Beer Can Chicken

Ingredients, Chicken

  • 3-4 pound whole fryer chicken
  • 3-4 tablespoons Memphis Rub (see below)
  • 1-2 cans beer
  • 1 Serrano pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups wood chips (Hickory or Cherry)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Ingredients, Memphis Rub

  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons accent (MSG)
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • Combine all the ingredients in a jar, twist the lid on airtight, and shake to mix. Store away from heat or light for up to six months. Makes about 1/2 cup.


  • Vertical chicken roaster (optional)
  • Cutting board for carving
  • Grill
  • Tongs
  • Rubber heat mitts
  • Aluminum foil
  • Paper towels
  • Smoker box (or bag made of foil)

Directions, Chicken

**Timing note: Bird can be prepped up to 24 hours in advance. Wood chips should be soaked for between 15 minutes and 1 hour. It takes about 5-15 minutes to heat the grill and smoke chips, and about 1.25-1.5 hours to cook the bird.

  1. Remove giblets from bird and wash inside and out with cold water. Pat the bird dry.
  2. Coat the outside of the bird in 2 teaspoons vegetable oil. Use 1 teaspoon rub on the inside cavity, 1/2 teaspoon on the inside of the neck cavity. 1-2 tablespoons on the outside, and reserve the remaining 1.5 teaspoons for the beer
  3. Cover bird with foil and refrigerate (cure) for between 1 to 24 hours
  4. Soak chips in half a can of beer and water to cover for 15 minutes to one hour, dry, and place in smoker box (or bag)
  5. Place the smoker box on the grill and light to high.
  6. While grill heats, place cut Serrano pepper, garlic cloves, and 1.5 teaspoons of rub into roasting can with 1/2 can of beer (about 8 ounces).
  7. Mount bird over can like a tripod, with legs out to corners and wings tucked behind the back.
  8. When the chips begin to smoke on the grill, reduce heat for indirect grilling at between 325-350 degrees (two outside burners at medium, middle is off or far right at medium-high and center at low with the far left off. The bird should be on the cool side with the chips).
  9. Check on and rotate bird every 1/2 hour, with cooking time ranging between 1-2 hours. Use an instant-read thermometer to check temperature at between 1.25 and 1.5 hours. The temperature of the breast should be 160, the thigh should be 180.
  10. When finished, remove bird and let rest for 5 minutes before carefully removing from the can and carving.
  11. To carve, cut the thigh off at the bone, then follow the cage from the center bone to remove the breast (with the wing attached), then separate the leg from the thigh (optional) and the wing from the breast.
  12. Note: Be careful to let the bird roast and not open the grill too often, but vegetables can be roasted along with the bird. I cut zucchini, squash, and mushroom and roasted indirectly for 20-30 minutes in an aluminum foil pouch (loosely sealed) after coating veggies in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Denser vegetables like potatoes will take longer and can be put on grill before other veggies are added. Alternatively you can boil the potatoes for 3-5 minutes before putting on the grill to equalize the time for all veggies.

All recipes stolen/borrowed from somewhere, butchered/adapted exclusively by CHEF BOY/R/C.