Citrus Rubbed Coca-Cola Chicken

1 ~6-lb chicken (don’t go too big, you want to be able to close the grill!)
1 open 12 oz can Coke
juice and zest of one orange
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning
1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper
1 tablespoon dehydrated minced onion
1 teaspoon dried thyme
coarse kosher or sea salt

Place a foil bowl (buy a round foil tin or fashion one out of regular foil) under the center of the rack. Surround with coals. Place applewood chips in a foil packet (poke holes in it) or in a smoker box. Prep grill. Rub the chicken down with the juice and sprinkle with spices and zest. Place the can of soda in a can chicken roaster. Place the chicken over the cooker. Place on the grill, over the foil bowl.

Cover and cook until full cooked through, adding coals as needed to keep the heat constant. It should take about 1-1/2 hrs.

My thoughts:

Honestly, I have grown a bit tired of chicken. I got burnt out on it while writing my cookbook (lean protein!) and haven’t wholly embraced it since. That hasn’t stopped me from appreciating it when it is exceptionally well done and this was. It is literally the juiciest bit of chicken I think I have ever made, much less grilled. Smoky and citrus scented. Meltingly tender and, I did I mention? Super, super moist. I am sure the fact that the chicken was from our local poultry farm helped but the soda and rub really sealed in the juices. Yum!


  1. I recently made Dr. Pepper pork sandwiches! Funny how you can incorporate soda into so many dishes..!

  2. So why does it need to be Coke? As you merely stick the can into the bird, couldn't it be any can-shaped object, to hold up the bird?

  3. No, it isn't hold up the chicken at all. The chicken in on rack that fits inside the bird. That is what is supporting the weight of the chicken.

    Obviously you can make it with whatever beverage you'd like but each one would infuse the chicken with a different flavor. I liked using coke, hence calling for coke in this recipe. The rub was created to complement the flavor of coca-cola.

  4. Ah. So I guess the part I didn't get was: you OPEN up the canned drink before you use it in this recipe 🙂

  5. Ah. So the part I didn't get was that the drink should be opened up.

  6. Yes! It must be opened. Not only does it keep the chicken moist, I think it would explode if it wasn't.

  7. Melissa Rodriguez

    What a wonderful idea, I would have never thought about this. I have only tried it with a beer can. Plus, I have the biggest weakness for Coca Cola. Definitely will be trying this recipe pronto. Keep up the great work!

  8. We've done something similar with Coca-cola and with Dr Pepper in the past, but I never used orange juice on the outside. Awesome idea!