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Beer Can Chicken: 3 Smoker Style Recipes

What You'll Need:

  • Fruit Wood and Hickory Wood
  • 3 Whole Chickens
  • 3 Beer Can Stands
  • 3 tbsp. Salt
  • 3 tbsp. Pepper
  • 3 tbsp. Garlic Powder
  • Shipyard Summer Ale
  • Downeast Aloha Friday
  • Fabrizia Italian Style Lemonade
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Fresh Whole Jalapeño Peppers
  • Fresh Thyme


The Smoker

Using your fruit wood (we use apple!) & hickory wood, heat the smoker to 250°F

The Birds

Take your salt, pepper, and garlic powder and mix it together in a bowl. Next, rub a generous amount on each of your whole chickens.

The Cans

Wash and open the beer cans. Discard 1/4th of the liquid. While you can just dispose of it, we don’t recommend wasting a delicious drink! Next, widen the opening of the can. Be careful on this step! Use a towel or other barrier to protect your fingers. You don’t want to cut them on the can. This opening provides space for the spices as well as a wide breathing hole once inside the bird.

The Spice

Here’s the important part: the flavor! Any time you make beer can chicken, you’ll want to take great care to pair the right spices with the beer you choose. Ultimately, your chicken is going to absorb some flavoring from both the beer and the spices, so the flavors need to work well together. Here are our three favorite pairings:

  1. Shipyard Summer Ale + Rosemary. The English yeast in the Shipyard Summer Ale allows you to really taste the malty flavor, along with a nice lemon zest. Pair this tasty ale with rosemary for a great-tasting bird.
  2. Downeast Aloha Friday + Jalepeño pepper. The pineapple and apple tastes of Downeast’s Aloha Friday beer mix nicely with the spicy jalepeño, creating a fun flavored chicken great for any summer party.
  3. Fabrizia Italian Style Lemonade + Thyme. Nothing says summer like lemonade. The lemon zest flavor of Fabrizia Italian Lemonade, along with the thyme, create a great summer flavor.

Place your spice inside the corresponding beer can. You’re on your way to flavor mastery!

Finishing Touches
It’s time for liftoff! Place each beer can into a stand and insert the cans into the chickens. Be careful to keep the cans upright; you don’t want to spill your beer now.

Place each bird into your smoker over indirect heat, and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes per pound—or cook until the internal temperature is 185°F. Halfway through, rotate the birds to ensure they are cooked through evenly.

Time to Eat!

Remove the birds from the smoker and carefully remove the beer cans. Now it’s time to dig in—enjoy your chicken with your favorite summer beer!

Did you try any of our beer can chicken recipes? Have one you want to share with us? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you!

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