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Photo: Justin Walker; Food Styling: Simon Andrews; Prop Styling: Kaitlyn du Ross

Mesquite-Smoked Beer Can Chicken

If using a charcoal grill, heap lit coals to the right side of the grill and add chips directly to the coals. Place chicken on left side of grill rack. Add additional charcoal to the fire as needed during grilling.

Cooking Light AUGUST 2014

  • Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 5 ounces chicken)
  • Hands-on: 45 Minutes
  • Total: 2 Hours, 30 Minutes


  • 2 cups mesquite wood chips
  • 1 (4-pound) whole chicken
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (12-ounce) can beer


1. Soak wood chips in water for 30 minutes; drain well.

2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat using both burners. After preheating, turn the left burner off (leave the right burner on). Pierce the bottom of an aluminum foil pan liberally with the tip of a knife. Place pan on heat element on heated side of grill; add wood chips to pan.

3. Remove giblets and neck from chicken, and discard. Starting at the neck cavity, loosen skin from breasts and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat.

4. Combine oil and next 5 ingredients (through black pepper) in a bowl. Rub spice mixture under loosened skin and over drumsticks and breasts; let stand 20 minutes.

5. Discard 6 ounces beer from can. Holding chicken upright with the body cavity facing down, insert beer can into cavity. Place chicken, upright, on grill rack covering left burner, spreading legs out to form a tripod. Cover and grill 1 1/2 hours or until a thermometer inserted in thigh registers 165°. Place chicken and can on cutting board; let stand 10 minutes. Discard can and skin.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 375
  • Fat: 16.6g
  • Saturated fat: 4.1g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 7.1g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 3.4g
  • Protein: 51g
  • Carbohydrate: 3g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 155mg
  • Iron: 3mg
  • Sodium: 533mg
  • Calcium: 37mg

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Mesquite-Smoked Beer Can Chicken Recipe