Smoked Hard Cider Beer Can Chicken

Give your grill a rest, and get your smoker back in action with this easy Smoked Hard Cider Beer Can Chicken. It’s the best chicken we’ve ever had, with every bite infused with sweet, smoky goodness. It’s a darn good dinner, but also perfect for a crowd at barbecues & game days.

Smoked Hard Cider Beer Can Chicken

It may be Fall (technically), but it sure doesn’t feet like it here in central VA. One day, hopefully, the cooler temps will roll in.

<Insert fervent prayer here>

Until then, we’re not really letting this miserable weather slow our roll.

Smoked Hard Cider Beer Can Chicken

I’d love to say that our grill game’s still going strong, but then I’d be lying to you. Full disclosure: I hate the heat. Strongly. Only if I’m sitting by a big old body of cold water is it acceptable in my eyes. And here in Virginia, we don’t have a normal heat. It’s not just hot, dry air. Even that’s not too bad if you can find a patch of shade.

We have hotter than hell, but also miserably muggy heat. Where you can’t even stand the feel of your own skin because everything is sticky. And sweaty. Your clothes stick to you. Your thighs stick to things. It’s not a fun experience. Even better? Fall doesn’t start here until late October, if we’re lucky. Some years it’s even miserably hot on Halloween.

You get used to it, and you get used to it being a wholly Virginian thing that you can’t really explain to others or get them to understand. It has to be experienced to be believed.

Smoked Hard Cider Beer Can Chicken

All that to say, it’s too hot out for me to even attempt standing over an even hotter grill. I’m not cool with sweating over my food. Thankfully, the Hubs is happy to man the grill- especially since we upgraded when we moved this Spring. 

He has some serious skills too. We had a cookout last weekend, and everyone was asking what magical seasoning blend or marinade he used on his beef. His burgers are really that good. The look on their faces was priceless when I told them nothing. He bought them at Costco and slapped them straight on the grill, fresh from the freezer.

I know it’s hotter than Hades furnace outside, when even he won’t fire up the grill. Not that I blame him a bit, but his burgers really are that good.

Smoked Hard Cider Beer Can Chicken

Luckily enough for us, that’s why and when our smoker comes in to save the day. I liken it to the outdoor equivalent of the slow cooker in the kitchen. 

We get everything prepped and ready ahead of time, pop it in when we’re ready, and when the timer goes off hours later. Dinner’s done. Yes, dinner. While we love our smoked meats, I like to make it so that my sides cook right along with them. Less work for me, and a hearty smoke-infused supper everyone looks forward to.

We’ve got a lot of favorites coming from our smoker, but this Smoked Hard Cider Beer Can Chicken is easily at the top of the pack.

Smoked Hard Cider Beer Can Chicken

Basic beer can chicken is so much easier than you’d think. While we prefer to use a convenient stand, it can be made without one too. If you don’t want to go out and buy a stand, use the beer can in the birds cavity along with the two legs to form a stable ‘tripod’.

You don’t have to use hard cider either, although it’s proven to be our favorite flavor method time after time. You can use any beer you’d like, as long as it’s in a can. You don’t even need the whole can of beer. In order to maximize the beer ‘steam’, you want to empty 1/4-1/2 the can of beer. Don’t waste it though, pour it in a glass and drink it!

I don’t do much else other than either using a dry rub or a marinade on the outside, and letting the smoker do it’s thing. However, this Smoked Hard Cider Beer Can Chicken is an easily adaptable recipe. I keep things simple and leave it as is, but if you want to make sure your bird absorbs every bit of flavor- use toothpicks to seal and secure the neck skin closed.

If you want a more savory taste, then you can add diced onions, chopped carrots, garlic, even some parsley to your beer can. With the hard cider, we’ve added chopped apples and diced onion and it took the meat to a gourmet level.

Smoked Hard Cider Beer Can Chicken

The tenderest, seasoned roast chicken you’ve ever had is infused with smoky flavor and beer steam. This easy Smoked Hard Cider Beer Can Chicken is going to have your folks beggin’ for more, and you ditching the plain, ol’ grill and running for your smoker instead.

Other Smoked Recipes You Might Also Enjoy:

Smoked Hard Cider Beer Can Chicken

A whole chicken smoked seamlessly with minimal effort- this is the tenderest, most flavorful chicken to end all chickens.
4.13 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 1kcal


  • 1 whole roaster chicken, 4-5 lbs
  • 1 pkt chicken marinade, prepared according to the package directions
  • 1 12 fluid oz can hard apple cider


  • Remove all the innards from the bird. Rinse thoroughly, and pat dry.
  • Rub the bird down, liberally, with the prepared marinade. 
  • Pop the top on your can of beer, and pour 1/4 - 1/2 of the beer out, either into the sink or into a glass to drink. Set the beer into a beer can stand. Place the stand in a disposable aluminum pan.
  • Place the bird's cavity over the beer can until the chicken's resting firmly on the base. Carefully place the pan in a smoker preheated to 225 degrees, using a blend of hickory and apple wood chips.
  • Smoke 5-6 hours, or until a meat probe inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Remove the chicken from the smoker, and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


Calories: 1kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 1mg | Sugar: 1g
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One thought on “Smoked Hard Cider Beer Can Chicken

  1. Ahhh… I’ll have some of that heat over here if you like! I love hot dry days like hubby gets at home (it’s usually around 50c/122f)! Anyway, I think my son would love this (alcohol free cider of course)! but we don’t have a smoker… any other way we could do this? Thanks for sharing at Fiesta Friday this week.

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