Beer Can Vs. 1\2 chickens?

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Meat Mopper
Original poster
OTBS Member
Feb 9, 2006
Meadville, MO
Jene and I are planning to do several chickens this weekend, probally 8 or so. I was planning to do them all beer-can style, but we were discussing this the other night, and I got to wondering if maybe cutting them in half and then smoking them would be better for this many chickens? We have done several beer-can style with awesome results. If anyone has an opinion, it would be greatly appreciated!!!!
Even though NSF has approved 165* as safe for all poultry now, I would still seperate the breast quarters from the leg quarters.
There's nothing worse than having to overcook white meat to get the thigh joint done.

If you leave them whole, try letting them set out 45-60 mins before cooking with a small ziploc of ice on the breast only. This will allow the dark meat a head start and the light and dark areas will get done closer to the same time. Not sure how practical this is for 8 birds but worth mentioning anyway.
With that many birds to cook, I would lean towards the ones that are cut in half. I can not beat the flavor/taste of the whole chicken, but the cut birds are easier to cook/deal with.
Try spatchcocking them-Use sharp kitchen shears and remove the backbone, then lay the bird open and press down-flip the bird skin side up and press down along the breast bone to get the bird to lay flat.

At this point you can season and smoke or you can seperate the breasts from the thighs by cutting along the edge of the breast and smoke the breast and thighs to the temps that you like.

Check HERE to see a pictorial of how to spatchcock a bird.

Thanks for the great advice guys. I think I'll go with the spatchcoking. This sounds like the best way to go with all the cooking we have to do this weekend. We're catering our friends parents wedding anniversery and we've got our hands full with 8 chickens and 4 big pork loins. I plan on brining the birds since we're not doing them beer can style. Do you think a big ice chest filled with ice and brine will work? We definatly don't have the room in the fridge to do it there.

We'll let you know how the big cooking weekend goes, thanks again for all the help and advice.
Jene, that's what I do. Just remember to keep your temps below 39 degrees and plan on adding ice when the temp. begins to rise.
I have a wine cork that has a hole drilled in it that is slightly smaller than my dial probe. I insert my probe into the cork and toss the whole thing into the cooler. It floats on top and with the dial face up I don't have to remove it to read it. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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