Smoked BBQ Cider Can Chicken

Smoked BBQ Cider Can Chicken

This is a paleo take on one of my favorite summer recipes of all time.  I use cider because I like the flavor cider gives, but to be honest you could use beer if you like. You’re not going to transfer any gluten from the steaming of the beer. You can do it without adding the wood chips and smoking it, but it’s much, much better smoked.

We are fortunate enough to have a nearby chicken and egg farm called Primal Pastures. Check them out at, they are expanding and adding some sheep as well. Their birds are what keep Sarah and I still eating chicken. This recipe is all about the prep. It calls for two birds because it’s best to save the leftovers to make a smoked chicken stock, which is easy to turn into an amazing paleo stew after. We’ll post that recipe soon. ;)

2 Pastured Chickens Roughly 3# each

2 cups wood chips (I prefer hickory or pecan, never ever use soft wood like pine)

2 12 oz cans of cider

3 eco foil tin pans (they come in 3 packs in grocery store 6”x6’” or 7”x7”)

Charcoal ( I prefer the wood charcoal but any is good. No lighter fluid!!! Use a chimney or propane starter)

Rub Blend- Whisk together in a bowl.

3 T Kosher Salt

2 T Black Pepper Ground

1 T Chili Powder

2 T Garlic Powder

1 T Onion Powder

Put woodchips in one of the aluminum pans, and soak with with 1/3 of the cider from both cans. Let soak for one hour and then strain leftover cider off. While chips are soaking, rub chickens down with rub, no need to be perfect here, but the more even the more perfectly seasoned skin you’ll be fighting over. Arrange the charcoal to one side of your grill and get it lit. Once it is almost ready, place wood chips in foil tin directly over charcoal. Take the other two tins, place can up the chickens back end and use the tins as a base. Now place the birds on the other side of the grill from the chips and charcoal. Cover grill, and let it do it’s thing for 35-40 minutes.

If you have two pairs of tongs this next part will be easier. Use a pair of tongs to grab onto the can and another pair to grab the bird from the whole in the top and pull apart. Be careful as there will be steam coming from the cans. Put the birds on a cutting board and let rest for 20 minutes. Carve or pull the meat off, and save the bones for stock. So, so good.

For more recipes like this, be sure to check out our cookbook, Paleo By Season!

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Flory, the can won’t get hot enough for the aluminum to separate into the meat.

Pete's Paleo

What about the aluminium from the cans inside the birds? Won’t it leach into the steam and the meat surrounding them?


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