Traeger Beer Can Chicken is the juiciest chicken you will EVER eat!!! Use my seasoning recipe or grab your favorite poultry rub – no matter the choice – you will love it!Jump to Recipe
Why is the Traeger Beer Can Chicken so much better? Those smoky little pellets of deliciousness!!! I chose to smoke the chicken – which does take a few hours – but you can also use your Traeger as a grill and get it made in about an hour.
Ingredients for Beer Can Chicken
For Beer Can Chicken – the beer is only part of the magic – you need a great spice rub on the bird too! I have a favorite I use – here’s what you need:
What kind of beer is best for Beer Can Chicken
It doesn’t really matter what kind of beer – use what you like to drink! You’re going to get some aroma and mild flavor from the beer. I also like to take a few drinks as I’m getting it ready! Might as well. If you’re not a beer drinker – I would suggest any light beer – you can just stop and get a can at the gas station.
How do you get your chicken ready for Beer Can Chicken?
- Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels (be sure you take out the giblets packet!)
- In a small bowl mix together all dry seasonings and rub chicken all over and heavily coat with mixture
- Open can of beer and pour about 1/3 can of the beer into your throat – just to make sure it’s still good
- Take your beer, chicken and a pan out to the grill
- I use a pan just so it’s easier to take off the grill. I used one of those grill skillets for vegetables so there was still smoke coming through the pan. You can also use a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan – or any grill safe pan larger than the bird.
- Place pan on grill. Tilt the chicken in your left hand and shove that open beer can up the wazoo (or inside the cavity) of the chicken. Stand the chicken upright on the pan in the grill. It may tip so be sure to shut the lid and reopen – make sure your bird is still standing
How do you make Beer Can Chicken on the Traeger?
You’ll need to decide if you want to smoke your chicken or grill your chicken! You can do EITHER on the Traeger – it’s just a difference in the temperature.
Smoking the Chicken
If you’re going to smoke your chicken – it needs 4 hours on the grill. This obviously has great bearing on when you start the bird! You’ll smoke it at 225 for 3.5 hours and then bump the temp up to 350 for the last 20-30 minutes.
- Pellets – I keep it simple and always use the Traeger Signature Blend which is a blend of Maple and Cherry. That said if you’re looking for something specific for chicken – the best are Pecan, Apple and Cherry.
- Smoke Tubes – If you want extra smoky flavor in your chicken – you can use smoke tubes! It’s a metal tube with holes – fill that tube with Traeger pellets and then light it with a butane lighter. Once the pellets catch fire – let them get started a bit – then blow the flames out. Set the tubes in the grill with your chicken and shut the lid. The smoke flavor is all those tubes will leave behind! You can also use these if you’re just grilling the chicken – more smoke!
Grilling the Chicken
Grilling your beer can chicken takes just over an hour. You’ll start up your Traeger (or regular charcoal or gas grill) and go right to 350 degrees. It takes about 65-70 minutes to come to temp at 165 degrees.
Seasoning your Chicken
No matter which way you cook the bird, the seasoning method is the same. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry. Mix together your seasonings – if you’re doing your own rub – and cover the bird. Get in all the crevices!!! I made my own seasoning mix – but you can also use a pre-made chicken seasoning if you like.
How can you tell when Beer Can Chicken is done
An instant-read thermometer is your best friend when it comes to grilling and smoking. I just got a Meater – which has a fancy app so you can sit on your couch and check the temp. But I’ve always used a thermometer to check. Chicken should be taken off when the internal temperature reaches between 155-160 degrees as it will continue to come up to temp as it rests. Be sure to check the temp in the thickest part of the breast and check the thigh.
Beer Can Chicken FAQs
Turning up the heat on your grill for the last 30 minutes will help crisp up your chicken skin.
Yes – definitely! Plan on about 20 minutes per pound at 350 degrees.
You can use soda, broth or stock or even wine!
Nope! I did not. I just shoved a tall-boy Budweiser up the rear of that bird and stood it up!
Yes – definitely! Not as much as smoking it for 4 hours – but it still gets in there. Use the smoke tubes for more smoke!
Nope! If you want to – you can – but I don’t think it’s necessary. Brining is 1 gallon water, 1/3 cup salt – put the bird in – refrigerate overnight.
My absolute favorite packaged seasoning is Historic BBQ. They’re local and a championship winning BBQ team. Drool worthy for sure!
Remove all the meat from the chicken and place in an airtight container or a zip-top plastic bag.
What to do with Chicken Leftovers
You can use the leftover chicken like any rotisserie chicken – here are some of my favorite recipes:
- Copycat Roly Poly Chicken Popper Wrap
- Chicken Casserole with Ritz Crackers
- Budweiser Buffalo Chicken Salad
Other Delicious Recipes for the Traeger
Traeger Beer Can Chicken
- When ready to cook, set Traeger to smoke. Once grill starts to smoke, then smoke dissipates and starts to fire – change setting to 225 degrees.
- Close lid and preheat to 225.
- Rinse chicken and pat dry
- Mix together all dry seasonings and rub all over chicken
- Open can of beer and drink about 1/3 can – just to make sure it's still good
- Take your beer, chicken and a pan out to the grill (It can be a rimmed baking sheet – or any grill safe pan larger than the bird that you can pick up – I used one of those grill skillets for vegetables)
- Place pan on grill. Tilt the chicken in your left hand and shove that open beer can up the wazoo of the chicken. Stand the bird/beer up on the pan in the grill. It may tip so be sure to shut the lid and reopen – make sure your bird is still standing.
- Smoke at 225 for 3.5 hours
- Turn temp up to 350 and continue for 30 minutes until thermometer reads 160
- Let rest for 15 minutes before carving
- If you'd like to make this more quickly with less "smoking" – grill at 350 for 65-70 minutes. If you're using a Traeger – you'll still get some smoky flavor.