smoked beer can chicken

Smoked Beer Can Chicken

Smoke a beer can chicken on your gas grill for an easy and tasty dinner entree. Choose your beer, your wood and grill this beer can chicken.

Smoked beer can chicken, also known as “beer in the butt” chicken, is a simple entree that you can grill. Smoked beer can chicken, also known as “beer in the butt” chicken, is a simple entree that you can grill. It’s easy to prepare and you get to enjoy your favorite lager or craft beer while you’re preparing it.

You can’t have a beer can chicken without the beer. Any beer will work. So pick your favorite beer. You don’t want to get stuck with five cans of a beer you don’t like to drink.

Tips Choosing a Beer for Beer Can Chicken

  • Stout beers can potentially add a bitter taste, especially dry stout beers. But a sweet stout or an oatmeal stout may not be as bitter.
  • Sour beers tend to have citrus flavors. Lemon and chicken often go hand in hand for a juicy and tasty chicken, so try a sour ale beer can chicken.
  • Malt beers that are low on hops often have a rich flavor.
  • Wheat beer, specifically a fruit beer, would be an interesting choice for a grilled beer can chicken.
  • Craft beer comes in a variety of flavors. Pick something that sounds good to you and give it a try.


Wood for Smoking Chicken

Different wood produces a different smoke flavor. So when smoking chicken or adding a smoky flavor to a grilled chicken, choose a smoking wood flavor that pairs with chicken.

Our favorite wood to smoke chicken with include alder, apple, cherry, maple and pecan.

Chicken pairs best with lighter woods. But if you want to use a stronger wood, try blending mesquite or hickory with a lighter wood flavor.


Prepare the Grill for Beer Can Chicken

You’re going to use indirect heat to grill your chicken, so turn on half of the burners. You want the grill temperature for beer can chicken to be 300-400°F.

You don’t need a smoker to cook a smoked chicken. You can grill a smoked chicken by putting wood chips directly on the SABER® grill grates directly above the ON burners. As the wood chips burn and smoke, the smoke will infuse the chicken for a nice smoky flavor.

Once your chicken is ready and your grill preheated, insert the beer can into the chicken and place it on the grate next to a hot burner.

Use the SABER® Poultry Roaster for an easy beer-can-chicken.


  • 1 4-5 pound whole chicken
  • 1 12-ounce beer, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 handfuls wood chips


  • Preheat grill, turning on half of the burners. Place one handful of wood chips on the grates above the hot burners. (Replace wood chips as needed throughout the cook.)
  • Remove and discard the neck, giblets and excess fat from the chicken.
  • Generously sprinkle the salt over the inside and outside of the bird. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
  • Combine the onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder and black pepper.
  • Rinse the chicken inside and out with cold water. Pat dry and rub with seasoning.
  • Let chicken sit to room temperature for about 20 to 30 minutes before grilling.
  • Open the beer and make two more holes in the top of the can.
  • Place the chicken on top of the can and balance on the grill grate.
  • Cook the chicken for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or to a minimum internal temperature 165° F.
  • Allow chicken to rest for 10 minutes prior to carving.

smoked beer can chicken

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