Beer Can Chicken

READY IN: 2hrs


  • 2
    cups hickory chips or 2 cups oak chips
  • 2
    (12 ounce) cans beer (plus additional if needed)
  • 12
    cup your favorite barbecue rub
  • 2
    whole chickens, fat removed washed and blotted dry (3 1/2 to 4-pound)


  • Place wood chips in bowl.
  • Pop tabs of each beer can, and make 2 additional holes in each top, using a church-key opener.
  • Pour half the beer from each can over the chips.
  • Add additional beer or water to cover the chips, soak them for 1 hour and drain.
  • Set up grill for indirect grilling.
  • Sprinkle 1 teaspoon barbecue rub in neck cavity and 2 teaspoons in main cavity of each chicken.
  • Add 1 tablespoon rub to each open, half-full can of beer.
  • (Don't worry if it foams up.) Season outside of each bird with 2 tablespoons rub.
  • Stand beer cans on work surface. Holding each chicken upright, lower it over can so that can goes into main cavity.
  • Pull chicken legs forward to form a sort of tripod.
  • The chicken should sit upright over the can.
  • Carefully transfer chickens to grill in this same position, placing them in center over drip pan away from heat. If using charcoal, toss half the wood chips on each mound of coals.
  • If using gas, place chips in smoker box.Barbecue chickens until nicely browned and cooked through, About 1 1/2 hours, keeping temperature about 350 degrees F.
  • (If using charcoal, replenish coals as needed.) The internal temperature of the birds (taken in thickest part of thigh) should be 165°F.
  • Carefully transfer birds to platter in same position.
  • To carve lift bird off of can, and discard can.
  • You can use any seasoning on the birds and other flavorful liquids - not just beer in the can.
  • You can use a can of Coke or Sprite. Soda is more interesting than you might imagine. Just be sure you open the can first. Opal Fitzgerald Quinlan, Texas.