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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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°.