Root Beer-Can Grilled Chicken recipe

We’ve (as in: hubby has) grilled beer-can chicken in the past (with delicious, tender results) – so we were anxious to try out this Cooking Light recipe.

After a long weekend of being on-the-go, it was such a pleasant surprise to come home to hubby grilling up this great dinner!

It all starts with a couple of these:

Root Beer


  • 1.5 t paprika
  • 1 t brown sugar
  • .5 t garlic powder
  • .5 t onion powder
  • .5 t ground red pepper
  • .5 t chili powder (I bet he added more, since we lean on the spicy-side)
  • .25 t ground allspice
  • .75 t kosher salt
  • 2 cans of A&W Root Beer, divided
  • 2 T unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 t cider vinegar
  • 1 whole chicken, skinned (around 3.5 pounds)


1. prepare grill for indirect grilling, heating one side to medium (with our grill, Chris took off the grill racks so the lid could close all the way with the chicken sitting up-right)

2. combine first 7 ingredients and .5 t salt into a small bowl

3. open both root beer cans; pour 18 oz into a small saucepan  (reserve remaining root beer aside, still in the can)

4. bring 18 oz of root beer to a boil – then cook until it reduces to 1/3 cup (should take about 20 minutes)

5. remove from heat and add .25 t salt, butter & vinegar (stir until smooth)

6. rub the spice mixture all over the chicken

7. holding the chicken upright, with the cavity facing down, insert reserved open root beer can into the cavity (we have a beer-can holder from BB&B that helps keep the bird upright)

8. place the chicken on the unheated side of the grill

9. cover & grill for 90 minutes (baste the chicken every 20 minutes with the sauce)

10. Chicken is done when the meat thermometer reads 160

11. lift the chicken off the grill, removing the root-beer can (we used tongs to transfer it to a cutting board, then brought it inside) and let it stand for 10 minutes with foil on top

12. cut/slice and enjoy!

basting the root beer chicken

So there’s 90 minutes of waiting… but I bet you have somebody to keep you company. 🙂

More basting:

A little more waiting…

All those chicken smells, really gets the nose going…
I have a feeling I’ll be blogging about this bird’s nest again in the near future! (just spotted it yesterday)
Summer is wishing hubby would drop a piece off the grill… no luck, pups!
Time’s up! (note, important grilling tools: the beer-can stand/holder, the grill basket, and internal meat thermometer)

dinner is ready!

The verdict on this recipe: it was really good but nothing “crazy-amazing”. Probably a 7/10. 🙂  We are tough critics, mind you.  We’ll make it again, most likely with more spices…

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