This whole grilled spatchcock chicken is smothered in a homemade spice mixture and cola BBQ sauce. It’s smoky, sweet, savory and juicy! Perfect summer meal straight off the grill.

Oh boy, I can’t even HANDLE how much we loooovvve this grilled chicken.

grilled spatchcock chicken with cola bbq sauce

This smoky, charred chicken is absolutely incredible – and smothered in a homemade cola BBQ sauce that you will be licking off the spoon. It’s absolutely delightful!

homemade cola BBQ sauce

I’ve been craving my root beer BBQ sauce lately and knew I just had to make it. Instead of using it on grilled ribs, I decided to do a whole chicken as it’s one of our absolutely favorite ways to do chicken. 

We LOVE it.

Last year I threw together a really great spatchcock chicken recipe and never ended up sharing it with you. So! I knew I wanted to do another as it’s such a great dish to make for dinner.

A wonderful way to grill chicken – and a change up on the whole beer can chicken method on the grill. 

spatchcock chicken with spices

A spatchcock chicken can seem intimidating at first but I swear it’s SO simple. You’re going to split the whole chicken by removing the backbone and flattening it out. This helps it grill quicker and more evenly than if you just threw the whole chicken on the grates.

If you’ve ever made my smothered chicken and mushrooms recipe, then you know how it’s done!

If you haven’t, get a good pair of kitchen shears and cut out the backbone. It’s not that tricky and once you’ve done it one time, it’s not a big deal. You can make this recipe all the time – and it will seem EASY! 

homemade cola BBQ sauce

In order to make this chicken as flavorful as possible, I love to use my favorite seasonings that bring out some classic BBQ flavor. We’re talking salt and pepper, smoked paprika and garlic powder and a little bit of brown sugar. With this mix, you get some sweet and smoky and savory flavor, all at once. 

Then, you brush it all over with the cola BBQ sauce for extra oomph.

YUM.

I’m almost positive this is Eddie’s dream entree. He just about dies every time I make it. 

grilled spatchcock chicken with cola bbq sauce

The other key here is grilling it over indirect here! You want to turn off the burner directly under the chicken so it doesn’t dry out or char too quickly. This is the secret to extra juicy chicken, I promise. 

grilled spatchcock chicken with cola bbq sauce

I adore this chicken because there are crispy, charred, smoky bits all over – enough for everyone. The meat is so tender and juicy and it just has so much more flavor than you’d expect. 

grilled spatchcock chicken with cola bbq sauce

The leftovers of this are also outstanding. If you need some side dish ideas – I love this creamed grilled corn! You could also do a pasta salad, my favorite brussels sprouts slaw or even spinach mac and cheese. A big old salad and grilled corn on the cob are also great ideas! Really, the options are endless. You’ve gotta try it!

grilled spatchcock chicken with cola bbq sauce

Grilled Spatchcock Chicken

Grilled Cola BBQ Chicken

This whole grilled spatchcock chicken is smothered in a homemade spice mixture and cola BBQ sauce. It's smoky, sweet, savory and juicy!
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Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 pound whole chicken
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

cola BBQ sauce

  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 2/3 cup cola, like Dr Pepper, Coke, Root Beer, etc
  • ½ cup honey
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • Preheat your grill to the highest setting.
  • I like to start with a chicken that has been at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
  • Take the chicken and spatchcock it – meaning you want to cut out the backbone with sharp kitchen shears and flatten it. It’s intimidating at first, but once you do it, it’s get easy! Here is a photo tutorial on it. Cut out the backbone of the chicken on both sides and press down with the heel of your hand (breaking the breastbone) to flatten the chicken as much as you can.
  • Stir together the brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Sprinkle a bit on the underside of the chicken. Place the chicken skin-side up on a baking sheet or cutting board and sprinkle/run the spice mixture all over the skin. If you want, you can also sprinkle some under the skin, right on the breasts and thighs.
  • Once you’re ready to grill, turn off the heat in the center burner. We’re grilling with indirect heat here, so we don’t want that center burner on. Turn the side burners to medium heat. You want the heat of the grill to be around 350 to 400 degrees F. You may need to adjust your side burners to get to this temperature!
  • Place the whole chicken on the center of the grill (above the burner that is turned off), skin side up. Close the lid and grill for 50 to 60 minutes. After about 40 minutes, you can start brushing the top of the chicken with the BBQ sauce. I brush maybe two or three times, closing the lid after each time. You want the internal temperature of the chicken to read 160 to 165 degrees F before you remove it from the grill..
  • Remove the chicken and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Slice and serve with the remaining BBQ sauce.

cola BBQ sauce

  • Place all ingredients in a saucepan and whisk together until combined. Heat oven medium heat and bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and cook for 30 to 60 minutes, until thickened. Stir occasionally. Remove from the heat and let sit at room temperature until it cools and thickens even more.
  • Store in a jar or sealed container in the fridge. This lasts about a week.
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grilled spatchcock chicken with cola bbq sauce

Look at that crispy flavorful goodness!