Recipe: Make Cola Barbecue Sauce for that Cola-Can Chicken

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

This riff on the classic beer-can chicken uses the flavors of cola soda to spice up the chicken grilling experience. The recipe can be found in Steven Raichlen’s revised “Beer-Can Chicken” cookbook. (Photos courtesy Randazzo & Blau/Workman Publishing)

If you’re making Steven Raichlen’s Cola-Can Chicken, a riff on the classic Beer-Can Chicken, you’ll have half a can of soda leftover. Turns out you can can use that extra cola to spice up your barbecue sauce.

The resulting sauce also goes well with pork, brisket, ribs and salmon, says Raichlen, in his newly revised cookbook, “Beer-Can Chicken,” just out from Workman Publishing.

Cola Barbecue Sauce

Makes about 1½ cups


1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup minced onion

1 tablespoon peeled minced fresh ginger

1 clove garlic, minced

3/4 cup cola (reserved from Cola-Can Chicken)

3/4 cup ketchup

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons A.1. sauce

1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed

Coarse kosher or sea salt


Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger and garlic and cook until soft but not brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cola, raise the heat to high and bring the sauce to a boil.

Add the ketchup, lemon zest and juice, Worcestershire sauce, A.1., liquid smoke and pepper and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and gently simmer the sauce until thick and richly flavored, about 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and more pepper, if necessary.

The sauce can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 1 week. Let return to room temperature or warm over medium heat before serving.

— Excerpted from “Beer-Can Chicken: Foolproof Recipes for the Crispiest, Crackliest, Smokiest, Most Succulent Birds You’ve Ever Tasted (Revised)” by Steven Raichlen,  Workman Publishing © 2024.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.