Smoked Chicken (aka beer in the rear chicken)

ChuckO

TVWBB Olympian
Hi Donna

Nice to have Bay Area kalifornia representation :)

On my old BBQ, I used to make fantastic beer-can chicken. It was cooked indirect, as I could simply not light either the left or right bank, and place the chicken on the unlit bank. It would take about 2 hours and I would get a thourghly cooked chicken, moist and the skin would be crispy

That BBQ gave up the ghost, and until I can afford a Genesis, I'm not going to buy any gassers.

I have available to me:

WSM 18.5"
Kettle 22"
Smokey Joe Mini (home-made)
I also have a Baby Q and a Big Q

With the above choices, which would you use and how would you do it, so that you get a fully cooked (whole) chicken that's tender and moist and the skin is crispy

I know it's weak, but I figured you'd help out a fellow Bay Area'er :wsm:
 

Donna Fong

TVWBB Fan
Hi Chuck,
Left Coast in the house! I love beer can chicken and just finished giving my friend some advice on how to cook beer can chicken on my 14.5 inch WSM (which I absolutely love BTW). It took him a little over 2 hours. So to answer your question, I would use the Joe Mini without any hesitation. My mini is SO consistent. I'd cook it at 275 or maybe 300 with some PBR beer and use Harry's rub and Tang. I'd oil it down a little maybe and remember to spray. I might not use any wood as I feel the chicken tends to get too smokey really fast. I'd cook to 165. I'm sorry. I don't know what a Baby Q or Big Q are. Can you post a pic of it?
Donna
 

ChuckO

TVWBB Olympian
Thanks Donna

The "Q's" are the two BBQ's to the right. I call them "clam shells" I love the baby one, I'm disapointed with the big one


I too go very light on smoke, especially with Chicken. I used to make Beer Can Chicken that people would pay for, now....I couldn't sell it as dog food

I get from your reply:

Increase heat to 275/300 (I was maybe 250)
Oil it down / spray (I've not done this)

We do have some nice home made rubs, and I might try the Tang as you suggest
Thanks for your response, great to have a Q&A with you

Chuck
 

Frank H

TVWBB Gold Member
I do beer can chicken all the time on my WSM 18 ....no water pan. Chicken on the top grate . Light up a full chim of briqs and let er rip. I don't use any wood. Plenty of smoke just from the kingsford. A 4 pounder is usually done in just under two hours....but of course I check the IT with my super fast (red) thermapen.

My normal procedure is just to use the beer can stand without the can and I sprinkle the bird with whatever rub I've got. I am liking weber kickin chicken a lot these days. I think it comes out great. Nice hot fire = edible skin. I want to say I'm cooking at 350 or so , but the needle is pegged so I can't swear to it.
 

Donna Fong

TVWBB Fan
Chuck,
Lovely mini. Sorry about the game last night. Hey, so what do you think happened to your process that you can't make good beer can chicken any more? Which one of these do you cook on? and how do you do it?
Donna
 

Donna Fong

TVWBB Fan
I do beer can chicken all the time on my WSM 18 ....no water pan. Chicken on the top grate . Light up a full chim of briqs and let er rip. I don't use any wood. Plenty of smoke just from the kingsford. A 4 pounder is usually done in just under two hours....but of course I check the IT with my super fast (red) thermapen.

My normal procedure is just to use the beer can stand without the can and I sprinkle the bird with whatever rub I've got. I am liking weber kickin chicken a lot these days. I think it comes out great. Nice hot fire = edible skin. I want to say I'm cooking at 350 or so , but the needle is pegged so I can't swear to it.
I agree with you Frank. no water. 300 would be a fine temp and the skin would be good to eat. I honestly hate the floppy bite through skin but that is a pitmaster's preference. Crispy skin is wonderful. I wish that would change in comps one day.
 

ChuckO

TVWBB Olympian
Chuck,
Lovely mini. Sorry about the game last night. Hey, so what do you think happened to your process that you can't make good beer can chicken any more? Which one of these do you cook on? and how do you do it?
Donna
Heck, it's sorry about every game every night lately, LOL

I used to cook on an old gasser (non-Weber) that I could do indirect cooks on. It was a cheapy, and it finally rotted inside out. I'm guessing that it probably cooked hotter than I thought, because I thought it was cooking around 225, and that's what I tried to do when I went to my smokers. But it sounds like it must have cooked close to 300 or thereabouts. They would come off in about 2.5 hours, crispy, tender & juicy. So far, the best I've been able to do on my smokers, is juicy & tender on the inside, but the outside is like wet rubber. (yuck) I long since quit putting water in my defusers (thinking that was the problem) but the beer can chickens still came out with rubber skin. Probably the saddest part was the wings and drumsticks. People fought over them, now nobody wants them.

I'm thinking increasing my temp might be the ticket, but I'm also going to try oiling them as you suggest. We bought that sprayer from Costco that you fill with olive oil, pump a few times and then spray

Thanks again, I'll try to get a cook in before you check out to see if the problem is solved :)
 

Donna Fong

TVWBB Fan
I see. Cool. Yes, adding oil or butter increases the temperature of the skin since it conducts heat better than air. I think that is why so many cooks use butter to render out the fat as it cooks. I hope your chicken returns soon but I hope the Giants get it together sooner than that! Even though I'm an A's fan, I don't like seeing the Giants struggle on that level. Giants are better than that.

Good luck Chuck!
 

ChuckO

TVWBB Olympian
I actually found a couple recent photos (I'm surprised I even took any) of some failed cooks in the smokers. When you look at them, you'd expect crispy, but the outside was awful. Inside....Wonderful! I really want to get back to making them good in and out, I'm hoping the increase temp and oil/buttering them gets me there



 

Donna Fong

TVWBB Fan
Whoa, that's really dark. Are you sure you aren't over-smoking? Are you using wood? I'm genuinely surprised it'd look like that smoking at 250. And that's on your 18"? What rub are you using?
 

ChuckO

TVWBB Olympian
That particular one was a bit goofy. My son took the defuser out and put it in the big smoker, so it got hit with direct heat. By the time I discovered the missing defuser, I figured "that should make them crispy" LOL

Ironically, they were tasty on the inside, but the skin was rubber, the wings and drumsticks....YUCK! I normally have more photos, but it's been discouraging and if I took them, I didn't keep them. It's probably been a year since I made a beer can chicken that I liked
 

Frank H

TVWBB Gold Member
Ironically, they were tasty on the inside, but the skin was rubber, the wings and drumsticks....YUCK! I normally have more photos, but it's been discouraging and if I took them, I didn't keep them. It's probably been a year since I made a beer can chicken that I liked
chuck , you have the tools you need to make good chicken again....forget the low and slow. Chicken likes to be cooked hot and fast. Put a load of charcoal in your WSM....take out the water pan....put the chicken on the top grate....game over.
Look at some of jim lampe's chicken cooks on the WSM....(that's where I learned it).....you do not need to suffer any longer. Go for it.
 

Linda

TVWBB Fan
Hi Donna!
Earlier in this thread you mentioned using Tang on your beer butt chicken. How does that work? Do you add it to the rub or is a separate application? I never would have thought of using Tang on my own, but I'd sure like to try it!

Thanks for taking time out of your busy life to answer our questions. I really appreciate that and I'm sure I'm not alone here! linda
 

Donna Fong

TVWBB Fan
Hi Linda,
Ah the Tang thing. So Tang is mostly sugar and citric acid. I wouldn't recommend it if you are diabetic or are on a low sugar diet. It is also meant to give the meat a nicer color. So use it if you don't mind your chicken tasting sweet and sour. You can add some to the rub as you prefer and sprinkle on top and let sit for an hour before beer canning it. You can also use Lemontime to give it more of a lemon chicken flavor. You know what I mean? Hope this helps.
Donna
 

Donna Fong

TVWBB Fan
I should also note that the table sugar burn temp is around 350 degrees. So if you start using a lot of sugar, be aware that you don't go too much beyond 350 or else it will start to burn.
 

Linda

TVWBB Fan
Thank you Donna!
You've given me what I wanted to know. I'm for sure going to try a chicken with Tang very soon. The Tang Mango sounds like a plan.
Thanks again for your time and advice! linda
 

Enrico Brandizzi

TVWBB Honor Circle
Hi Chuck,
Left Coast in the house! I love beer can chicken and just finished giving my friend some advice on how to cook beer can chicken on my 14.5 inch WSM (which I absolutely love BTW). It took him a little over 2 hours. So to answer your question, I would use the Joe Mini without any hesitation. My mini is SO consistent. I'd cook it at 275 or maybe 300 with some PBR beer and use Harry's rub and Tang. I'd oil it down a little maybe and remember to spray. I might not use any wood as I feel the chicken tends to get too smokey really fast. I'd cook to 165. I'm sorry. I don't know what a Baby Q or Big Q are. Can you post a pic of it?
Donna
When you say "remember to spray" do you mean to spray oil?
 

Donna Fong

TVWBB Fan
Enrico,
You know I shouldn't have said that. Just oil it down and no spraying. My brain was slipping into brisket, where I spray with water often. There's no need in chicken. My apologies!! Thank you for catching that.

Donna
 

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