Root Beer-Can Chicken

Root Beer-Can Chicken Recipe
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross
This is a family-friendly take on beer-can chicken in which we use an opened root beer can to support a whole bird on the grill. The liquid inside the can adds moisture, resulting in succulent, tender meat. Complete the meal with roasted red potatoes and a sweet-tart broccoli slaw.


4 servings (serving size: 1 breast half or 1 leg quarter)

Cost per Serving:


Recipe from

Cooking Light

Nutritional Information

Calories 371
Fat 15.1 g
Satfat 6.2 g
Monofat 5 g
Polyfat 2.4 g
Protein 35.6 g
Carbohydrate 21.4 g
Fiber 0.2 g
Cholesterol 121 mg
Iron 1.9 mg
Sodium 502 mg
Calcium 32 mg


1 1/2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2 (12-ounce) cans root beer, divided
2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 (3 1/2-pound) whole chicken, skinned


1. Prepare grill for indirect grilling, heating one side to medium.

2. Combine first 7 ingredients and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.

3. Open both root beer cans; pour 18 ounces into a small saucepan. Set remaining root beer aside (in the can). Bring 18 ounces root beer to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1/3 cup (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, butter, and vinegar, stirring until smooth.

4. Rub paprika mixture evenly over chicken. Holding chicken upright with the cavity facing down, insert reserved opened root beer can into cavity. Place chicken on unheated side of grill. Spread legs out to form a tripod to support the chicken. Cover and grill for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into meaty portion of thigh registers 160°, basting chicken every 20 minutes with sauce.

5. Lift chicken slightly using tongs; place spatula under can. Carefully remove chicken and can from grill; place on a cutting board. Let stand 10 minutes. Gently lift chicken using tongs or insulated rubber gloves; carefully twist can and remove from cavity. Discard can. Carve chicken.

Jill Hough,

Cooking Light

June 2010
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