Beer Can Turkey

Happy Thanksgiving y’all! Want to try a different method for cooking your bird this year? The beer can turkey is a fantastic method for wowing your guests this Thanksgiving. Of course you’ll need the biggest can of beer you can find, but, if you’re not too picky, Fosters 24 oz. will do the trick! If you have a bird over 16-pounds, you may need a 32 oz. beer.

To start, we need to cut off the top of our beer can. So, I would advise that you pour out the beer into another container, and then do so. You can then add the beer back to the can, take a few sips for good health, and add any seasonings you wish to the beer.

A good rub for the turkey combines paprika, salt, chili powder, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, thyme, oregano, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Once you pull your turkey out of its brine, pat dry and separate the skin from the meat around the thigh and breast. Underneath the skin of the breast and thigh, spread the rub. The remaining rub can be sprinkled all over the turkey inside and out.

Whether you’re grilling or smoking your bird, now’s the time to fire it up! We want to get it cooking to about 325°F. Once you’ve reached that temperature, add smoking wood pieces. Once they are producing smoke, place the can of beer down and carefully lower the turkey onto the can. (Make sure you try this out beforehand to make sure sizing is right!)

Cover the turkey and cook for about 2-3 hours, with the internal temp reaching 160°F. Once, your turkey is finished cooking, remove, and allow to rest uncovered for about 30 minutes. Remove the beer can, carve, and serve!

The yeast and malt in the beer will give you a good crisp on the skin and keep the meat tender and juicy on the inside. I hope you enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!



For the Brine

  • 2 quarts apple Juice
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 quarts ice cold water
  • 1 whole natural turkey, 12 to 14 pounds

For the Rub

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 medium chunk of apple wood or other light smoking wood
  • 1 (24 ounce) tall can of beer
  1. To make the brine:Whisk together apple juice, salt, brown sugar, and molasses in a large container until salt and sugar are dissolved. Stir in 3 quarts ice cold water. Submerge turkey, breast side down, in brine. Place container in refrigerator and brine for 12 hours.