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Beer Can Chicken is all the rage and it should be. The chicken comes out so incredibly moist ever time and the method is as ingenious as it is simple. Oh, and it involves BEER! Stuff a half full can of beer up a chicken’s, er, cavity, smoke, and serve. But lately there are a thousand and one products out there to improve beer can chicken. Every grocery, hardware, and outdoor supply store has some sort of stand for beer can chicken. Save the $12.95. All you really need is a chicken and one of these:

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For this demonstration, I actually needed two, and a glass:

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Why the glass? Because not all 12 ounces are needed per chicken so I don’t want to waste any of that wonderful Kräftig beer, so half of each can went into my mug. And I have two chickens, hence the need for a second beer can:

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NOW bring on the birds!

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I have two half empty beer cans, one full beer mug and two chickens about to be violated in a most egregious manner.

Instead of a beer can stand, how about just a beer can and a chicken with two good legs:

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Some people tuck the wings under themselves, but I like a crispy wing. This is personal preference.

Prepare the grill for indirect/two zone grilling with a target temperature of around 300. I used some Rockwood Charcoal for this cook. Simply the best charcoal there is. It’s available at BBQ specialty shops, independent grocery stores and butcher shops in and around St. Louis.

That chicken seems to be standing up just fine without one of those little contraptions. Some salt, pepper and rub on one and some jerk paste on the other and they are ready for my 300 degree grill and a chunk of pear wood for smoke:

Beer Can Chicken

In the close up, they sort of look like two people sitting on the stoop, bitching about a hard day at work, instead of two birds on a grill:

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Now some of you are thinking that you make a mean smoked chicken and that no beer can is needed. I think this picture shows you that you absolutely need the can:

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That’s 30 minuted in and the fluid is dripping off the bird in rapid succession. The tip of that wing was dripping about every 3 seconds. The moisture is what makes beer can chicken so great! And even though the can is up the cavity, as the chicken smokes, the moisture from the beer steams out and coats the entire chicken, constantly basting it.

Here is how these two chicken chums look about 30 minutes:

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And here we are at 60 minutes in, smoke rolling gently from the grill:

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And at the 90 minute mark, smoked almost perfectly:

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They still look like a couple of old friends, hanging out and shooting the smoke filled breeze. In fact, I think the one on the left is a little pissed at all the pictures I’m taking. I think he just mooned me:

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The birds were a little over 160 degrees, so I pulled these two smoked poultry pals and placed them off the heat while I grilled some corn so they could rest and let the juices redistribute throughout the birds:

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The only hard part is getting the cans out without calling a poultry proctologist as the Kräftig cans are really up there. It wasn’t all that hard. I used two pairs of tongs and with one I slid the butt of the bird off the cutting board and used the other tongs to pull the can out. Sorry no pictures as I had a set of tongs in each hand making picture taking impossible.

I know some of you are looking for a recipe, but this is more about showing that you don’t need any extra equipment to make beer can chicken other than a can of beer and a chicken. But if you want the recipe for those chickens above, check the recipe card below.

It all comes down to this, use whatever rub, sauce, or glaze you like and then jam a can of beer up it’s, uh, cavity, and make a good smoked chicken into the juiciest smoked beer can chicken around.

Beer Can Chicken
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
The basics of Beer Can Chicken which shows you don't need one of those little stands for the chicken. All you need is a chicken and a can of beer
  • 1 whole roaster chicken, innards removed
  • salt
  • favorite rub or glaze (one had a rub the other had a jerk glaze)
  • 1 can of beer
  1. Rinse the chicken with cold water and pat dry
  2. Sprinkle with salt
  3. Coat with the rub or glaze
  4. Open the beer, pour half into a mug and insert in the chicken, open side up
  5. Place in 300 degree grill (along with a chunk of smoke wood) for about 90 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165 degrees internal temperature (go by temp and not time)
  6. Take it off the grill, remove the can and allow to rest for 10 minutes and serve.

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

@GrillinFool - #GrillPorn abounds here. All meat, all the time!
My absolute favorite meat/cut is the lamb rack. This may be the prettiest I've ever seen! … - 1 hour ago
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