How To Cook Beer Can Chicken On A Pellet Grill?

Beer and chicken go great together just like bacon and eggs. The chicken comes out so moist, you’ll never buy another rotisserie chicken from a store. The best part is that it’s so easy, your pellet grill does all the hard work!

How To Cook A Beer Can Chicken On A Pellet Smoker?

Easy, just wash and clean your whole chicken, season the chicken with your choice seasoning, and empty out or drink some of the beer leaving it 3/4 full. Sit your chicken on top of the beer can and set it on the smoker for 2 – 3 hours or until the internal temperature reaches the desired state.

how to cook beer can chicken on a pellet grill

I know it sounds like a lot, especially, if you’ve never cooked one. Keep reading and I’ll be sure to explain the entire process step by step.

These steps will pretty much work for any pellet smoker grill, even if you’re not cooking on a Pit Boss.

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Tips For Smoking Cooking A Beer Can Chicken On A Wood Pellet Grill

There are a few tips when cooking a beer can chicken on a wood pellet grill.

These are the most important things to consider:

  • Make sure you have enough wood pellets in the grill so it doesn’t run out. We actually forgot to do this and we ran out about an hour into cooking the chicken.
  • Set the temperature at 300 – 350 degrees. Cooking the chicken too low will cause the skin to turn rubbery and hard to chew.
  • Insert a temperature probe into the thickest part of the thigh making sure not to touch any of the bone.
  • Cook the chicken to the recommended internal temperatures, to prevent any illnesses.
  • Let the chicken rest for 10-15 minutes to let the juices settle and prevent it from becoming dry.

Washing The Chicken

To properly clean a chicken you want to start by pulling out the kidneys and giblets.

Once the inner cavity is clean, trim any excess fat and gristle around the tail area and neck with a sharp knife.

Next rinse the inside thoroughly with cold water. Once it’s nice and clean, use a paper towel to pat dry the chicken.

Best Pellets To Use For Chicken

Before you start prepping the chicken, you’ll want to check or change out the pellets on your smoker grill.

We chose to use the Competition Blend, because that’s what we already had in the smoker.

However, you can use the apple or any other fruity flavored wood pellets to cook your chicken. Maybe next time, we’ll cook our beer can chicken using apple wood pellets and see if this affects the flavor.

Preheating The Pit Boss

Once you’ve checked the pellets, it’s time to preheat the grill. It takes about 5 minutes for the grill to heat up, so you want it to be heating up while you prep and season the chicken.

Turn the temperature to 300-350℉, I cooked mine at 350 degrees and the total cook time took about 2 hours.

Seasoning The Chicken

seasoning the chicken
season the chicken with your favorite seasoning

Now it’s time to coat the whole chicken with your favorite seasoning. I chose to use the Webber Cowboy seasoning & rub. You can use whatever you prefer.

Once you’ve chosen the seasoning of your liking, it’s time to put on a rubber glove and rub the chicken down with olive or vegetable oil. This will help make the seasoning stick to the chicken.

Sitting It On The Beer Can

Now it’s time to place the chicken on a beer can stand, if you have one. I purchased one at Lowe’s for about $5, but this beer can roaster looks a lot sturdier than the one I used.

You don’t necessarily need to use a beer stand, but I find it so much easier. Plus you don’t have to worry about the chicken falling over and getting beer all over your grill and inside the firepot.

Open the beer can and pour or drink half of it. Using a church key-style can opener, make 4 holes at the top of the can. We used a knife to remove the top of the can.

You can choose to put garlic, onions, seasoning or anything you want inside the beer. This will add some more flavoring to the chicken as it sits on the smoker.

Sit the chicken directly on the beer stand. Fold the wings behind the chicken, and put some more seasoning on it, if you rubbed a lot of it off while working with the beer.

What Kind of Beer for Beer Can Chicken?

cut the top of the beer can
grab your favorite beer and cut the top off.

Most people use a lager, or a beer that is not too hoppy or bitter. I used a Corona Extra because that’s what we drink. I’ve put a list of different types of beers you can use for cooking beer can chicken, and whether it matters.

When it comes to choosing the right beer for your beer can chicken, there are no set rules, You can use fruity beers or sour beers.

Fruity and sour beers have more acidity and tend to do really well with grilled chicken.

Can I Use Soda Instead?

Yes, if you don’t like the taste of beer, you can substitute soda. Try using Coke, Sprite, or Ginger Ale to get a great tasting chicken. (source)

How Long To Cook A Beer Can Chicken On A Pellet Grill?

how to cook beer can chicken on a pellet grill
The length of cooking time will vary depending on the size, temperature, and other factors.

It really depends on how big the chicken is, and the temperature you cook it on.

We had a seven-pound chicken and it took about 2 hours to cook. You’ll want to keep checking the temperature every 30 minutes to ensure you don’t overcook it.

Checking The Meat

The easiest way to keep track of the meat temperature is to use a meat probe or wireless thermometer that allows you to check the temperature without having to lift the lid.

Lifting the lid will cause the temperature of the grill fall quickly. If you do have to lift the lid, make sure you take that into consideration.

I always use two different meat thermometers to check chicken before taking it off the grill.

Recommended Internal Temperature For Chicken

According to the USDA, it is recommended to cook chicken to an internal temperature that is hot enough to kill germs and bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

Here’s a table for the recommended internal cooking temperature for chicken.

Whole ChickenTemperature
Dark Meat175 degrees
White Meat150 degrees

You want to cook it long enough to where all the pink is gone. But over cooking it can cause it to be dry.

Resting Period

Once the chicken is done, allow it to sit for up to 10-15 minutes before removing the beer can.

You can wrap the entire chicken in a loosely fit tent to keep the moisture from escaping.

Removing The Can From The Cavity

After the resting period, it’s time to remove the beer can from the cavity, being careful not to spill any of the hot contents on you.

Use rubber gloves and slide the chicken off the chicken, with the assistance of someone else.

Transfer the chicken to the cutting board and carve it up and serve!

What To Serve With Beer Can Chicken?

We love chicken and you can serve it with vegetables such as zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, or whatever you like.

You can also top a salad with some chicken. Once you cook this beer can chicken, you will realize how easy it is to come up with all kinds of side dishes that work perfectly.

Here Are Some Other Great Meals You Can Make On Your Wood Pellet Grill

Cooking Beer Can Chicken On Wood Pellet Grill

how to cook beer can chicken on a pellet grill

Learn how to cook beer can chicken on a wood pellet smoker.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Additional Time 25 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes


  • 1 Whole Chicken
  • Seasoning of your choice
  • 12 ounce can of beer
  • Any cooking or spray oil (to coat the chicken)


  1. Check your pellet grill and ensure it has enough pellets.
  2. Pre heat to 300-350 degrees.
  3. Wash the chicken thoroughly and pat dry with a paper towel.
  4. Coat the chicken with the cooking oil or spray to help the seasoning stick.
  5. Rub the chicken and coat it with your preferred seasoning flavor.
  6. Open the can of beer and drink or pour out 1/2 of it. Cut four holes in the top or remove the top completely and add some seasoning inside the can.
  7. Place the cavity of the chicken directly on top of the beer can.
  8. Fold the wings back behind the chicken, so the ends don't get too burnt.
  9. Add more seasoning to the chicken now that it is properly secured to the can.
  10. Place the chicken directly on the bottom rack of the pellet grill and put the meat probe into the thickest part of the chicken.
  11. Close the lid and let the smoker do all the work for you.
  12. Keep an eye on the internal temperature of the chicken and just let it cook.

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