Jun 6, 2013

Hickory-Smoked Beer Can Chicken Recipe from Weber's New Real Grilling™ by Jamie Purviance

Rating: 5 stars

18 Reviews

Serves: 4 // Prep time: 15 minutes | Dry brining time: 2 hours | Grilling time: 1¼ to 1½ hours | Special equipment: 4 large handfuls hickory or oak wood chips, church key–style can opener, instant-read thermometer

Grocery List

Meat / Poultry / Seafood

  • 1 whole chickens, each 4 to 5 lb

Oil and Spices

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • .5 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp granulated onion
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp paprika

Wine / Beer / Spirits

  • 1 cans beer (each 12 fl oz)


  • 1 tsp golden brown sugar

Special Equipment

  • church key–style can opener
  • instant-read thermometer
  • 4 handfuls oak or hickory wood chips


  • 1 whole chicken, 4 to 5 pounds, neck, giblets, and any excess fat removed
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt


  • 2 teaspoons granulated onion
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon packed golden brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 can (12 ounces) beer, at room temperature


  1. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the meaty parts of the chicken and inside the cavity (but not on the back). The chicken will be coated with a visible layer of salt. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

  2. Combine the rub ingredients.

  3. Soak the wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes.

  4. Prepare the grill for indirect cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F). Keep the temperature as close to 400°F as possible throughout the cooking time.

  5. Rinse the chicken with cold water, inside and outside, to remove the salt, and then pat dry with paper towels. Brush the chicken with the oil and season all over, including inside the cavity, with the rub. Fold the wing tips behind the chicken’s back.

  6. Open the can of beer and pour out about two-thirds. Using a church key–style can opener, make two more holes in the top of the can. Place the can on a solid surface and then lower the chicken cavity over the can.

  7. Drain and add two handfuls of wood chips to the charcoal or put them in the smoker box of a gas grill, following the manufacturer’s instructions, and close the lid. When the wood begins to smoke, transfer the chicken-on-a-can to the grill, balancing it on its two legs and the can like a tripod. Cook the chicken over indirect medium heat, with the lid closed, until the juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (not touching the bone), registers 160° to 165°F, 1¼ to 1½ hours. After the first 15 minutes of cooking time, drain and add the remaining wood chips to the charcoal or to the smoker box. If using a charcoal grill, replenish the charcoal as needed to maintain a steady temperature, adding 6 to 10 unlit briquettes after 45 minutes. Leave the lid off the grill for about 5 minutes to help the new briquettes light.

  8. Carefully remove the chicken-on-a-can from the grill (do not spill the contents of the beer can, as it will be very hot). Let the chicken rest for 10 to 15 minutes (the internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees during this time) before lifting it from the beer can and carving it into serving pieces. Serve warm.

18 Reviews

Average Rating

Rating: 5 stars

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Rating: 5 stars

Jun 28, 2013

Kate R

Moist and Tasty

The chicken is moist and delicious. It was easy enough to do. I actually left the salt on it for 24 hours as my grill ran out of gas when I went to make it the first night. I do agree with the person who said the aluminum beer can is a bit flimsy. I did use it, but getting it from the grill to the sink was a challenge when the chicken was done. I will have to save a tin can to use for this purpose! I will be making this again, using different rubs. I usually buy a roast chicken a week, but with this easy, delicious, juicy recipe, I'll be making my own now.

Type of Griller


Would you recommend this recipe? YES

Rating: 5 stars

Jun 29, 2013

Lola S


I followed your recipe instructions step by step and ended up with a crispy skin and moist/tender meat, delicious. The salt application worked well. I avoided beer can problems by using a Rösle single canister I purchased sometime ago at Williams-Sonoma. It’s very sturdy, being made of stainless steel with a removable handle, easy to use and does not stick.

Type of Griller


Would you recommend this recipe? YES

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Hickory-Smoked Beer Can Chicken