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Smoked Beer Can Chicken

Smoked Beer Can Chicken is my favorite smoked food. It's fun to prepare and cook and fun to serve. And it always turns out perfect. If you like rotisserie chicken but want a smoke and beer flavor to compliment the chicken, this is the absolute way to go.

This is my own recipe and winged it the first time I smoked it. It was awesome and now something I do at least twice a year.

I smoked the beer can chicken in a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker, so the cooking time and temperature may vary if you are using a different smoker. But for the most part, it should turn out perfect.

Unlike grilled beer can chicken, smoked beer can chicken cooks at a much lower temperature thus doesn't boil the beer in the can. But it still gets hot, creating a light steam along with the smoke to marinate and moisten the chicken while it slow roasts to perfection.

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Smoked Beer Can Chicken


One (1) Whole Chickens
Two (2) Twelve Ounce Cans of Beer (Cheap Beer Works the Best)
Two (2) Tablespoons Chopped Onions
Two (2) Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
Three (3) Cloves of Garlic
One (1) Packet of McCormick's Grill Mates Zesty Herb Marinade


(Optional) Thaw the whole chicken the night before cooking. Wash and trim the chicken, making sure the butt of the chicken is large enough for a can of beer. Place chicken in a large container and soak overnight in beer for best results.

Preheat electric smoker to 260 degrees with no wood. While the smoker heats up, open the first can of beer and drink half and only half of it. Pour the rest of the beer in a plastic microwavable container.

With a can opener or scissors capable of cutting metal, cut the top of the beer can off as close to the rim as possible. Mince the three garlic cloves and chop one onion. Add one tablespoon of chopped onions and two minced cloves of garlic into the plastic container with the beer. Add two tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar to the container and stir. Place container uncovered in the microwave and heat for 45 seconds. (This is so the mixture doesn't have to heat up in the smoker; it will already be hot.)

Open the second can of beer and drink half of it. Pour one cup of water and the rest of the beer in your drip pan. (Optional) Place the rest of the onions and garlic as well as a half a cup of Apple Cider Vinegar in the drip pan as well.

Place the whole chicken on a flat surface and coat with one tablespoon of olive oil. Spread one packet of McCormick's Grill Mates Zesty Herb Marinade (dry) thoroughly over the entire chicken.

Pour the plastic container from the microwave into the beer can that you previously cut open.

(CAUTION - Contents may be hot to the touch. Wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE).) Shove the beer can up the chicken's you know what and carefully place the whole chicken on a smoker rack.

You may need to be a little creative with the drumsticks of the chicken in order to get it to stand up properly. I use marshmallow sticks (the long ones) and stab the chicken through the thighs for added support for the limp chicken.

Cooking Instructions

When the electric smoker reaches 240 degrees, place the drip pan in the smoker. Wait for the smoker to reach 270 and place the future smoked beer can chicken in smoker as high as it will go. Turn the cooking temperature down to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Fill the wood chip tray with one handful of Mesquite or Apple smoking chips.

Let the smoked beer can chicken cook for four (4) hours. Thirty (30) minutes after putting the chicken in the smoker, put in more wood chips. Do this every 30 minutes for two hours (half the cooking time). The last time you put wood in the tray is the two hour point. If you want a heavy smoke flavor, you can continue putting wood chips in every 30 minutes for another hour.

Once time is up, check the chicken. The skin should be dark tan in color and the meat will be pink. If you poke it with a fork or toothpick, the juices should run clear out of the hole.

Remove the smoked beer can chicken from the electric smoker and serve.

Smoked Beer Can Chicken

(CAUTION - Remember there is a beer can full of hot liquid in its butt. I recommend removing the can with a cooking glove prior to cutting apart the chicken.) 

Nutritional Information

The above recipe easily serves 4 adults, (the below nutritional facts are based on 1 serving).

Calories 246
Calories from Fat 190

Total Fat 12g
Saturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 78mg
Sodium 350mg
Total Carbohydrates 8g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 5g
Protein 25g

Check out my official recipe website and Smoked Beer Can Chicken recipe. Have you tried this recipe? Please let me know what you think in the comments below. If you changed the recipe a little, put the changes in the comments below so you can give others ideas.