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Beer Can Chicken Not Cooked!!!

LFGEnergyLFGEnergy Posts: 618
edited 9:46AM in EggHead Forum
First, let me say that I am perplexed by poultry, and why I cant get better results. Everything else is coming in nicely. Chicken, not so nice :(

Made my first BCC last night (practicing poultry for turkey on Sunday). Cooked at 275 (grill temp, using my remote gauge) to internal at 160 (in breast). Cooked about hour fifteen, let rest about 20 minutes. Indirect, plate setter legs up with grate. BCC holder sitting on cookie sheet.

Breast was nicely cooked and moist, but lower half of chicken (legs, thighs) were still running red and undercooked. Now I am concerned about doing same with Turkey.

Any thoughts? Also, input on how to support turkey during cook would be appreciated (stand or laying horizontal).

Red Meat Rules!

Dave in Keller, TX


  • maXimmaXim Posts: 468
    Dave why so low? (275 Grill temp), I usually cook my chicken around 350 and as high as 400 (dome temp). Always comes out moist and juicy and...fully cooked!

  • i was gonna say the same thing. ..i do beer butt birds at roasting temps..350 - 375 and they take an hour+ 275 is smoking temp .. .i would think that would have been a 2+ hour smoke....

    as for a turkey.. .use a fosters can. .. .

    or go to .. . fred has a bunch of great turkey stands for sale. him and i'll bet he can have one shipped to you in time for thursday .. .
  • Chicken (or any poultry) needs to be cooked to 180 internal temp in the thigh. You can ice the breast down prior to cooking although the higher meat temp will have little effect on the quality of the breast. Second, poultry can take on an unpleasent, over smoked, flavor so easy on the wood chips if any. Finally, make sure you let your egg burn clean prior to putting in the meat. Smell the exhaust from the egg and make sure it smells yummy.
  • Thanks Tim. I was going for more of a smoked flavor, which was actually pretty good (cherry). But it looks like the consensus is higher temp, higher internals.


  • Thanks MaXim and Mad Max.

    Going to try again today at a 350 temp before I do the turkey. What internal are you targeting?
  • red in the joints isn't an indication of underdone-ness (not sure that's a word, but what the heck....)

    you need to check with a reliable thermometer

    chickens today are so young when killed that their bones haven't formed enough to retain the marrow when they cook. the color leaches thru the soft bone and cartilage
  • maXimmaXim Posts: 468
    Well you can aim for 160 breast, but you also have to get to 180 thigh...Tricky...Best of luck!
  • At the correct temperatures, 375º, you can still get the smoke flavor. Make sure your other guests like the same amount of smoke you do!

    Poultry absorbs more smoke than any other meat you will cook. For many the small amount of flavor from just the lump will make the difference.
  • Rib FanRib Fan Posts: 305
    I low and slow my bird all the time. I bring the breast to 174 (never 175 lol) and the bird comes out great!!
    Only other thing I was thinking about your post is that if you are using previously frozen birds ensure they are fully thawed before the cook.

  • Cpt'n CookCpt'n Cook Posts: 1,917
    Good point!
  • Just checked with wife - she liked smoke level (Cherry) from last night, but raw thing was not acceptable. At 175F breast internal how long are you cooking and at what temp? Still want to figure out the Low and Slow for heavier smoke flavor....May split chicken tonight and try that way.

    Thanks for input!

  • my wife is a little phobic about undercooked poultry so I usually cook my BCC until the leg and thigh will wiggle easily and almost fall off. Meat is still juicy.
  • Rib FanRib Fan Posts: 305

    I dont really time the bird...I go by internal temp. But say 275 a 4 pound bird will take approx. 2 3/4 hours or so. I also go the spatchcock route on the egg. Beer can is not required but looks good for presentation.

    I did this one low and slow. I like cherry with the chicken and imparts a nice colour as well.


  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    First off your pit temp could have been higher, and like the others mentioned use a thermometer to confirm that the leg and thigh joints are up to temp. Any juices should be clear, and if you need to confirm that, just blot some with a paper towel (you can see traces of blood easier this way, if no blood is present the towel just appears wet like it would with water)

    On the other side of the coin.....You're not alone in griping about doneness of beer can chicken. Oftentimes folks have the same complaint as you did, more often it's the fact that the breast is overcooked. Truth is this beer can cook sounds neat, and looks neat, but it's a fad. It's much better to cook a vertical bird on one of the wire stands meant to hold a beer can, only without the can.

    The way I see it....If you use more than 1/2 can of beer and start off with cold beer, it is going to take forever for it to heat up. Even if you preheat the beer (or other liquid) it is going to take a real high pit temp to get that liquid to produce steam, especially when it's insulated with a cold chicken.


    The best tip is to following the advice of our own Mad Max and food scientist Harold McGee...... Chilling the breast of the bird with ice gives the dark meat a head start cooking. I like to partially freeze lemon ends and insert them under the skin as well. Not only do you get a neat looking bird, the lemons do keep the breast cool, and they give it a nice lemony flavor. You can also fill them with garlic butter and freeze, then they self baste the breast as they thaw.
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    Nice touch thirdeye! :laugh: get it nice touch! :laugh:
  • RipnemRipnem Posts: 5,511

    That one should be in a BGE brochure. ;)

    I was just given a large amount of Black Cherry and need to get some of it dry enough to use.
  • Rib FanRib Fan Posts: 305
    Adam thanks....yes I have unlimited supply of aged black favourite.


  • Thanks Wayne,

    Picture looks awesome! Heading over to local store for some new rub and a chicken.

    Picture looks like you are going direct? Is plate setter in there?

    Also heading to Lowes to get bolts to lift my grate up off the fire ring....

    Thanks for input!

    Dave in Keller
  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,769
    I don't cook beer can chickens, but it appears you are cooking to time.

    Never ever cook to time. Time will bite you in the a.s.s Always cook to temp. Use time as a guideline, but temp as the absolute. Breast meat to 165, dark meat to 170-175.

    Use the ice on the breast trick Max uses on turkey to ensure the dark meat and white meat reach temp at the same time
  • WilbyWilby Posts: 155
    I agree with Thirdeye. I find using the beer is really just a fad and not needed. Use the stand and forget the beer. The egg will still work it's magic. I like the lemons under the skin. I'm thinking this is a good New Years day idea. Hair of the dog and a good chicken.
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