Make the marinade by combining all marinade ingredients: whisk well to mix.
Remove and discard any giblets and fat just inside the body and neck cavities. Rinse the chicken inside and out under cold running water, then drain and blot dry inside and out with a paper towel.
Place chicken with the marinade inside a large resealable plastic freezer bag or a large bowl, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, turning the bird several times to marinate evenly.
Make the rub by combining all rub ingredients; set aside. It may be hard to find ground caraway so I toast it and grind it in a small coffee grinder.
Open the beer can and pour half the beer over the soaking wood chips.
Remove the chicken from the bag with the marinade. DISCARD marinade. Sprinkle 1 tsp. of the dry rub inside the neck cavity of the bird. Drizzle oil over the outside of the bird and rub or brush dry rub all over the skin.
Spoon the remaining dry rub into the half-filled can of beer (beer may foam, which is normal). Using a church key can opener, make 2 additional holes in the top of the can.
Hold the bird upright, with the opening of the body cavity at the bottom, and lower it onto the beer can so the can fits into the body cavity. Pull the legs forward to form a tripod, so the bird stands upright (the rear leg of the tripod is the beer can). Tuck the tips of the wings behind the chicken's back. I like to put it in a foil tray so it makes less of a mess on the grill grates.
Light the gas barbecue and, using an oven thermometer inside the closed grill, heat to 350 F. When warmed, turn off one of the burners and stand the chicken upright on the can over the NON-LIT burner. Place oven thermometer beside the chicken, not above the direct heat. Wrap the soaked wood chips loosely in foil, punching a few holes in the foil to allow smoke to escape, and place foil pouch directly over the LIT burner. Reduce heat, if necessary, to maintain interior temperature at 350 F. Close lid.
Cook until chicken skin is dark golden brown and the meat is cooked through, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. Use an instant reading meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh, not touching bone; chicken is done when the meat thermometer is 165 degrees F. If chicken skin starts to brown too much, loosely tent the bird with aluminum foil. When done, remove bird and let rest, standing on a platter at room temperature, about 5 minutes. Lift chicken off the can, taking care not to spill hot beer.
To serve, cut chicken in half or quarters.
NOTE: Using regular salt no wood chips it worked well too. If you don't have beer cans—put beer into pop cans. You can use water, pop, ice tea or lemonade in the cans. On a barbecue with the three burners you will be able to cook 5 chickens at once or maybe 6. The centre burner was turned off.
Donated by Olga Drozd
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Last updated June 10, 2009