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How to make smoked beer can chicken


Written By admin on Thursday, May 26, 2016 | 11:12 AM


  • 1 whole chicken, about 2.5kg
  • 65g sea salt
  • 1 x 425ml can beer, at room temperature
For the rub:
  • 2tsp onion granules
  • 2tsp garlic granules
  • 1tsp chili con carne seasoning
  • ½tsp freshly ground black pepper

Learn how to make smoked beer can chicken with this easy beer can chicken recipe - perfect for cooking on the BBQ and sharing with friends and family. 

The delicious rub is made with onions, garlic and chilli seasoning meaning your chicken will be bursting with flavour.

This recipe serves 4 people and will take approximately 1hr and 30 mins to cook plus marinating time and resting time. It's well worth the wait!


  • 4 handfuls of hickory wood chips, soaked in water for at least 30 mins
  • A cooking thermometer

Step 1

The first thing to do is remove and discard the neck, giblets and any excess fat from the chicken. To draw out some of the moisture and add to the flavour of the chicken, cover the chicken with sea salt. Sprinkle the sea salt over the entire surface and inside the cavity of the bird, covering it all like a light blanket of snow. Cover the chicken with clingfilm and refrigerate for 1½-2 hrs. 

Meanwhile, mix all the rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Remove chicken from the fridge and rinse it inside and out with cold water, then gently pat dry with kitchen paper.

Step 2

Season the chicken all over with the rub. Open the beer can and pour out ½ the beer into a cold mug to drink. Using a can opener, make 2 more holes in the top of the can to allow steam to escape while the chicken is cooking. Put the beer can safely to one side.

Step 3

Fold the wingtips behind the chicken's back. Allow the chicken to stand at room temperature for 20-30 mins before grilling. Prepare the BBQ for indirect cooking over a medium heat.

Step 4

Place the beer can on a solid surface. Ease the chicken cavity over the beer can and slide the bird over the beer can as far as it will go.

Step 5

Drain and place the hickory wood chips directly onto burning coals or in the smoker box of a gas BBQ, following the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 6

When the wood chips begin to smoke, transfer the bird-on-a-can to the BBQ. Place it in the centre of the cooking grate, balancing on its two legs and the can, like a tripod. Grill over indirect medium heat for 1¼-1½ hrs, with the lid closed, until the chicken is fully cooked. 

To check that it's done, the juices should run clear when pricked with a fork and the internal temperature should register 77°C in the thickest part of the thigh (don't let the thermometer touch the bone).

Step 7

Slowly remove the chicken and can from the BBQ (take care not to spill the contents of the beer can, as it will be very hot). Allow the chicken to rest for about 10 mins before carefully lifting it away from the can and cutting into serving pieces. Serve warm.

Step 8

Serve your beer can chicken with classic BBQ food including coleslaw, potato salad and BBQ veggies.


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