there are probably millions of people who have cooked beer can chickens and a few have even gone so far as to document their results. the most notable to me is on the nakedwhiz site....http://www.nakedwhiz.com/beercanchicken.htm
the naked whiz conclusion:
We suppose the conclusions here are pretty obvious. Doing beer can chicken to produce moist and flavorful chickens is a waste of time, good beer and good flavorings. Side by side comparisons showed that birds cooked with and without beer in the can turned out identical in juiciness. A bird cooked over beer with flavorings turned out identical in flavor to a bird cooked with no beer and no flavorings. It just plain doesn't work. The only reason we can see for putting a chicken on a can is cook it vertically so you can fit more birds into your cooker. But for flavor or juiciness? Nope. If you need to increase the juiciness of your chicken, or if you want to get some flavor into the meat itself, you would be far better off investigating the art of brining.
i'd suspect that more often than not, these beer can chickens are done using macro brews such as budweiser or miller or even a lite version of those beers.
my rub was a mixture of salt and pepper, dizzy pig shakin the tree and tsunami spin and some simply marvelous season all.
i pulled the skin back on the breasts and rubed them good inside and out and let them sit for a couple hours.
i used some onion and garlic in the beers.
for my beer can chicken experiment, i used an oskar blues ten fidy russian imperial stout which comes in just under 10% abv. i cooked the chicken indirect on a small big green egg using the actual oskar blues can and a couple skewers to hold the chicken up inside the egg. i used a bit of onion and garlic in the can.
for the other beer, i used a homebrewed barrel aged double ipa that came in at about 130 ibu and 11% abv. i used a ceramic beer can chicken holder for that one. used onion and garlic in the beer as well.
the one cooked on the large big green egg was cooked direct, however i did use the spider with an aluminum pan sitting on it. i also used the adjustable rig to cook to cook higher in the dome, at the level of the felt on the base of the egg.
i was able to put a probe into the ceramic container holding the chicken in the large big green egg to monitor the temp of the liquid...
(at this point, i dropped my iphone 4 and shattered the back glass on it. pictures became less frequent as i was pretty ticked off.)
the chicken took less time on the large big green egg. also, the beer boiled in the ceramic holder as there was about 1/2 the amount of beer than what i started with.
the chicken on the small big green egg came off about 30 minutes later. most noticable was the fact that the amount of beer in the can was pretty much the same amount that i started off with.
both chickens were juicy, but i noticed the one done direct at a bit hotter temperature was more moist than the one cooked indirect. the chicken cooked on the small egg indirect picked up little to no flavor from the beer. the chicken cooked direct on the large egg at a bit higher temperature tasted more moist and tasted different than the chicken cooked on the small egg. the beer most certainly added flavor to the chicken cooked on the ceramic chicken holder. there was evidence that the beer in the ceramic holder boiled and that flavor was apparent in the chicken.
so, if you really want get good results on your beer can chickens, my recommendation would be, cook them direct between 375-400 and use a hoppy beer, preferably an india pale ale or a double india pale ale. i'd suspect a very hoppy regular pale ale would work as well. i think it's necessary to get the beer to boil before you will see results.
part two of this test will be using a russian imperial stout direct on the egg to see if beers other than hoppy work for "beer can chicken".
thanks for looking!