Beer Can Chicken | Grilled Chicken Recipe

Kent Rollins Beer Can Chicken

Head on over to the hen house, y’all because today we’re going to make everyone’s favorite summer method of cooking a whole chicken on the smoker – beer can chicken.

Beer Can Chicken

I went ahead and tested several types of beer and even a Mountain Dew when I was perfecting this recipe, but I found that they didn’t make a huge difference once I added the herbs and spices to them and got them inside the chicken. If I had to pick one, it would be a light beer. Today I am using Coors Light.

You want to have that can of beer about half empty and the chicken completely thawed to room temperature before you get started. Make sure you’ve cleaned out all the gizzards and the neck because we want the inside cavity completely empty.

TIP: Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel – inside and out – so that the olive oil will adhere to the skin and the rub will stick better while the bird is smoking.

Once you pat the chicken dry, rub olive oil all over. The olive oil should completely cover the chicken. I’ve come up with a delicious rub using my mesquite original seasoning, mustard and chili powder, among other spices – mix the spices up following the recipe below and rub them all over.

Have some butter melted and ready to baste on the chicken every 15 minutes or so after the first hour of smoking to keep things full of flavor and moist. 


It’s Beer Season(ing)!

Now, using a can opener or a sharp knife cut the aluminum top off of the beer can. We’re going to put some aromatic spices inside the beer so they evaporate and bathe the chicken in extra flavor along with that smoke from the eucalyptus and mesquite hardwoods. Do not worry if you get some metal shavings inside the beer – we are not drinking this beer.

The beer needs to be lukewarm before you start. Add rosemary, thyme, cloves and minced garlic to the beer.

TIP: Be careful if you use a knife. I don’t want your wife or husband hollering my way because you sliced off one of your fingers!

Plum Crazy Good Marinade

For the marinade, I used wild plums, W sauce and some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. If you do not have fresh plums laying around, you can use plum jelly or even peach preserves both will give a great flavor.

Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate for about an hour to give the flavors time to incorporate.

Sit the Bird on the Beer Can

Set up the bird on the beer can and rub some more seasoning all over. The seasoning will work as a protective coating. Refrigerate for about 1 hour before smoking.

Smoking Time

I used a blend of mesquite, apple and… eucalyptus wood. You heard it right eucalyptus! I hadn’t used it before but it gives a very unique flavor. It is almost like a fresh taste it adds to the chicken.

I like to run My Hasty Bake Grill at about 350 degrees F. until the chicken is 160 degrees inside. My grill has the fire over on the right, so I’m going to put the chicken on the left side and cook it with indirect heat.

This should take about an hour and or so before we start to baste with that butter.

Be generous with the butter for basting! The flavor will be so rich when you put the glaze on at the end.

Tip: Glaze the chicken about every 15 minut

es minutes until it reaches 150 degrees F. Then begin basting with that good plum marinade until the internal temperature is 165 degrees F. 



Beer Can Chicken - Cowboy Kent Rollins

Prep Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours


  • 3 tablespoons Kent’s Mesquite Seasoning see substitution
  • ½ tablespoon chile powder
  • ½ tablespoon coarse ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 large whole chicken
  • Olive oil
  • 1 12 oz can room temperature beer
  • 1/3 cup of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • ½ cup pitted wild plums or ¾ cup plum jelly
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • cup light brown sugar
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 4 whole cloves
  • ½ tablespoon dried thyme leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 stick butter melted


  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the Mesquite Seasoning, chile powder, pepper, mustard and garlic powder.
  2. Remove the chicken from the package and remove any of the insides, if needed. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Generously rub the chicken with olive oil.
  3. With a can opener, remove the top portion of the beer can and pour half the beer out. Add the rosemary, thyme and garlic to the beer can.
  4. Place the bird on a sheet pan and generously season the chicken with the seasoning mixture. Place the chicken over the beer can in the cavity so the chicken is standing upright. Place the bird in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  5. Meanwhile, to a blender add the chipotle peppers, wild plums, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Blend well. Taste the mixture and add more sweetness of chipotles for spice, as needed. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  6. Clean oil and preheat the grill to 350 degrees F. I use a blend of mesquite apple and eucalyptus woods for this recipe.

  7. Place the chicken on the indirect side of the grill. Cook for 1 hour.
  8. After the 1 hour, generously baste the chicken with the melted butter every 15 minutes for about 1 more hour or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 150 degrees F.
  9. Generously brush the plum sauce on the chicken and cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165 to 170 degrees F. Brush a couple more times with the plum sauce as it cooks. Remove from the grill and remove the can from the chicken. Tent with tinfoil and let rest for 10- to 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

Kent's Mesquite Seasoning available at

For substitution use your favorite all purpose seasoning or a mixture of smoked paprika, ancho chile powder and salt and pepper.