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Beer Can Chicken(s) - 2 big ones in my XL. ( I think I need another Egg )

This was my very first time making beer can chicken!  I really like the physics in this cook. The family loved eating them.
My XL Egg has lots of space - more than I really need. It's fantastic for large cooks and making pizza, it uses to much coal when you cook a smaller amount of food. So, I am thinking about getting a more economical mini version for those times when it's just a few people. There appear to be 2 small ones...Anyone have a preference/experience? 

On to the Beer Can chicken. Note: This is a slow cook, so make sure you have plenty of coal in the Egg. A note: I have tried many brands of lump. Home Depot's and those sold at OSH and others. I found the best slow cook is the Egg brand - It lasts longer. I found BBQ Galore lump runs second place, not as long and about 1/2 the price. Anyone experienced another brand they with big lumps and lasts long?

You need the Plate Setter for the indirect heat.
Get some wood chips wet. You'll drop it in the sides of the plate setter during the cook. Let them soak for 2-3 hours.
I used 2 good size birds over 6 lbs each (not tiny). I only buy free range. 

2 Beer Can chicken holders (mine were the cheap wire version). 
2 Aluminum Pans (Costco sells a bunch of these for $5. Oh, it's so handy to have these.)
2 Chickens (for my cook)
2 Beers - drink half of each while you fire up the Egg and let the coals get to going 300-400 - this is step 0. 
1 Big potato
1 Big onion (or some small ones)
1/2 a handful of Dried Cayenne Peppers
A rub that you like, I still have plenty of John Henry Pecan and Snyders from the ribs. The Pecan has a nice spice kick that goes well with chicken. No sauces used in this cook. But, you may get sauced, if you drink the rest of the six pack.

1. Let the birds sit naked and reach room temperature in an aluminum pan.

2. Rinse the birds inside and out. Don't pat them dry, just shake the water off.

3. Put the rub all over the birds. Put some on your fingers and get it under the skin try not to separate the skin from the meat. Don't forget to get a little inside the bird butt and neck. Let the bird sit a bit so that the rub gets wet and clings.

4. Get the beer can chicken holder. Put the 1/2 full beer can in the holder. 

5. Next add some things to the beer to go beyond a simple beer flavor.
    A. Put some rub in the beer.
    B. Drop in some cayenne dried peppers in the can.
    C. Cut onion and slide it into the can. Put in enough to almost fill the can without lossing any beer.

6. Mount the butt of the chicken on the beer can holder. Sitting in the pan such that only the chicken leg bone touches the pan bottom. Don't let the meat touch the bottom.

7. Cut the rest of the onion up and place some around in the pan along with any Cayenne peppers you had left over. You can dump the gizzards and other parts the bottom of the pan too.

8. Now, use more rub on the chicken to cover it well - sliding some in between the skin if you can.

9. Look at the chicken neck opening, cut a good size potato such that you can whittle a potato chunk to stuff in the opening as best you can to prevent any moisture from escaping. This potato cork will maintain the moisture inside the chicken during the entire cook. (You never remove it until serving time.)

10. Place the tray right on the plate setter. So that they look like this - photo 1.

I use a cheap $50 Bluetooth thermometer - dual probe. Place it in the thick thigh meat of the chicken.
Careful NOT to hit the bone. The other, I lower through the top Egg vent. The probe hangs there all the way in and as high as possible.

11. Put in the temp probe as stated above...Put it in well as you do not want to be poking your chicken with extra holes throughout the cook. Extra holes let the juices run out. Avoid that! 

12. Next, add water to the Aluminum pan. At least an inch. Then drop some wet wood chips in the side of the plate setter (all 3 sides of it).

13. Close it up and adjust your venting for a slow cook about 225 degrees. From earlier testing, my XL dome thermometer states 280-300 when my digital meter resting horizontally on the grill top (not used in this cook) my digital meter reads 225-255 with the plate setter under the grill top.

14. Wait. Resist the urge to open it for at least an hour. As long as the temp is good the birds are fine. If you are making 2 birds note that one side of plate setter might get hotter than the other. The XL is large. After each hour you can slide the chickens around if you need too.

15. It will take 3 hours for the thigh thermometer to reach 165 degrees. I think this was 4 to 5. If you reached 165 before 4 hours heat was too high. Meat might not fall off the bone easily. Once you reach 160-165. You can open the top and check the birds. Your water should be long gone by now. If not drain it out with a turkey baster. If one of the skins or pan bottom items looks more done than the other slide them to change places. Now, that you have the top open the coals are burning hotter. That's a god thing. No need to rush now. But, we can't leave, we have to watch temps on high for the last bit of cooking. Maybe toss in some potatoes on the plate setter with an X cut bottom wrapped in aluminum foil with the top open. Seen in the background of this photo.

16. Close the Egg and open the top and bottom vents so that the Egg runs hot at 400-450 degrees. In this step, we want the skin to become somewhat crusty. Meat will still be very moist. As we used plenty of liquid inside and out for a long slow cook. This is a fast high temp ending is for a much shorter period of time 20-30 minutes or so. The potato is still in place helping to prevent and slow internal evaporation. Now you can check often you want the temp high for the heat to hit the skin. If the thigh temp hits 200, you are finished. No need to risk drying out the moist meat. But you should find that the thigh temp hit 190 and parts of the chicken skin became somewhat crispy.

17. Let them rest inside for 15-20 minutes. If it will be longer before serving cover with aluminum foil - sealed to prevent moisture from leaving.

These were so moist that when I went to take them off the Beer can stand off one of the legs fell apart.  You know it's perfect when the chicken begins to fall apart as you prepare it for serving. Maybe the free range type helps with that - I don't know.

That's my version of beer can chicken. Long and slow then fast and high temp.
Bob Evans


  • td66snrftd66snrf Posts: 1,367
    Wow that was quite a post. I would suggest one question / statement at a time. It started with multiple eggs. I agree. 
    XLBGE, LBGE, MBGE, SMALL, MINI, 2 Kubs, Fire Magic Gasser
  • HubHub Posts: 658
    Drink the beers.  Don't put them on your Egg.  Spatchcocked chicken or rotisserie chicken is WAY better than the beer can stuff.
    Beautiful and lovely Villa Rica, Georgia
  • g8golferg8golfer Posts: 845
    Are you any relation to the real Bob Evans? 
  • bob_evansbob_evans Posts: 5
    Hub, it was light beer someone brought me...I had to do something else with that as light beer is not drinkable right ?

    g8golfer, No relation to the bob evans that does farms or restaurants or the movie producer. Bob Evans is actually a common name. In fact , there is a town in Wales where Evans is the most common last name. Almost like Smith in the US.

    td66snrf, I am a Chief Techincal Officer, I have a tendency to get overly detailed. This way employees that screw up can't claim I didn't inform them.

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