It’s as simple as adding beer to your drip pan or to your smoker’s water reservoir. Or in this case, simply sitting your whole chicken on top of the beer can.

Looking for more chicken recipes? Check out my huge list of delicious chicken and turkey recipes!

Smoked Beer Can Chicken Recipe

Smoked Beer Can Chicken Recipe

Beer can chicken is a classic. This smoked version adds in a great smoky flavour. The beer keeps the chicken incredibly juicy and moist. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Barbecue
Servings: 4
Calories: 180kcal
Author: Charlie


  • 1 can 12 ounces beer
  • 1 chicken 4 – 4.5 pounds
  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite homemade rub premade store bought rub is also fine
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil


  • Preheat your grill (with a lid) to 225°F. If you are using wood chips in your smoker now is a good time to get them soaking. I like to use around 1/4 of the beer mixed with a little bit of water or whiskey. Make an additional 2 holes in the top of the beer can, this will help the beer absorb into the chicken better.
  • Remove the giblets from the chicken’s cavity and rinse the chicken thoroughly with lots of fresh running water. Dab completely dry with a paper towel both inside and out.
  • Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons of your favorite rub, (or your homemade concoction) inside the bird’s cavity. Drizzle the oil over the entire outside of the bid, making sure to rub it all over with your hands for an even coating that the rub will stick to. Sprinkle over around 1 tablespoon of the remaining rub onto the outside of the bird. Put the remaining rub into the beer can. The beer should foam up slightly, don’t worry this is normal.
  • Next, we need to place the bird on top of the beer can. Hold the bird upright with the cavity facing towards the bottom. Lower the bird onto the beer can and lower until you get around 3/4 (or more) of the way down the can. Once the can is in place pull the legs forward to form a tripod. This should be enough to support the bird standing by itself.
  • Tuck the wing tips behind the chickens back.
  • Set up your grill for indirect grilling according to your grill manufacturers instructions.If you are using a gas or charcoal grill place a large drip pan under the chicken as there will be lots of runoff (perfect for making gravy later).
  • Place your chicken in the center of your cooking grate. You want it to be balancing on the can and the two legs. Make sure the chicken is sitting over your drip pan, this is very important. You want to savor all those delicious juices for a gravy, and obviously stop any potential flare-ups from occurring.
  • Cover your grill and cook until the chicken skin is a dark golden brown and super crispy. You want your chicken to be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F. The best place to check the temperature is in the middle of the thickest part of the thigh, making sure to not touch the bone. This should take somewhere around 1 1/4 – 1 3/4 hours. If you do notice the bird browning to fast, wrap it loosely with aluminum foil until it has come to temperature.
  • Once the bird has come to temperature, remove from the grill. Do this by using tongs to grab the can and carefully transfer it to a platter.
  • Let the bird rest for at least 10 minutes to let the juices rest and the proteins to redistribute. Remove the chicken from the can and serve!

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