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Gluten-free Root Beer Can Chicken is a delicious summer grilling recipe with crispy skin and juicy chicken!

Root Beer Can Chicken #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Hey-o, happy Monday! How was your weekend? I saw a couple engagements, fishing trips, and weddings fly by on Instagram over the past couple of days. FUN.

I kicked things off bright and early Saturday morning with a cook book signing at the Downtown Farmer’s Market! I can’t believe I haven’t told you guys about this yet but as many of you may know I’ve partnered with the Iowa Food and Family Project over the past two years on their blog Join My Journey to tell the stories of Iowa’s farmers and how our food is grown and raised. This past spring we put together an amazing FREE cook book with recipes from all the project’s partners and myself, and I spent a few hours at the market on Saturday signing and handing them out. Too cool!

Remind me to do a big giveaway on the blog soon. I truly am thrilled with how they turned out. I’ll be sure to let you locals know the next time we’ll be out there too. These cook books are absolutely gorgeous and, as I mentioned, totally free. Can’t beat that with a stick!

Kristin at DSM Farmers Market-3

After the market the boys and I decided to mosey about 45 minutes north to Ames, IA, home of Iowa State University (Ben’s alma mater) and one of our favorite BBQ restaurants which I’ve written about many times here on IGE, Hickory Park! 


This homestyle BBQ restaurant has a great gluten-free menu, or rather a selection of the huge regular menu that’s already gluten-free, so I was able to enjoy their juicy sliced turkey with copious amounts of BBQ sauce and smoky-sweet baked beans without worry. As always, it was totally worth the drive.


It was Lincoln’s first visit and he licked our plates clean. Even tried eating ’em the food was so good! Kidding. He had a packed lunch of sweet potatoes, peas, applesauce and white beans. Maybe he’ll experience the glory of a Saucy Southerner next time. ;)


It was a g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s summer afternoon – the kind that sticks out in your mind when you look back in October – so we strolled through campus afterwards then had a romp in the grass under the campanile before heading home.


10.5 months – I love you. This little boy is such a doll. He’s in such a fun stage right now!


I will cherish each and every slobbery kiss he grants me from now until eternity. Got to bank them for when he turns 15 and wants nothing to do with me. ;)


Sunday was super weird weather-wise, going back and forth between sunshine and rain storms which made it hard to do much, so we counted Saturday as good enough. Definitely not grilling weather, which is why I’m glad to have the memories of this beauty from last week. YOU GUYS. Meet beer can chicken’s non-alcoholic cousin Root Beer Can Chicken!

Root Beer Can Chicken #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

If you’re anything like me than you’re all in a tizzy that July 4th is next week. NEXT WEEK. What?? I haven’t thought about what we’ll do, much less what we’ll eat, so this week I’m bringing you a couple of new and old favorite recipes that are perfect for the fourth. Whether you’re grilling or heading to a get together, I’ve got you covered.

I’m kicking things off with Root Beer Can Chicken, a whole chicken seasoned with a homemade spice rub then plunked onto a can of root beer and grilled. So ridiculously easy, I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to share! Beer Can Grilled Chicken is a popular recipe that’s been around for ages, but since I haven’t found a can of decent gluten-free beer I decided to go with root beer for a change. You know how root beer is ace when slow-cooked with pork? Same deal with chicken. Mouthwatering.

While the inside of this chicken is the juiciest I’ve ever had, the skin gets audibly crispy while cooking low and slow on the grill. Think rotisserie-style chicken but crispier. Oh yes.

If you’ll be at home this fourth of july, eating as a family or having friends over, impress everyone with this recipe that’s not only insanely delicious, but truly simple. Fun too!

Root Beer Can Chicken #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Start with the rub which is a combination of pantry-staple spices including salt, pepper, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, thyme, garlic powder and onion powder.

Root Beer Can Chicken #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Mix everything up then set aside. This rub is fantastic on grilled chicken but is perfect to sprinkle on everything from red meat to salmon and shrimp. I just love the smoked paprika in there. It’s my new favorite spice of all time!

Root Beer Can Chicken #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Next, pop the top of a can of root beer. As I mentioned, I chose root beer because a can of gluten-free beer is hard to find, and I wanted to see what it would taste like too. Turns out – awesome! Not sweet at all, so don’t sweat it sweet-meat haters.

If you don’t want to use root beer for whatever reason, any cola would taste great and of course you can’t go wrong with the classic can of beer.

Root Beer Can Chicken #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Pour out 1/2 the can (drink it or save for later) then add 1 teaspoon of the rub into the top while holding the can over the sink as it will foam a bit. Put the can on a plate then set aside.

Root Beer Can Chicken #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Finally – zee chicken. You’ll need a 3-4lb chicken with the neck and giblets removed if the chicken still contains them. I got this bird on sale at the grocery store for $6.99. A total steal considering it will feed 3-4 people!

Root Beer Can Chicken #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels then season the insides with a couple big pinches of the rub, and then season the outside with the remaining rub (you may not need it all.) Place the chicken over the root beer can then place it over indirect heat on a grill preheated to 325 degrees.

Root Beer Can Chicken #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Now, what does indirect heat mean? It means not directly over an open flame. So, for my grill which has three main burners, I lit the two burners on each end then placed the chicken in the center. Then I grilled it for 45 minutes with the lid down, or until the thickest part of the breast reached 160-165 degrees.

It could take you 45 minutes to an hour, maybe a little more. It just depends on how big your bird is and how steady the temperature remains. That being said, it’s kind of fool proof. Check the temperature a few times (my grill has a thermometer on the outside) but just know that it’s ok if the temp ranges from 325 – 340’ish while grilling. You don’t want it much hotter than that otherwise the seasonings can burn.

Root Beer Can Chicken #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Tip: if your grill doesn’t have a grease trap, place a disposable pie tin (or a homemade one made from heavy-duty aluminum foil) on top of the UNLIT burner under the grates to catch the drippings.


After the chicken is grilled to crispy yet juicy perfection, remove it from the grill with the help of a couple pairs of tongs then let it rest for 5 minutes before carving. Serve with your favorite BBQ sauce or straight up. I didn’t need a thing!

Root Beer Can Chicken #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Root Beer Can Chicken


Gluten-free Root Beer Can Chicken is a whole chicken grilled on top of a can of root beer. Super crispy skin and juicy chicken is the perfect centerpiece at any summer grill out!


serves 3-4

  • 3-4lb chicken, neck and giblets removed
  • 1 can root beer
  • grapeseed oil (or vegetable or canola oil)
  • For the rub
    • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
    • 3/4 Tablespoon salt
    • 1/2 Tablespoon pepper
    • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
    • 2 teaspoons onion powder
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Preheat grill over high heat until it reaches 325 degrees then turn down to medium-high to maintain temperature. Combine all rub ingredients in a small bowl then mix to combine.
  2. Pour out half the can of root beer then add 1 teaspoon rub mixture into the can while holding it over the sink as it will foam and over flow a bit. Place root beer can on a plate then set aside.
  3. Pat chicken dry with paper towels then rub all over with oil. Season the inside with a couple big pinches of the rub then season the outside (may not need it all.) Place chicken over root beer can then transfer to the grill over indirect heat - meaning don't place the chicken directly over the flame.
  4. Put the lid down then grill for 45 minutes - 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer placed into the thickest part of the breast reads 160-165 degrees, keeping the temperature between 325 and 340 degrees during cooking time (it doesn't have to be precise.) Do not lift the lid for at least the first 40 minutes as the grill will take a long time to heat back up.
  5. Use tongs to transfer the chicken and root beer can to a plate then let rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Be very careful as the root beer can will be HOT!
  6. TIP: i


If your grill does not have a grease trap, place a disposable pie tin or one made out of heavy-duty foil under the grates to check the chicken drippings.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.


This rub is so, so good. The perfect mix of salty, smoky, and savory. And that skin? SO crispy!

Root Beer Can Chicken #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

I served my Root Beer Can Chicken with a few simple veggie kabobs. That’s just mushrooms skewered with green bell pepper and red onion, spritzed with extra virgin olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and then grilled until tender. Delish. Enjoy, enjoy!

Root Beer Can Chicken #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com