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Portrait image of a cooked whole chicken on a beer can holder that's on the smoker.
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5 from 4 votes

Smoked Beer Can Chicken

Tender, juicy whole chicken that's seasoned and smoked on the smoker over beer.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Smoked Beer Can Chicken
Servings: 4
Calories: 427kcal
Author: Julie Evink


  • 3-5 lb whole chicken


  • 1/4 c. light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp oregno


  • Preheat smoked to 250 degrees F.
  • In a small bowl mix together the rub ingredients together.
  • Rinse chicken under cold running water. Discard giblets and neck from chicken; drain and pat dry.
  • Sprinkle some of the seasoning mix into the top cavity of the chicken and rub the inside of the cavity with it. Gently lift the skin from the chicken. Then generously rub the chicken rub in between the skin and meat of the chicken to season the chicken. Next rub the remaining seasoning mix over the entire surface of the chicken.
  • Follow the directions for the beer can chicken roaster you have or you can carefully place the chicken over a beer can. Before placing the chicken on the can discard of 1/2 of the beer in the can.
  • Place the chicken, standing on the can, directly on the preheated smoker. Close the lid and smoke the chicken until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 2-3 hours depending on the size of your chicken. We recommend not checking the smoker for the first hour so the heat stays in. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 165 degrees F.
  • Remove the chicken from the smoker and discard the beer can. Cover the chicken with a doubled sheet of aluminum foil, and allow to rest in a warm area for 10 minutes before slicing.


What kind of wood chips should I use?
We recommend using a pecan, mesquite, cherry or apple wood chip when smoking a chicken.
Any of these will compliment the flavor of this chicken nicely.
  • Let the leftover chicken cool. Then store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Any recipe that calls for shredded or cubed chicken is great for using up any leftovers you have.
  • Perfect to adding to a salad or making a sandwich.
Expert Tips
  • Make sure your chicken is dry. This will help it get a crispy skin when you smoke it.
  • Make sure to rub the inside of the chicken in the cavity along with the skin. We recommend also lifting the skin up and rubbing it under the skin so the seasoning gets right on the meat.
  • Any beer will be fine you don’t need an expensive craft beer to make this.
  • Make sure you empty or drink half of the beer. This is because you need headspace in the can to create steam for cooking inside the chicken.
  • If you don’t have a fancy beer can chicken holder simply place you chicken in a 9×13 metal or disposable pan. This will help transfer the chicken off the grill or catch the chicken and beer if things get tipsy on the grill.
  • The easiest way to remove the beer can from the chicken require two people. One person holds the can with tongs while the other one grabs the chicken using wadded up paper towels or a clean towel and pulls it off.
  • If you don’t want to use beer you can substitute soda like ginger ale, citrus soda or even root beer.
  • Don’t want to smoke it? You could make it on the grill or bake it in the oven, just make sure to place a pan under the chicken to catch the juices.


Calories: 427kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 1898mg | Potassium: 438mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 1684IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 2mg