The Best Beer Can Chicken Recipe – Mesquite Smoked!

If you are looking for the best beer can chicken recipe out there, this is it. This mesquite smoked chicken is absolutely fabulous!

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I know, I know, EVERYONE has the best beer can chicken recipe. Seriously though, the spice rub that is on THIS beer can chicken is absolutely the best. It’s not just about plunking the chicken onto a beer can and calling it a day, it’s about the spices.Also : mesquite wood chips.

Beer Can Chicken in an aluminum pan

How to Make Beer Can Chicken

Now don’t get all scared about using wood chips, you don’t need a smoker to use them. All you need is a gas grill and a small pan to put those wood chips in. Thrift yourself a small cast iron pan to use in your BBQ ( I see them ALL the time at Value Village) and you will have it made in the shade!

This recipe yields the tenderest, juiciest, most delicious beer can chicken EVER. We have eaten it three times in the past two weeks. mainly because the first time I didn’t get photos, the second time we planned to get photos and did and then last night we made it because the kids LOVE it. It’s also easy as heck to make.

Beer Can Chicken on a white plate showing the inside of chicken

First off, mesquite smoke turns your chicken pink in places. Don’t worry, it will be cooked. It will be weird to see pink chicken, but as long as your thermometer reads that 180 in the thigh area ( the recommended temp when you are cooking a whole chicken) you are good. It’s just what mesquite wood chip can do to a chicken. We actually OVER cooked the one in the photo above and you can see that the thigh meat turned smoky pink.

The Best Beer Can Chicken Recipe-Mesquite Smoked! from @kitchenmagpie

You’ll also notice that we use a cheap aluminum pan to catch the drippings. It’s the easiest way to make the chicken and yes, we do re-use the pan. It’s been washed and used three times now and works like a charm! While this is in our smoker, you simple take out any top rack in your BBQ and place the chicken on the grill just like this one above.

The Best Beer Can Chicken Recipe – Mesquite Smoked!

If you are looking for the best beer can chicken recipe out there, this is it. This mesquite smoked chicken is absolutely fabulous!
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
3 hours
1 chicken
Karlynn Johnston


  • 2 cups mesquite wood chips
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 can beer


  • You can either prepare this by applying the mixture to the skin only or by applying to both the skin and the meat. The way I prefer it is to loosen the skin by slipping your fingers underneath the skin and pulling it away (gently) from the meat so you can apply the mixture directly to the meat for more flavour.  Be careful not to rip the skin as you’ll want to lay it back over the meat when done to prevent the meat from drying out.
  • Combine the oil and the spices together and rub them over the meat and skin. Let sit for 15 minutes to let things soak in a bit.
  • Empty some of the beer out of the can (I usually do about 1/3) and leave the rest in the can. Insert it into the cavity of the chicken so that it’s standing upright in a pan (shown above).
  • Place in the smoker (pan included) upright for approximately 3 hours at around 225 degrees or until a thermometer inserted in thigh registers 165°.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 1813kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 142g, Fat: 129g, Saturated Fat: 34g, Cholesterol: 571mg, Sodium: 2349mg, Potassium: 1553mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 2250IU, Vitamin C: 12.2mg, Calcium: 116mg, Iron: 8.9mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Site Index Beer Chicken Whole chicken Wood smoker

Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Jillian says

    This was so yummy!!!! Now I need to buy a smoker.5 stars

  2. Red says

    How about a version that can be done in a standard kitchen oven — for those of us who live in apartments that disallow BBQs on the balcony.

  3. Dodie Simonite says

    Had a hard time getting the Bradley pucks to smoke on a BBQ.. Had to hit 400F then turned down. Your spice marinade was great! I made a batch of the brown sugar, used cajun, then garlic and onion powders. Rubbed the bird, then took the rest of the marinade and added water, microwaved, and injected. Plugged the syringe again, but will filter the solution next time. Your spice mixture was great!

  4. Rebecca says

    This recipe looks great, but I am not sure about the particulars of using the mesquite. Do I just dump the chips in my skillet and stick it on the grate? Do they need soaking? My Weber gas grill is tall enough for my chicken to be vertical with all grates in place, but I am not certain the chips will get hot enough to smoke that far from the flame. Thoughts?

    • Mike Johnston says

      This recipe is for a smoker, if you are trying to use a grill, I’m not sure how well it’ll work.

  5. Ryan says

    Would you use the same cook time of 3 hours at 225 for two whole chickens

    • Mike Johnston says

      You can certainly try it. Just watch your temperatures using a digital thermometer. You want to make sure it’s cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit

      • Alma Hyslop says

        Ironic and sad that you would repost this after complaining about the wildfire smoke in Alberta, and while much of the continent is currently suffering from poor air quality.
        Meat smokers (and wood chips in BBQs) are sources of intense localized air pollution, dangerous for you, your kids, and your neighbours.
        Karlynn and Mike, please get yourselves a PM2.5 monitor, and see for yourselves the harm you are doing; then STOP promoting the use of solid fuels.

        • Aeil says

          You work for health department
          Take monitoring device put by
          Exhaust pipe get reading for three
          Hours send reply
          Canada has a different look at life please the minority be judge mental
          Mojority has less rights

5 from 9 votes (8 ratings without comment)

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