Memphis Style Beer Can Chicken

This Memphis Style Beer Can Chicken calls for a traditional Memphis rub to flavor this fantastic chicken. Memphis Barbecue is renowned for its dry rubs, and wow, it works really well on this chicken! Try cooking this beer can chicken recipe up in your pellet grill for added smoke flavor. Serve straight from the grill or shred for the perfect pulled chicken sandwich.

We’ve all heard the debate about beer can chicken. Some say the beer doesn’t flavor the bird. It doesn’t matter what the beer does; the can is there to prop up the chicken. The smoker (or grill) and the Memphis rub form the right building blocks of flavor, resulting in a mouthwatering chicken dinner. Plus, beer can chicken is fun to make!  Before cooking, assess if you have enough fuel to get through a 2 hour cook, and as always, I recommend having a reliable instant-read thermometer handy.

Two-zone fire on charcoal grill with drip pan

Two-Zone Cooking: 

  1. If you’re using a gas or charcoal grill, you’ll need to set up a two-zone fire. For charcoal, that means banking the hot coals on one side of the grill to produce direct (radiant) heat, while the side without coals forms the indirect (convection) cooking space. 
  2. If you are using a three-burner gas unit, keep the center burner off, and turn the burners on either side to their highest setting. The same principle applies to a two-burner unit. Leave one burner off, and turn the other burner on high.
  3. If using a pellet grill or electric smoker, aim for a cooking temperature between 325-350 degrees F.

Memphis Style Beer Can Chicken Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds
  • 1 can of beer, 12 ounces
  • 1/4 cup Memphis Rub
Memphis Style Beer Can Chicken

How to Make It:

  • Remove the giblets and the neck from the chicken.
  • Apply Memphis rub all over the chicken, including inside the cavity and under the breast skin. Place chicken onto a large pan and set into the refrigerator uncovered for 1 hour.

Grill Time:

  • Time to preheat your grill. Prepare a two-zone fire for indirect cooking. See instructions above. Set a drip pan next to the coals and place grates on top.
  • Remove pan with chicken from the refrigerator. 
  • Open a can of beer and pour out half of it out (preferably into a chilled glass for you to enjoy later)—Pierce two more holes on the top of the beer can.
  • Adjust chicken on top of the can, then carefully place the bird on the grill balanced by the beer can.
  • Grill over indirect heat for 1 1/2-2 hours or until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 175 degrees.
  • Once cooked, remove chicken from the grill, with beer can still intact, and let stand for an additional 10 minutes before carving.

Carving and Serving Memphis-Style Beer Can Chicken:

  • To carve, carefully remove the beer can and discard. Place chicken onto a clean cutting board, and carve as usual. 
  • Store leftover beer can chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Recommended Side Dishes:

Smoked Hasselback Potatoes

Pellet Grill Funeral Potatoes

Smoked Baked Potatoes

Memphis Style Beer Can Chicken

Memphis Style Beer Can Chicken

Memphis Barbecue is renowned for its dry rubs. This Memphis Style Beer Can Chicken takes their classic dry rub to flavor a fantastic chicken. Try cooking this recipe up in your pellet grill for added smoke flavor. Serve straight from the grill or shred for the perfect pulled chicken barbecue.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: beer can chicken, memphis barbecue
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 409kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken about 4 pounds
  • 1 12 ounce can of beer room temperature

For rub:

Instructions

  • Remove giblets and the neck from the chicken.
  • Apply Memphis rub all over the chicken, including inside the cavity, and under the breast skin. Place chicken onto a large pan and set into the refrigerator uncovered, for 1 hour.
  • Time to preheat your grill. Prepare a two-zone fire for indirect cooking.
  • Remove pan with chicken from the refrigerator.
    Open a can of beer and pour out half of it (preferably into a chilled glass for you to enjoy later). Pierce two more holes on the top of the beer can.
  • Adjust chicken on top of the can. Place the bird on the grill balanced by the beer can.
    Grill over indirect medium heat for 1 1/2-2 hours or until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 175 degrees.
  • Once cooked, remove chicken from the grill, with beer can still intact, and let stand for an additional 10 minutes before carving.
  • To carve, carefully remove the beer can and discard. Place chicken onto a clean cutting board, and carve as usual. Serve with your favorite side dishes.
  • Store leftover chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 4servings | Calories: 409kcal | Protein: 35g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 133mg | Potassium: 360mg | Vitamin A: 267IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 2mg
Memphis Style Beer Can Chicken

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