Beer can chicken... Where did I go wrong?

Discussion in 'Grilling Chicken' started by bglass0105, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. Short-time reader, first time poster here...

    While I've done several briskest, I decided to try some basic beer can chickens on my MES today. Let me explain what happened and maybe you guys can help me do better next time.

    Last night the wife and I applied some basic rub on two whole chickens. Wrapped them in plastic wrap and put them in the frig overnight. This morning I preheated the smoker to 275. I got the chicks out of the frig, drained a couple of 16 oz Miller Lites halfway, and impaled my girls with the two cans. I put the ladies in the smoker carefully, closed the door and added some mesquite chips. From what I had seen I expected these to take around 5 hours. We then left the house for a friend's birthday lunch.

    When we got home I checked the meat probe and it said 198 (I put the probe in the breast). I thought maybe I had hit the bone or put the probe too far in and punctured the cavity for it to read that high after only 3 hours. I chilled for about 30 minutes and finally decided to check them.

    When I started to open the door, one of the chickens looked like it had fallen over so I had to kind of catch it and carefully opened the door. Turns out it didn't fall, but rather the chicken had simply fallen apart and slid down and kind of off the can. Her girlfriend had done the same and dumped the cans not the water pan, too. I got one of my other meat probes and sure enough it was at around 200.

    I really had a bugger of a time getting all the pieces out of the smoker without loosing pieces down the grate or onto the ground. Everything was just falling to pieces. I wrapped in foil and let them sit for about 30 minutes before pulling them all apart and putting the meat into a container for late eats. Sampled plenty along the way and it all tasted great, maybe just a tiny bit dry.

    I was really hoping for a nice presentation whole smoked chicken. While meat turned out great tasting, is there something I should have done differently to keep them from falling to pieces? Is about 3-3.5 hours right for a couple of garden variety grocery store whole chickens at 275 degrees?

    Looking forward to hearing great words of wisdom!
  2. It is going to depend on size as to how long it takes, So forget about time. Cook to an IT of 165° in breast, 170° in thigh. Pretty much the same rule of IT with everything. Time is to just get you in the ball park so you can plan for guest.

    Happy smoken.

  3. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    :yeahthat: 3- 3 1/2 hrs is about right for me....
  4. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Holy lord.
    5 hours.
    I will do beer can chix about 90 minutes to 2 hours at 275
  5. Thanks for the feedback. Next time I'll be sure and be home keeping an eye on it so I get it off before it gets so cooked. That should help keep it together a little better. With a breast temp of 200 I'm lucky in wasn't dry as sawdust!
  6. I might have taken some of that chicken and made soup!  I love soup from chicken like that.

    I am so happy to all who post here, I learn so much!

    I can't wait to try beer can chicken.  I bought two birds just for that reason and they are waiting in the freezer.

  7. I'm with you. I've learned so much from everyone here. I'm waiting for a heat deflector to arrive so I can use my Kamado grill for beer can chix!
  8. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I am laughing WITH you.

    I bet its a simple answer to your problem, what did you do with the beer you took out the can?  Seriously you want us to believe you poured it out right? Arlington, Tx. and you poured it out? Surrrrrrrre you did. Me, I'd blame it on bad beer and dispose of it immediately! LOL

    Cooking that chicken with your brisket timer.

    Just messing with ya, Either turn your heater down if you need 5 hour chicken, or be ready to eat sooner. But I am guessing you've already figured that out.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013
  9. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm not a fan of beer can chicken, so I won't try to comment on your methods. But I'll agree with Squib in that the time was WAY too long. I'll get to temp in a little over an hour with a spatched bird at 300˚-325˚, so 90 mins at 275 sounds about right. I believe a beer can will speed the cooking somewhat via internal steaming, so the timing for both methods should be similar.

    I just like to drink the beer while the chicken cooks. That way I'm internally basting myself and fully ready to accept the chicken when it's done.
  10. yotzee

    yotzee Smoking Fanatic

    You have the beer to thank for that.  If this had been a regular smoke, they would have been cremated.

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