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Sweet Heat Cheerwine Chicken

sweet heat cheerwine chicken on a plate

Sweet Heat Cheerwine Chicken is sure to make everyone smile a deeply southern toothy grin and then, suddenly, you’ll notice that the table is EERILY QUIET with everyone licking plates clean! Think I’m kidding? Oh no, I’m not, this recipe is every bit as enticing as my last chicken escapade!

Sweet Heat Cheerwine Chicken

Southerners love nothing better than a great marinade and easy tasty homemade barbecue sauce! That said, don’t ask about proper bbq sauce, you’ll be sorry! It’ll start an actual fight! This homegrown version puts so many others to shame and here’s my secrets: 

  1. Layers of Flavor– using sweet, heat, savory and umami that everyone has in their pantry and fridge! 
  2. Marinate the Chicken – uses Cheerwine to keep the chicken moist and flavorful, you can’t go wrong! 
  3. Extra Flavorful BBQ Sauce – and HEY! You make it yourself! Bragging rights all the way around! 
chicken on a fork

Now, are you ready for your socks to blow off your feet when you try a bite of this moist flavorful chicken that uses your favorite southern soda in the sauce? I thought so!  (AND THE BONUS? The recipe gives you other ways to cook this delicious chicken! You don’t have to grill it! Nope! Use what you have!).

Cheerwine Marinade

Here’s What You’ll Need For the Marinade:

ingredients on a table
  • Cheerwine – this is the primary flavoring ingredient  and sweetness in the marinade.  There’s so much going on in the soda that it lends a bunch of flavors without you even knowing it! (It does give the meat a pink tinged color though). 
  • Soy Sauce – adds salt and umami that you can’t find anywhere else. Perfect for balancing the color as well. 
  • Minced Garlic – garlic adds an undeniable fresh tang that you don’t want to miss. 
  • Lemon Juice – This gives the acid balance that you want in a marinade to help make it juicy and tender! 
  • Red Pepper Flakes – Hello heat! No worries, this heat isn’t more than what you would find in your salsa at the Mexican restaurant. It’s just a pleasant hum that rides happily along.
  • Vegetable Oil – gives a sticky agent so that the marinade sticks and gives the whole recipe a little fat (which your tongue needs to taste the goodness!).
  • Yellow Mustard – You’ll usually find dijon mustard in recipes but this one just needed the extra kick of the yellow mustard, just trust me. 
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Here’s What You’ll Need For the BBQ SAUCE:

ingredients on cutting board

Essentially you are using many of the same ingredients for the BBQ sauce as for the marinade, HOWEVER, DO NOT reuse the marinade for your BBQ sauce! That could end tragically.  Besides, this has a few extra ingredients to ensure your success! 

  • Cheerwine – Adding Zip, Zing and depth of flavor as well as some sugar! All the flavors of the South you LOVE!
  • Soy Sauce – an umami of flavors packed in this delightful liquid
  • Minced Garlic – a fresh tang.
  • Lemon Juice – the acidity that balances the whole thing. 
  • Red Pepper Flakes – adding the HEAT!
  • Karo Syrup – makes up some of the SWEET!
  • Honey – a sweet that helps with caramelization!
  • Brown Sugar – it’s sweetly southern and adds a bang of flavor!
  • Yellow Mustard – some real tang!
  • Salt and Pepper 
  • Vegetable Oil – to make it all glide across the grill!
sauce on the back of spoon

There are THREE KEY STEPS to this stage of the recipe…

  1. Heat this on the stovetop until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. That’s when you’ll know it’s right. 
  2. Paint the sauce onto the chicken on both sides before putting it on the grill, then frequently while cooking to allow a char to develop. YUM!
  3. Save back 25% of the sauce to serve at the table with the chicken. 

How To Make Sweet Heat Cheerwine Chickencollage of ingredients

  Key Steps: 

  1. Cut the chicken into useable pieces (cut in half like a filet) if they are extra thick. 
  2. Marinate the chicken for 1-24 hours
  3. Make the BBQ Sauce
  4. Coat the chicken with BBQ sauce while it cooks! 

What To Serve With This Dish? 

chicken on a plate

We LOVE a pan Sweet Potato Hash Browns or even Collard Greens!  You could always indulge in some Texas Toast

Tips and Tricks

  • Make sure that your chicken isn’t thicker than ½ inch. Either pound it flatter or cut it in half (like a book). 
  • Add more or less red pepper flakes to increase or decrease the heat. 
  • This will make about a cup and a half of bbq sauce (so you won’t have a lot left over to use on other stuff). Make a double amount if you want it for other things. 
  • Be sure to reserve some for use at the table. 
  • If the sauce has completely cooled, you might want to warm it slightly before serving at the table. This helps to keep the chicken warm AND thins the sauce slightly. 
  • You’ll know the sauce is done when it coats the back of a spoon and you can draw a line through it with your finger and the line stays on the back of the spoon. 
  • Don’t try to save money by saving the marinade and using it for the sauce, that’s dangerous because it could have harmful bacteria from soaking the raw chicken in it. 
  • If you don’t want to grill this chicken, no problem! Just put it in a baking dish and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Paint with the sauce every 5 minutes. Cook to an internal temp of 165. 
  • You can also make on the stove top by cooking it in a frying pan over medium heat. Pour the sauce into the pan and spoon it up onto the chicken as it cooks.

If You Enjoyed This Chicken Dish, You Might Also Enjoy…

BBQ Chicken Nachos Ginger Lime Chicken Lemon Chicken Piccata

Watch How To Make It

Can You Help Me Out? 

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sweet heat cheerwine chicken on a plate

Sweet Heat Cheerwine Chicken

Sweet Heat Cheerwine Chicken is sure to make everyone smile a deeply southern toothy grin and then, suddenly, you’ll notice that the table is EERILY QUIET as people lap up every single last bite, ask for more and lick their plates clean! Think I’m kidding? Oh no, I’m not, this recipe is every bit as enticing as my last chicken escapade!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: sweet heat cheerwine chicken
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
marinating time: 1 hour
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 1268kcal
Author: Wendi Spraker

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs chicken breast

For the Marinade

  • ¾ Cup Cheerwine
  • ¼ Cup Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tbs Minced Garlic
  • 3 Tbs Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • ½ Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Tbs Yellow Mustard
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

For the Cheerwine BBQ Sauce

  • 1 Cup Cheerwine
  • ¼ Cup Soy Sauce
  • ¼ Cup honey
  • ½ Cup Dark Karo Syrup
  • 3 Tbs Butter
  • 2 C Brown Sugar
  • 3 Tbs Minced Garlic
  • 3 Tbs Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Tbs Yellow Mustard
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Instructions

For the Marinade

  • Cut the chicken into ½ inch thickness filets.
  • Put the chicken and all of the marinade ingredients into a large zip lock bag, seal and mix together well. Refrigerate for 1-24 hours.

For the Cheerwine BBQ Sauce

  • Heat all of the sauce ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently. Eventually, the sauce will cook down and thicken. You want the sauce thick enough to coat the back of a spoon leaving a clear line when you run your finger across it (see photo or video).
    sauce on the back of spoon
  • Remove the sauce from the heat.
  • Place ⅓ of the sauce in a bowl to reserve for use at the table.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade (don’t be tempted to keep it, it could make you sick at this point). Just toss it.
  • Preheat the grill to medium
  • Cook the chicken to an internal temperature of 165. Paint the chicken with the sauce frequently while it is cooking. Discard the sauce used for cooking the chicken when done at the grill.
  • Serve hot. Garnish with fresh herbs.

Notes

  • Add more or less red pepper flakes to increase or decrease the heat.
  • This will make about a cup and a half of bbq sauce (so you won’t have a lot left over to use on other stuff). Make a double amount if you want it for other things.
  • Be sure to reserve some for use at the table.
    If the sauce has completely cooled, you might want to warm it slightly before serving at the table. This helps to keep the chicken warm AND thins the sauce slightly.
  • You’ll know the sauce is done when it coats the back of a spoon and you can draw a line through it with your finger and the line stays on the back of the spoon.
    Don’t try to save money by saving the marinade and using it for the sauce, that’s dangerous because it could have harmful bacteria from soaking the raw chicken in it.
  • If you don’t want to grill this chicken, no problem! Just put it in a baking dish and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Paint with the sauce every 5 minutes. Cook to an internal temp of 165.
  • You can also make on the stove top by cooking it in a frying pan over medium heat.
  • Pour the sauce into the pan and spoon it up onto the chicken as it cooks.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Sweet Heat Cheerwine Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1268 Calories from Fat 387
% Daily Value*
Fat 43g66%
Saturated Fat 29g145%
Cholesterol 168mg56%
Sodium 3072mg128%
Potassium 1786mg51%
Carbohydrates 176g59%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 166g184%
Protein 53g106%
Vitamin A 631IU13%
Vitamin C 15mg18%
Calcium 228mg23%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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A VERSE TO SHARE

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Matthew 12:25

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Wendi J Spraker

Wednesday 16th of September 2020

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