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Smoked beer can chicken is even better when stuffed with fresh herbs to flavor the bird from the inside out.
Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or simply craving some delicious smoked chicken, following these tips will ensure a mouthwatering result. So fire up that smoker, grab a cold beverage, and get ready to enjoy the incredible flavors of smoked beer can chicken.
What smoked beer can chicken?
This smoked beer can chicken recipe is an easy way to cook a whole chicken. This cooking method involves resting a chicken upright on the top of a beer can. The beer creates flavorful steam inside the bird cavity during the cook, producing extra moist meat.
To steady things out, I use a beer can chicken roaster rack. This allows you to easily move the chicken to and from the grill. You can also add additional herbs to the side.
You can use any type of beer or soda, but I’m choosing a Guinness beer for this recipe. Since it comes in bottles, I just empty out a soda can and pour the Guinness into the can.
Then, take a medley of herbs and stuff them through the cavity of the chicken into the can. The steam will release the natural oils from the herbs, flavoring the inside of the chicken even more
This method of cooking chicken produces a delicious, crispy skin while the meat inside stays incredibly juicy and packed with flavor. The smoky smell from grilling makes this dish even more delicious and changes the game completely.
- Whole Chicken: You can find these in the poultry meat section of the grocery store.
- Guinness beer: Strong and bitter with notes of caramel and chocolate.
- Christie Vanover’s Chicken Rub: To flavor the outside, you can use any flavor BBQ Rub. My Chicken Rub is a great option. It’s an all purpose rub with umami, chili and herbs designed especially for chicken recipes.
- Fresh herbs: Rosemary, sage, oregano, parsley are great options
- Vegetable oil
See the full recipe card below for servings and a full list of ingredients.
How to smoke beer can chicken
Preheat your charcoal grill or pellet smoker to 225F degrees with an indirect heat zone. Use hickory and apple wood chunks, chips or pellets for mild smoky flavor.
If you only have a gas grill, turn one burner on medium-low. Add wood chips on the grill grate in a foil pouch. Cook the chicken on the side where the burner is turned off.
- STEP ONE: Empty a soda or beer can. Fill it with Guinness. Place beer in a beer can chicken roaster rack.
- STEP TWO: Remove the chicken from the packaging. Pat it dry with paper towels and remove the gizzards. Rub chicken with the dry rub.
- STEP THREE: Place the seasoned chicken cavity over the open can of beer. Place the stems of fresh herbs through the top of the chicken into the can.
- STEP FOUR: Smoke for about 3 hours, until the thickest part of the thigh reaches an internal temperature of 155F degrees using an instant-read thermometer.
- STEP FIVE: Increase the grill temperature to 325F degrees. Brush the outside of the chicken with vegetable oil. Continue cooking until the chicken skin gets crispy and the meat registers at 170F degrees.
- STEP SIX: Once the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 170F, it’s time to remove it from the smoker. Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before carving. This will help the juices redistribute, resulting in a moist and tender bird.
How to serve smoked beer can chicken
Remove the chicken from the smoker. Let it rest on a cutting board for a few minutes before carving. As it rests, the skin will lose it’s crispiness, so don’t wait too long to serve it.
Start by removing the chicken legs, thighs and wings. Then, cut the breasts from the bones and slice to serve.
Leftover chicken meat can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. It can also be frozen for up to 4 months.
GCG Pro Pitmaster Tips
- Pat your chicken dry before seasoning to remove excess moisture
- Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temp of the chicken
- Keep the smoker closed as it cooks, so the meat absorbs the smoke flavor
Frequently Asked Questions
This recipe uses a two-step cooking process. The full cooking time is about 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Smoking the chicken takes around 3 hours at 225F degrees. After that, plan on cooking it for another 30 minutes at 325F degrees to crisp up the skin.
Virtually any kind of beer makes good beer can chicken. I used Guinness for this recipe, which is a stout beer with rich caramel notes. IPAs and ales are also great options.
Guinness is a dark beer, but you could also use a light beer if you prefer the taste. The best beer to use is the one you like the taste of, so go with your favorite.
You can also use root beer, ginger ale or apple juice if you’re not a fan of beer.
I used hickory and apple wood, but you can use any kind you like. Some other great options are oak and cherry.
Yes, you can use any blend of herbs and spices that go well with chicken. To make your own spice mix, start by mixing kosher salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Consider adding garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and chili powder.
The skin on beer can chicken becomes crispy when it’s exposed to high heat. This recipe starts at a low temperature. Then, at the end, the temperature is increased to crisp up the skin.
It’s also important to dry the chicken skin well with paper towels before cooking to remove extra moisture.
What to serve with beer can chicken
More chicken recipes
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Guinness Smoked Beer Can Chicken
- 6 lb whole chicken
- 1 bottle Guinness beer
- 3 tbsp Christie Vanover's Chicken Rub
- Fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, oregano, parsley)
- 1 tbsp Vegetable oil
- Heat Grill: Heat the smoker to 225F degrees with an indirect heat zone with hickory and apple wood chips or pellets.
- Prep Can: Empty a soda or beer can. Refill it with Guinness. Place the can in a beer can chicken roaster rack.
- Season: Remove the chicken from the packaging. Remove the inner organs. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with the rub. Place the chicken cavity over the can. Fill the can with stems of fresh herbs.
- Smoke: Smoke over indirect heat for about 3 hours or until the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of 155F degrees.
- Crisp: Increase the grill temperature to 325F degrees. Brush the bird with vegetable oil. Continue cooking until the skin gets crispy and the meat registers at 170F degrees.
- Serve: Remove from the grill. Rest for 10-15 minutes. Slice and serve.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.