Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross
4 servings (serving size: 1 breast half or 1 leg quarter)

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.

How to Make It

Step 1

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

Step 2

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

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 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.

Ratings & Reviews

randomgibberish's Review

September 01, 2014
Best chicken ever! We're not a couple terribly skilled at using our grill. Except for steak, we tend to either overcook or undercook things. This chicken was perfect. We used a 4 1/2 pound chicken and added 1/2 hour to the cooking time. Juicy, crispy, and cute as the dickens as it cooked standing up.

jcrican's Review

May 22, 2013

detailaddict's Review

May 22, 2010
I've never had the traditional beer can chicken but I just had to try this. Skinning the chicken took a bit of doing but overall this was easy to prepare. I used a slightly larger chicken (4.5 lbs.) but after an hour on the grill it was almost done, so I turned off the heat and let it coast the remaining 30 minutes. I also made the oven fries and broccoli slaw (also a first for me) as suggested, and they were both delicious. The chicken was juicy and flavorful, and not as spicy as I had expected. It's a bit wierd for frequent preparation but I will probably make this again.

mizzlemax's Review

August 01, 2011
Yumm! This was a good one and pretty fun to make. Never did the whole chicken thing before, so I accidentally bought the chicken with all the skin and guts still inside that was pretty gross taking out, but the chicken was only $2.50. The chicken was super moist and the glaze was delicious,... in addition the whole patio/house smelled amazing. I think I saw the neighbors salivating over the fence line. It was also perfect amount of food for me and my wife... half breast and thigh for each.

bluelupine's Review

May 08, 2012
Per Ann Taylor Pitman (in Oct 2010 issue) this can be baked in the oven at 375 for 1 hour or until thigh is 165. To replicate the smokey grill flavor, reduce sweet paprika to 3/4 tsp and add 3/4 tsp smoked paprika. You'll have to remove a rack in your oven to accomodate an upright (propped up on the can) chicken.

MsAggieAmy's Review

October 28, 2010
See it here:

Lauriej1's Review

May 16, 2010

mikoprice's Review

June 09, 2011

KellyDiff's Review

June 25, 2012
I thought this was outstanding! I'm not one to cook bone-in chicken, much less a whole chicken, but this was worth it, and actually pretty easy. Wonderful sweet-sour glaze.

ktleyed's Review

June 04, 2012
Simply fabulous! I used a 4.5 lb chicken on my gas grill and kept all the burners on low and it was amazing! Took about an hour and 45 minutes and turned such a gorgeous dark color (almost reminded me of Peking Duck!) Will make again, definitely! Had a little trouble keeping it upright at first, but once it cooked for around 20 minutes it was easier to prop up.