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Cherry Dr. Pepper Grilled Chicken

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BBQ chicken with a cherry Dr Pepper glaze

Lip smacking, finger licking AMAZING Cherry Dr. Pepper BBQ Chicken. A summer treat that will have them coming back for more!

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If you’re new to my Nest you may not know of my slight addiction to Dr. Pepper! (Fine! I’ve single-handedly kept the company in business!) I tried to give them up a few weeks ago and drink only water! GASP!!! I decided after the first 4 hours that I’m no quitter! 😉  So to celebrate, my horrifically long 4 hour sobriety, …I decided to make this AMAZING Cherry Dr. Pepper Bar-B-Que Chicken!

I always knew Dr. Pepper was my go to guy for quenching my thirst…but his sister Cherry Dr. Pepper…well, she’s mighty fine in a BBQ sauce! MMMMMmmmmm!  My guys fell in LOVE, hard, with this chicken! I wasn’t too sure they were coming up for air? I was getting a tad concerned. It’s O.K. though…cause there’s ALWAYS a Doctor in the house! (wink, wink)

How To Make Cherry Dr Pepper Grilled Chicken

Let’s start off with the chicken. I used a package of pre-cut, skin on, dark meat chicken. There were 4 wings, 4 legs, and 4 thighs.

I always pre-cook my chicken. I have this aversion to catching my house on fire because of fat drippings! By pre-cooking the chicken this will allow you to have that wonderful crispy charred skin on the outside without the inside being raw!

Whole chicken is a little tricky on the grill… so it’s just a good rule of thumb to pre-cook it. Then you’ll never be worried that it isn’t cooked through. (You can worry about other things…like…is there enough Dr. Pepper in the house?)

I used my casserole crock pot because all my 9 x 13 pans are full of ice cream cakes right now! (Time to go shopping for more baking dishes.) You can just use a 9 x 13 pan and bake it in the oven for 2-3 hours. I’ll admit that the slow cooker helped keep the house cool. Just a thought!

Rinse the chicken and dry on paper towels. Line your baking dish with foil. (This will help with clean up. Nobody wants to be doing dishes when you can be watching sunsets!)

Sprinkle your washed and dried chicken with seasoning salt and paprika. Cover with foil, or place the lid to your crock pot on top of the chicken. Bake for 2-3 hours on low heat . Turn heat off and allow to completely cool. This allows the meat to firm up again before placing it on the grill.

cut up chicken sprinkled with seasonings in a lined baking dish

When your chicken is done, and completely cool, remove from pan and place on a platter for grilling.

baked chicken in slow cooker casserole dish cooling

While your chicken is cooking on low it’s the perfect time to make that Cherry Dr. Pepper Chicken.

In a large sauce pan place 1 – 12 oz. can of Cherry Dr. Pepper. 1 cup of ketchup, 1 – 6 oz. can of tomato paste, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 tsp. onion powder, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tsp liquid smoke, 1/2 tsp. Chili powder and 1 tsp. of minced garlic.

Ingredients for Cherry Dr Pepper BBQ Sauce

Mix well with a wire whisk and simmer over low heat for 2-3 hours until reduced in half, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken considerably as it simmers. The smell of this sauce! The soda angels sing in praise!

Cherry Dr Pepper BBQ Sauce mixed and in a sauce pan on the stove

Allow the sauce to cool… then place in a container to use later on the chicken.

Cherry Dr Pepper BBQ Sauce in a jar with a can of Dr Pepper

It’s time to combine the two elements and make one fantastically luscious BBQ Chicken! Completely Drool worthy.

Scrape and Oil your grill before turning on the heat. Heat the grill to 300 degrees. Place the chicken bottom side down and brush the top with BBQ sauce. Gently flip the chicken over. Brush the back side with more BBQ sauce. Allow chicken to cook until you have a slight “char” on the skin.

TIP: Be sure to have a spray water bottle handy for the flames that will arise during grilling. Even though we have pre-cooked the chicken, and cooked a lot of the fat out of the skin…there will still be some that will drop down causing large flames. When that happens be sure to spray them with the water bottle to keep them under control, this will allow your chicken to cook at a normal non-burn 911 fire alarm rate.

Chicken with BBQ sauce on the grill

Flip the chicken over, and brush with more sauce. My Grill Master put the perfect “char” on this chicken. It couldn’t have been any better.

Grilled BBQ Chicken on the grill

I always have him hit it one last time with sauce. It’s just no fun eatin’  BBQ chicken if you aren’t licking fingers and smacking your lips!

Grilled Cherry Dr Pepper Chicken

This chicken is so tender and flavorful. It fell off the bone! I served it with baked beans and those delicious garlic butter Parmesan red potatoes! This is the perfect 4th of July main course. Actually I think it’s perfect any time! Don’t expect left overs. You’ll be sadly disappointed.

Everyone at your Nest is going to love this mouth-watering BBQ as much as we did! If I were you…I’d double that batch of sauce and keep the extra on hand for another day of grilling! It would be spectacular on just about anything your throwing down on the grill this summer.

Happy Nesting My Friends!

Norine's Nest Signature

Yield: 6 servings

Cherry Dr. Pepper Grilled Chicken

Cherry Dr Pepper BBQ Chicken

Lip smacking, finger licking AMAZING Cherry Dr. Pepper BBQ Chicken. A summer treat that will have them coming back for more!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 25 minutes


Cherry Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce

  • 1- 12oz can Cherry Dr. Pepper
  • 1 Cup Ketchup
  • 1 - 6oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic


  • 1 whole chicken cut up OR 1 package of dark meat chicken cut up about 12 pieces of chicken
  • Seasoning Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Paprika


  1. In a large sauce pan add the Cherry Dr. Pepper, Ketchup, tomato paste, brown sugar, worcestershire sauce, onion powder, black pepper, liquid smoke, chili powder and minced garlic.
  2. Whisk together until well blended.
  3. Simmer over very low heat for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and reduces by almost half.
  4. Cool.
  5. Keep in an air tight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.


  1. Wash and dry chicken pieces. Place in a foil lined 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle with Seasoning salt and Paprika. Cover with foil. Bake in a 250° oven for 2-3 hours. Allow to cool completely before grilling. This will allow the meat to firm back up before placing it on the grill.
  2. Coat grill with oil.
  3. Heat grill to 300° or medium heat.
  4. Place chicken bottom side down. Brush chicken with BBQ sauce. Gently flip the chicken over and allow to lightly char. While the chicken is charring on the one side brush the bottoms with BBQ sauce. Flip and char that side and brush top with more BBQ sauce.
  5. Remove for Grill and place on platter.
  6. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information:


6 servings

Serving Size:

2 pieces of chicken

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 904Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 275mgSodium: 736mgCarbohydrates: 63gFiber: 3gSugar: 56gProtein: 75g




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Saturday 4th of April 2020

The sauce was amazing! I've never been a big fan of bbq because I've never had a sauce I really liked. This made a big change, I cooked this with chicken drums twice in 2 weeks now. My whole family said it was amazing and knocked any other sauce out the ballpark. Thank you so much for sharing this!!!

Tuesday 7th of April 2020

Hi Jennifer! We are so close to grilling season and I can hardly wait to stoke up that grill and make this sauce again! I'm a huge Dr Pepper fan, and like you, not a huge fan of regular BBQ sauce. I'm so glad you liked this recipe. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and visit with me and share. Have a great week and enjoy that BBQ! Happy Nesting! Norine


Saturday 1st of February 2020

Hi Norine! I plan on making this for a party where I will not have access to the oven for precooking. Would it be alright if i precooked the chicken the day before, then finished everything off on the grill at the party? Thanks!

Saturday 1st of February 2020

Hi! Sorry for the late response...I've been out today. To answer your question...YES! I often bake mine the day before, refrigerate, and then grill the next day. It works out perfectly. Hope you have fun at your party and enjoy the chicken! Thanks for stopping by! Norine


Monday 27th of May 2019

Can this be done all in the oven if grilling isn’t an option?

Tuesday 28th of May 2019

Hi Jen! Yes it can all be done in the oven if grilling isn't an option. I'd put it under the broiler at the end just to give it that "grilled" look. Crisp things up just a bit.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great week. Norine

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Friday 24th of May 2019

[…] BBQ Cherry Dr Pepper Grilled Chicken […]


Thursday 15th of June 2017

Hello my friend! I'm making this tonight but unfortunately I had to start when I got home from work at 4:30 so I did pre cook in the oven but not quite 2 hours because my stomach was saying hurry up (lol). So while it was in the oven I did my sauce and was going to do your garlic Parmesan cheese potatoes I didn't have the real stuff ( I had the "green" bottle) so I had regular mashed potatoes and the baked while my chicken was cooling I started my grill..I will let you know how the chicken turns out but I tasted the BQ sauce ??...oh by the way I was going to do my chicken in my crockpot and try to cook it on "warm" setting until I got off work but didn't know if that would work since I would be at work for 8 hrs (longer than your 2-3 cook time on low)

Friday 16th of June 2017

Hi Melissa! So excited to hear how you like this chicken! That sauce is SO good. To answer your question I think if you were to cook the chicken for 8 hours it would literally fall off the bone! It would be delicious and maybe you could mix the BBQ sauce with it and have BBQ chicken sandwiches...but for grilling it would be over cooked. The mashed potatoes and baked beans sound wonderful! Keep me posted my friend. ;) Thanks so much for sharing with me. Have a GREAT weekend. ~Norine