Have you heard of smoked beer can chicken before or, better still, tried it? It’s easy to make pellet grilled Traeger beer can chicken. And this is one summer grilling recipe you just have to try. Smoked beer can chicken, also known as smoked butt chicken in some places, is so good. It’s one of the best grilled chicken recipe ideas there is. Add an authentic Mexican BBQ sauce, and you have such an amazing meal! You will be surprised at how easy it is to make beer can chicken. This show stopping grilled chicken recipe is always a BBQ favourite all summer long.
Why’s It Called Smoked Beer Can Chicken?
Before you make pellet grilled beer can chicken you probably want to know what the recipe is all about. Basically, it’s a whole chicken cooked upright along with a can of beer. Inserting a half drunk beer into the, ahem ‘derriere’ of a chicken might be a new concept to you. But it really works!
As the chicken gets crisped up on the outside, the inside is being steamed with beer to add flavour. The whole chicken comes out crisp on the outside and moist and juicy on the inside. What if you aren’t keen on beer? No problem, you can use apple juice, broth or any other liquid in there.
What You Need to Make Beer Can Chicken
You will need a whole chicken for this pellet grilled Traeger beer can chicken recipe. In addition, you will need a can of beer. Use a Mexican beer such as Modelo, Dos Equis or Corona. If you don’t like beer, you can sub this ingredient for a half-full can of apple juice or even lemon-lime soda.
A mason jar half-filled with chicken bouillon would work. Other ideas include white wine with some orange zest and rosemary added to it, or even Dr Pepper! You can buy wine in cans these days which simplifies things. Alternatives to the can include a mason jar or even a beer can chicken roaster rack which is both sturdy and reusable.
If you are using a can, it’s best to put it on an aluminum pie plate underneath. It should be wide enough to catch any drips (which prevents flare-ups). This also helps keep everything sturdy.
There are plenty of spices here including chilli powder, cumin, cayenne, paprika, and onion powder. You can use regular paprika in place of the smoked paprika if that’s all you have. This recipe is cooked in a smoker so it’s going to taste smoky anyway!
You also need salt and pepper, oregano and cilantro. You can adjust the amounts of spice, perhaps leaving out the cayenne or chilli powder for a milder result. Make beer can chicken however you like. I like mine a little spicy!
Mexican BBQ Sauce Ingredients
This Mexican BBQ sauce is so good. To make it you need jalapeno, shallot, garlic, chilli powder and chilli sauce, red pepper flakes, oregano, cumin, coriander, ketchup, sugar and lime juice. That’s quite a few ingredients but this Mexican BBQ sauce is well worth the effort. It works perfectly with this summer grilling recipe.
How to Make this Special Grilled Chicken Recipe
The first thing you need to do for this Traeger beer can chicken recipe is preheat your smoker. You don’t have to use a Traeger brand smoker but it is a great brand if you’re shopping for one.
Pour out some of the beer and mix it with oil. Rub this all over the bird. Now mix the spices and seasonings and rub the mixture into the chicken. Insert the beer can part way into the chicken and smoke it for half an hour.
The Mexican BBQ sauce ingredients need to be simmered until thick, then pureed. Brush the sauce over the bird and smoke it for another 45 minutes or until done. Serve it sprinkled with cilantro and enjoy!
What to Serve with Pellet Grilled Smoked Beer Can Chicken
Considering this recipe is on the spicy side, you might prefer contrasting sides. Creamy homemade potato salad is also great or you might prefer a pasta salad. Corn on the cob would go well, as would baked potatoes. Other ideas include coleslaw, grilled zucchini and cornbread. Whichever summer grilling recipe sides you prefer, make those. Anything goes!
How to Tell When this Grilled Chicken Recipe is Done
Your smoked beer can chicken needs to be 165 degrees F in the center. Use a meat thermometer to check and make sure it is touching the chicken meat only, not a bone or the beer can.
If you are a fan of this pellet grilled chicken recipe, you may also like Smoked Cheddar Bacon Stuffed Burgers, The BEST Honeydew Melon Margarita, Healthy Homemade Smoked Beef Jerky or Fresh Mexican-Style Shrimp Ceviche with Avocado.
Smoked Beer Can Chicken with Mexican BBQ Sauce Recipe
Smoked Beer Can Chicken with Mexican BBQ Sauce
- 1 chicken whole
- 1 can beer I used Modelo
- 1 Tsp. ancho chili powder
- 2 Tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 Tsp. cumin
- 1/2 Tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 Tsp. ground coriander
- 1/4 Tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 Tsp. salt
- 1/2 Tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 Tsp. oregano Mexican variety
- 1 sprig cilantro
Mexican BBQ Sauce
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 jalapeno chopped
- 1/2 shallot minced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 Tsp. chili powder
- 1 Tsp. oregano Mexican variety
- 2 Tsp. ground coriander
- 2 Tsp. cumin
- 1 1/2 Cup Ketchup
- 1/4 Cup red chili sauce
- 2 Tbsp. lime juice
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- Heat the smoker to 325 degrees F for 15 minutes.
- Pour 2 tbsp Modelo into a ramekin. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and whisk. Rub chicken with mixture.
- In a small a bowl, combine chili powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, coriander, pepper, salt, onion powder, and oregano. Stir, then rub all sides of the chicken with the seasoning.
- Insert beer can into the chicken to help it stand. Place into the smoker for 1 hour.
- While the chicken is cooking, prepare barbeque sauce. Heat a saucepan over medium high heat. Add vegetable oil, jalapeno, shallot, and garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Then, whisk in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer for 8 minutes. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender, food processor, or blender to purée.
- Lower the temperature on the smoker to 300 degrees F. Brush chicken thoroughly with BBQ sauce. Close the lid and cook for an additional 45 minutes.
- Let chicken rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and serve with a Modelo.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
Pellet grilled Traeger beer can chicken is a wonderful summer grilling recipe for those warm evenings. The flavour is so rich and impressive, and it’s a great way to cook chicken for moist, juicy results.
Let me know if you try out this smoked beer can chicken. You will be surprised at how easy it is to make beer can chicken and don’t forget the zesty Mexican BBQ sauce…it is the perfect addition to this grilled chicken recipe! Pellet grilled Traeger beer can chicken is always a BBQ favourite all summer long.