It's like a beer can chicken, but better. Use your favorite canned soda to transform the flavor and texture of your next whole chicken, and pair it way a complementary dry rub while you're at it.

Everybody can relate to the existential dread that is associated with trying to decide how to cook chicken. You either don’t have the time or patience to wait for some intricate marinade to do its job, you can’t bare the thought of another plain rotisserie chicken, you don’t have any exciting ingredients at home to liven up the dish, or you’ve had it up to your eyeballs with your monotonous, baked chicken breasts. Enough is enough, people. Today is the day that you say no to boring chicken dinners and you stop settling for subpar poultry. You achieve this by making soda can chicken.

Soda Can Chicken STILL
Credit: Time Inc. Video Studio

Time Inc. Video Studio

Inspired by a classic beer can chicken, this easy, creative method is the ultimate way to liven up your next bird. In the same way that you cannot actually taste a potent beer presence in your beer can chicken, you cannot taste a strong flavor of sugary soda in your soda can chicken. That being said, by propping up the whole chicken on top of an open soda can and roasting it atop your grill, the flavors from the soda gently permeate the flesh of your chicken, thus making for a super moist and tasty final product. This method is essentially roasting a chicken, and it just happens to take place on your grill, instead of in the oven. The chicken is strategically cooked on the unlit side of the grill while the lid is closed, thus creating an oven-like experience for the chicken, without losing that signature fiery, smoky goodness that comes with grilling.

Because chicken dinners have a way of quickly exhausting themselves after one or two go-arounds, we drew up three dry rub and soda pairings, so that there are plenty of flavor options to play around with, depending on what you’re in the mood for. For all versions, the dry rub is the real key to your final flavor profile. The entire outside of the bird, as well as the cavity, should be heavily seasoned—this is where the magic happens, so don’t be shy.

In the first iteration of the soda can chicken, we’ve partnered a ginger ale with an Asian dry rub. The aromatic spicy notes from the ginger ale against the dried mint and basil in the rub make for an all-around flavorful, Asian-inspired poultry dish. For a more Southern-inspired route, we’ve fused the sweetness of a cherry cola soda with a smoky sweet BBQ rub. Finally, we’ve harnessed the citrusy greatness of a Mountain Dew (although any lemon-lime soda will suffice) and paired it with a rosemary, lemon, and garlic rub. If your soda preferences lie elsewhere, be attentive to those desires and pursue them. As long as it’s sweet and bubbly, it’s sure to provide just the “umph” factor that your chicken dinner needs. Your run-of-the-mill, salt & pepper roasted chicken just got a serious makeover. There’s no looking back, now.

By Sara Tane and Sara Tane