Smoked Beer Can Turkey

Posted By: Agustin Lozano - El Paso, TX
Number of Servings:
Preparation Time: 24 Hours Plus 8-12 for Smoking

Beer Can Turkey


14 lbs Turkey
Brine for 24 hours before cooking


Water - Use enough to completely cover the bird.

1/3 Cup Kosher Salt Per Gallon of Water
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar Per Gallon of Water
2 Lemons Zest, Cut and Squeezed Per Gallon
2 Oranges Zest, Cut and Squeezed Per Gallon
1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar per Gallon
1 Bottle Apple Juice total
5 or 6 Crumbled Bay leaves
Palm full Thyme Palm full of Pepper Corns
4 Tablespoons Honey Per Gallon

Boil the Salt and Sugar with about 1 gallon water until dissolved. Let it cool. Mix with the rest of the water.

Cool the brine by further by placing sealed bags of ice in it. Do not dilute the brine by putting ice directly into it.

Add all other ingredients. Submerge turkey and brine for up to 24 hours in refrigerator. I typically brine for 12 hours.

You can also put the brine and turkey in a trash bag. Squeeze the air out to raise the level of brine and cover the turkey. Put it in a cooler with ice.

An hour before you start cooking, start the fire and get the main cooker temperature to 225 degrees. I like to use mesquite down here in Texas. You can use apple, pecan, hickory, etc. Burn a clean fire that is not smoldering. This will create clean smoke and give a good flavor to the turkey.

Dry Rub (NO SALT!):

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons fresh cracked pepper
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
2 Tablespoons ground Thyme
1 Tablespoon ground Sage
1 Tablespoon ground Chile Powder


Remove from Brine, rinse turkey with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

Rub olive oil on the outside of the turkey.

Separate turkey skin from meat and put rub generously in-between the skin and meat as well as inside the cavity of the bird.

Use any remaining rub on the outside of the turkey skin.

Beer Can:

With one Fosters "Oil Can" beer (I prefer the Ale), pour out entire contents of beer can into large cold glass and enjoy.

Open the top of the can with heavy duty scissors and fill up the can half way with chicken or turkey stock.

In the can, put bay leaves, sage (fresh if you have it), 1 Lemon cut, zest and squeezed, fresh cracked pepper.

Place can in smoker, and turkey on top of the can so that it sits with its legs down and to the front. The bird should be able to sit on its own, but metal rib racks can be used to stabilize it.

Keep temperature at 225, smoke for 30 minutes per pound and until the internal temperature is 165 degrees.

Mine took about 8 1/2 hours.

Every half hour spray with a mixture of chicken stock, apple juice, and apple cider vinegar (ratio 2:2:1)

Remove, let rest, and enjoy.

My favorite part of the bird was definitely the meat on the back along the spine and near the thighs.

I cut up the turkey before serving and had a feast picking the dark meat from the back, spine and thighs. This turkey was more tender and flavorful than any other baked or fried turkey I have ever had.