First beer can chicken

Discussion in 'Grilling Chicken' started by fritzmonroe, Jun 21, 2014.

  1. fritzmonroe

    fritzmonroe Smoke Blower

    Early this year I built a Mini WSM. I have been smoking off and on. I also picked up Jeff's book and decided to try making a beer can chicken with it today. Here's the before shot. I decided to use a lemon shandy. I figure it will put a little lemon flavor into the bird.


    I can't do it tomorrow, but today there's showers happening all day long. So I decided to try doing it under my pop up canopy.


    The table is my salad table. The plastic bin is covering the transmitter unit of my thermometer. I didn't plan on putting up the canopy. The chicken has been on for about 20 minutes. And because I'm pretty new to this, I'm having problems getting the temperature to hold at 225 or so. I'll get it there, but it takes me some finagling.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2014
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks good so far.  Did that Leinenkugel Summer Shandy go in the chicken?  Around here I use ginger ale and DRINK the Summer Shandy!

    Chicken actually smokes better at higher temps, like 275F plus.  So if your temp trouble is keeping it down to 225F, let it coast higher.  If it is having trouble get up to 225F, keep finagling.
  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks like you are off to a good start. I do all of my poultry at higher temps. You'll get a better skin. 325°-350° minimum is what I shoot for. Crank the mini up and make some smoke! BY the way rain won't stop a mini. You could leave it uncovered if you want. It is nice for the cook though to have a dry place to stand, IN all honesty I've never noticed any flavor coming from the liquid I've used when doing beer can chicken. More of a novelty in my opinion.
  4. fritzmonroe

    fritzmonroe Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the replies.  Being really new, I'm trying to stick to the recipe, it calls for 225-240F.  I'll experiment with the higher temps next time.

    For the beer can, yep, it's up the chicken.  I've had beer can chicken on the grill and there was a very slight taste from the beer, but the big claim was it kept things moist.

    The canopy is for me.  Since I'm running out there so often, I want a dry place for me.  If it was just a drizzle, I wouldn't worry about it.  But it's been a steady rain, so I wanted more coverage.
  5. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I agree with the moisture part.  I brine and inject my chickens too so I never notice any taste from the can, whatever I'm using.  I just like moist chicken and turkey breasts, dripping with juices, especially leftovers, so I do everything I can to ensure that's what I get.  Beer can is just part of the process for me.
  6. fritzmonroe

    fritzmonroe Smoke Blower

    It turned out great.  I did get a tiny bit of lemon taste in there.  I also found that even cutting the cayenne pepper in half made the skin REALLY spicy.  But it did allow the taste to work its way into the bird.

  7. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    glad it worked out for ya.. If you really want your seasoning to get to the meat.. put it on the meat.... start at the neck and work your hand down in under the skin.. separating the skin from the breast.. you can get your whole hand down in there eventually .. then work a finger or two around the legs and separate skin from legs as well... now when you put your rub on hold the skin out away from the breast and have somebody sprinkle the rub down inside the bird on the meat itself... when done seasoning pull the skin back up over any exposed meat and stitch a tooth pick or two in to hold the skin up....
  8. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Or, just skin the bird!


    It would really surprise you how much FAT is under the skin that you are eating!  Skinned, apply your rub directly on the bird and have a much healthier meal!
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2014
  9. Using a MES 30, I too had my first time beer can chicken from Jeff's book and being new I was a little nervous when I decided to venture off on my own and used cranberry juice in the beer can after I drank the beer. I also used cranberry juice in my liquid pan. Otherwise I followed Jeff's recipe for brine, and rubs then using an injector I injected butter into the breast and legs. I have to say that it was the best chicken I have ever had in my life and I am 72 years old. It was so good that since that first one I have done 6 more and pass them out to friends & neighbors and they tell me the same thing "It is the best chicken they have ever had."

    Your bird looks fantastic and bet it was a treat to eat I also bet your family "said do it again".
  10. coryb

    coryb Fire Starter

    I was always told whatever is in your beer can or water pan in your smoker is there for only a way to apply humidity to the smoker which applies pressure on the meat being smoked as well as plays a role in temperature control not allowing immediate and large temperature swings.  I'm with JckDanls 07... get up under the skin with your seasonings and either brine before hand with a mixture of your own concoction or inject with flavor.  That bird looks AWESOME as is though i must say! If it tastes half as good as it looks it was a complete success.

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