Smoked beer can chicken on a pellet grill is a culinary delight that combines the rich flavors of smoked chicken with the unique taste of beer. This guide will walk you through the process of preparing this dish using a Traeger, Pit Boss, or any other pellet grill. With the right ingredients and techniques, you can create a tender and juicy chicken with a crispy skin that your family and friends will love.
What You Need to Know About Pellet Grills
Pellet grills, such as the Traeger and Pit Boss, are versatile cooking appliances that can grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, and barbecue food. They use wood pellets as fuel, which are fed into a firebox by an auger. The heat and smoke from the burning pellets cook and flavor the food. The temperature in a pellet grill is easy to control, making it ideal for smoking beer can chicken.
The Magic of Smoked Beer Can Chicken
Smoked beer can chicken is a unique dish that involves cooking a whole chicken on a beer can. The beer in the can steams the chicken from the inside, keeping it moist while it smokes on the grill. The result is a chicken that is tender and juicy on the inside, with a crispy and flavorful skin on the outside.
Key Ingredients for Smoked Beer Can Chicken on a Pellet Grill
To prepare smoked beer can chicken on a pellet grill, you will need the following key ingredients:
- Whole chicken: A locally sourced 8lb chicken is ideal for a family of five, with leftovers for a nice soup. If you have a smaller family, you can opt for a smaller chicken.
- Beer: You will need a can of beer. It is best to use room temperature beer as a cold can may slow down the internal temperature rise of the chicken.
- Rub: A good rub is essential for flavor. You can use a pre-made chicken and poultry rub, such as the BBQ Pit Boys Poultry Powder Rub, or make your own.
- Oil: Olive oil is used to help the rub stick to the chicken. It also helps to crisp the skin.
Preparing the Smoked Beer Can Chicken
Before you start cooking, make sure your pellet grill is clean and ready to use. Preheat it to a lower cooking temperature, around 225°F. This will give your chicken a nice pink smoke ring, which is a result of myoglobin in the chicken reacting with the smoke to create a pink hue.
Preparing the Chicken
Start by patting your whole chicken dry with paper towels. Then, rub it all over with olive oil. This will help the rub stick to the chicken and give it a crispy skin. Next, apply your rub. Make sure to get it under the skin and inside the cavity for maximum flavor.
Preparing the Beer Can
Open your beer can and pour out (or drink) about half of the beer. This is to prevent the beer from boiling over during cooking. You can also punch additional holes in the top of the can to allow more steam to escape.
Cooking the Chicken
Place the beer can on a solid surface, then lower the chicken onto the can so that it sits upright, with the can in its cavity. Transfer the chicken to the preheated pellet grill, making sure it remains upright. You can use a chicken stand or a chicken throne to help stabilize it.
Monitoring the Cooking Process
Insert a temperature probe into the thickest part of the chicken, but not touching the beer can or the bones. Close the lid of the pellet grill and let the chicken cook. The cooking time will depend on the size of the chicken and the temperature of the grill, but it usually takes about 1.5 to 2 hours.
Checking the Internal Temperature
The chicken is done when its internal temperature reaches 165°F. Be sure to check the temperature in several places to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked. Once done, carefully remove the chicken from the grill, being careful not to spill the hot beer. Let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes before carving.
Making the Smoked Chicken Gravy
While the chicken is resting, you can make a homemade smoked chicken gravy using the drippings from the chicken. Collect the drippings in a casserole dish or a cast iron pan and place it on the grill to heat up. You can add flour and chicken broth to the drippings to make a rich and flavorful gravy. Garnish with parsley before serving.
Serving the Smoked Beer Can Chicken
After resting, carefully remove the beer can from the chicken. Carve the chicken and serve it with the smoked chicken gravy. The chicken should have a crispy skin, tender and juicy meat, and a subtle smoky flavor from the beer and the wood pellets.
Smoked beer can chicken on a pellet grill is a delicious and fun way to cook a whole chicken. With a few simple ingredients and the right techniques, you can create a chicken that is tender and juicy on the inside, with a crispy and flavorful skin on the outside. Whether you’re using a Traeger, Pit Boss, or another type of pellet grill, this guide has you covered. Happy grilling!
Can I use different liquids instead of beer?
Yes, you can use other liquids such as cider, wine, or chicken broth. The key is to use a liquid that will steam and flavor the chicken from the inside.
Why is my smoked chicken pink?
The pink hue in smoked chicken is due to a reaction between the myoglobin in the chicken and the smoke. It is a sign that the chicken has been properly smoked and is not an indication that it is raw.
Can I use a different type of oil?
Yes, you can use any type of oil that you prefer. Olive oil is recommended because it has a high smoke point and a mild flavor that won’t overpower the taste of the chicken and the rub.
How do I know when the chicken is done?
The chicken is done when its internal temperature reaches 165°F. It is important to use a meat thermometer to check the temperature in several places to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked.
What temperature for smoked chicken on a pellet grill?
The ideal temperature for smoking chicken on a pellet grill is around 225°F to 250°F. This lower temperature allows the chicken to cook slowly, absorbing the smoky flavor from the wood pellets and maintaining its juiciness.
At what temperature is a beer can chicken done?
A beer can chicken is done when its internal temperature reaches 165°F. It is important to check the temperature in several places, including the thickest part of the breast and the innermost part of the thigh, to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked. Always use a reliable meat thermometer to check the temperature.
How to cook beer can chicken over a fire?
Position a seasoned, whole chicken atop a half-filled can of beer. Place the chicken in a stable position near the fire, but not directly over the flames. Rotate occasionally, ensuring even cooking, for about 1-1.5 hours or until fully cooked.
How to cook chicken on a Pit Boss grill?
Preheat your Pit Boss grill to 350°F. Season your chicken as desired. Place the chicken on the grill grates and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165°F, turning once for even cooking. Adjust time based on chicken cuts and thickness.
- 1 whole chicken (about 4-5 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons your favorite poultry rub or spice blend
- 1 can of your preferred beer
- Wood pellets (hickory or applewood work wonders)
1. Preparing the Chicken:
- Start by patting the chicken dry with paper towels. This helps to achieve a crispy skin during smoking.
- Rub the chicken inside and out with olive oil. This not only enhances flavor but also helps the spices adhere to the bird.
2. Seasoning the Chicken:
- Generously coat the chicken, inside and out, with your chosen poultry rub or spice blend. Make sure to get into all the nooks and crannies for maximum flavor.
3. Preparing the Grill:
- Preheat your pellet grill to 225°F (107°C). The low and slow cooking method is key to achieving that tender, smoky result.
- Fill the drip tray with water to keep the cooking environment moist and prevent the chicken from drying out.
4. Beer Can Magic:
- Pop open that can of beer and take a few sips to create some space at the top (or feel free to enjoy it all, chef's prerogative!).
- Carefully slide the beer can into the cavity of the chicken, making sure it's balanced and can stand upright on the grill.
5. Time to Smoke:
- Place the beer can chicken onto the grill grates, using the can and the chicken's legs to create a tripod-like balance.
- Toss a handful of wood pellets onto the grill's hot coals to create that mesmerizing smoky flavor.
6. The Art of Patience:
- Close the grill lid and let the chicken smoke for about 2.5 to 3 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the thigh.
- During this time, resist the urge to constantly check on the chicken – smoking is all about letting the magic happen behind the scenes.
7. The Grand Reveal:
- Carefully remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest for about 10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring a moist and succulent bite.
8. Carving and Serving:
- Gently remove the beer can from the chicken – it's done its job! Carve up the chicken into delectable portions.
- Serve alongside your favorite BBQ sides – think coleslaw, cornbread, or grilled vegetables – for a complete and satisfying meal.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 300Total Fat: 18gCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gProtein: 30g
I’m Calvin Lamb, an LA-based culinary enthusiast with a decade’s experience in five-star kitchens. My innovative dishes, inspired by seasonal flavors and sustainable practices, blend classic and modern cuisine. Besides crafting unique culinary experiences, I relish exploring new eateries and devising fresh recipes.