I’ve been experimenting with the concept of beer-can smoked chickens lately, because they’re delicious and easy to make, plus they provide for an extremely tasty stock once the tender, moist meat is all gone.
The idea is basically to oil and season the outside of the chicken, then sit it upright, stick a beer can up its you-know-what, and sit it vertically on a smoker while the liquid inside the can keeps the meat and the inside of the bird nice and moist. It’s excellent when made with beer (although ironically, it’s better with a cheap, domestic Bud Light sort of beer than it is with a dark and strong Guinness type), and it’s delicious with a sweet fruit juice, so I decided to combine the two ideas and use a more concentrated orange juice with a cheap chardonnay.
I found that the easiest way to prepare the chicken is to sit it on top of the beer can (in this case, an empty one), then season and oil the outside of the chicken. Once the chicken has been moved to the smoker, you can add the mimosa mixture or other liquid through the top of the cavity — you’ll actually be able to look inside the top of the chicken and see the beer can inside.
I smoked it over soaked mesquite wood chips, for 3-4 hours or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of at least 165. Once the bird is cooked, it’s best to let it rest (put it in a big pot and cover with foil) to let the juices redistribute.
The meat is EXTREMELY tender and juicy. Plus, once the chicken has been picked clean of the meat, the carcass will make a smoky and delicious stock. I just put the whole carcass in a crock pot (or in a gallon-size freezer bag to make into stock at a later time), cover it with water and a few spices, and let it simmer until all of the meat has come off of the bones. This is an excellent way to use any chicken or turkey carcass, and it’s even better when the meat has been smoked!