Barbecued Coca-Cola Chicken Skewers

Barbecued Coca-Cola Chicken Skewers

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Credit: Jennifer Hill Booker
National Culinary Review, January/February 2023

From the Chef

“Whether you call it soda or pop, carbonated Coca-Cola drinks are a favorite pairing with barbecue. I thought, “Why not add the cola to the dish as well as enjoy it with the dish?” The carbonation helps tenderize the chicken, while the cola adds a sweetness and a lovely caramel color, once grilled. You can use whatever brand you like, but since I live in Atlanta, Georgia, I would be remiss if I didn’t use Classic Coke in my Barbecued Coca-Cola Chicken Skewers.”


• 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 3 large garlic cloves, minced
• 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
• 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
• 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
• 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
• ½ cup Coca-Cola
• 2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce
• 6 scallions, white and green parts, chopped, for garnish


1. Preheat grill to 400 degrees F.
2. Soak two dozen wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.
3. Trim chicken of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, combine the salt, pepper, garlic, jalapeno, all of the paprika, oil and cola. Mix with a rubber spatula until the ingredients are blended.
5. Add the cubed chicken and mix until well-coated with the spice mixture.
6. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
7. Thread the chicken onto the soaked skewers.
8. Place the chicken on the hot grill and cook until browned and slightly charred, about 5 minutes for each side.
9. Brush the top of the kebabs with barbecue sauce; turn and cook until sauce has browned, about 1 minute. Turn and brush the second side with sauce, cooking an additional minute or until chicken has browned.
10. Remove the chicken skewers from grill and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
11. Garnish with chopped scallions and serve with remaining barbecue sauce on the side.


12 servings


Main Dish, Poultry, The National Culinary Review

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