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Smoked Beer Can Chicken


  • 1 whole chicken, 4 to 5 pounds
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons granulated onion
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon prepared chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can (12 fluid ounces) beer, at room temperature

How to Make It

Step 1

Remove and discard the neck, giblets, and any excess fat from the chicken. Sprinkle the salt over the entire surface and inside the cavity of the chicken, covering it all like a light blanket of snow. Cover the chicken with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1½ to 2 hours.

Step 2

Soak the wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes.

Step 3

In a small bowl mix the rub ingredients.

Step 4

Rinse the chicken inside and out with cold water. Gently pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season it all over with the rub. Fold the wing tips behind the chicken’s back.

Step 5

Prepare the grill for indirect cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F).

Step 6

Open the beer can and pour out about half the beer. Using a can opener, make two more holes in the top of the can. Place the beer can on a solid surface. Plunk the chicken cavity over the beer can.

Step 7

Drain and add the wood chips to the charcoal or to the smoker box of a gas grill, following manufacturer’s instructions, and close the lid. When the wood begins to smoke, transfer the bird-on-a-can to the grill, balancing the bird on its two legs and the can, like a tripod. Grill over indirect medium heat, with the lid closed, until the juices run clear and the internal temperature registers 160º to 165°F in the thickest part of the thigh (not touching the bone), 1¼ to 1½ hours. Carefully remove the chicken and can from the grill (do not spill contents of the beer can, as it will be very hot). Let the chicken rest for 5 to 10 minutes (the internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees during this time). Lift the chicken from the beer can and cut into serving pieces. Serve warm.