Burn Pit BBQ's Easy Beer-Can Chicken

The one and only Burn Pit BBQ Champagne of Beers Can Chicken!  This is one of our absolute favorite ways to cook a whole chicken!  Super simple and incredibly delicious.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Here is the breakdown of the action:

The Meat: All-Natural Whole Chicken, 4 pounds (Serves 2-4)

The Rub: All Ration All Purpose BBQ Rub, 2 tablespoons

The Beer: Miller Highlife, 13 – 12 oz cans (1 for the bird, 12 for us)

The Smoker: Weber Original Kettle Premium 22” Charcoal Grill

The Fuel: Kingsford Original Briquettes with Apple Wood Chips (2 cups)

The Method: Indirect Grilling

The Tools: Tin foil drip pan, Heat resistant gloves, Beer Can Chicken Holder (optional)

Approx. Time: 10mins prep; 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours cooking time

Variations: Use cola, lemon lime soda, or root beer to cook your chicken

The Process:

First, we needed to get our coals going and grill to medium heat (350-375 °F). We lit our chimney (check out our blog on how to use a charcoal grill) and set the grill up for indirect heat.  We used charcoal baskets on both sides and placed a tin foil drip pan in between. If you don’t have baskets, you can just use the pan as a separator (it works as a really nice option!). Next we went to prep the chicken.

The chicken was purchased with the giblets already removed from the cavity. If you still have those in, you’ll need to remove them and then trim away any fat inside the body and neck cavities. Rinse the chicken, inside and out, under cold water then drain and blot dry with a paper towel.

Then we prepped the wood chips and beer can.  We took 2 handfuls of Apple wood chips (apple is one of our favorite smoke flavors to pair with poultry) and placed them in a plastic container.  We poured out ½ of our beer over the chips to soak (approx. 1 hour). The rest of the beer was used for the cook.  We cut a few more holes in the top of the can to help release the moisture when it cooks. We then set those aside while we continued to prep.

Next, we went to rub down the bird. We used 2 tablespoons of our Basic Barbecue Rub. 2 teaspoons went inside the cavity and 2 teaspoons on the outside. We rubbed it all over.  The leftover rub was then put into our beer can that we would be using for the smoke. The bird was placed in the refrigerator until we were ready to put it on the grill.

Once our grill was ready at 350 °F, we put the beer in the beer can holder and placed it into the cavity of the chicken.  If you don’t have a holder, this part can be a bit tricky and messy. Make sure to have a towel handy!  Pull the legs forward to create a form of tripod so the bird stands up right. Right before we put the bird on, we tossed 2 handfuls of Apple chips on the hot coals. We put the chicken in the center of the grill above the drip pan. We then covered and waited.

We had to replenish the coals about halfway through the cook. We added 6 briquettes to each side to help keep the temp up at around 350 °F. Tip: Keep this in mind when you are doing your cook. Adding a 4-pound bird and 6 ounces of beer will bring down your grill temperature, watch the temps closely to make sure you are getting enough heat to cook the chicken.

About 90 minutes (or 5 beers) later we were at our ideal internal temp of 180 °F. The skin was a nice, crisp golden brown. Insert the instant read thermometer in the thigh to get a quality temp check. Poultry is considered safe to eat at 165 °F, but we’ve found that going up to 180 for doneness, we still get a really moist, flavorful bird.

Using our tongs and heat resistant gloves, we removed the bird and let it rest on the counter for about 5 minutes. The beer can will be hot, so use caution when removing it from the cavity.  Use a pan to help contain any spillage when you take the can out. We then sliced the bird for serving! It had a great apple smokey flavor and was super moist! 

This was a super simple recipe and pretty cost effective if you are on a budget. Give it a try and let us know what you think…

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