Copycat Kenny Rogers Roasters Chicken

Its the same wood-fire favourite in the comfort of your own home. Copycat Kenny Rogers Roasters Chicken is a recreation of Kenny Rogers Chicken dish made by marinating chicken in tamari, brown sugar, tomato paste, oregano, lemon, garlic, onions and mustard before rubbing it with a dry dry rub of onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and peppers.

During the days I was still dating my wife up until my last day in the Philippines before I migrated overseas, Kenny Rogers Roasters was one of the places we dined in on a regular basis, we loved their chicken, we loved their side dishes and in fact most of the things they offer. I am not sure how popular this roast chicken chain outside of Asia but in case you haven’t heard about this place, it’s basically a chain of chicken-based restaurants founded in 1991 by country musician Kenny Rogers and former KFC CEO John Y. Brown Jr It has a presence in America, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Asia at its peak, where they have around 350 restaurants. Sadly, in late 2000’s American operations died down and the company was sold to their Asian franchisee, last shop in America closed last 2011. Despite the closure of American restaurants, in Asia this restaurant is still thriving where they are still alive and popular in countries like Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, China, Indonesia, India, Brunei and Cambodia.

Their most popular item on the menu is their wood-fired rotisserie chicken and thats the one we order everytime we dined in here before, today like my Jollibee posts and other Filipino restaurant copycats, I am recreating this at home first becuase I miss them and there are no other ways to get hold of it, so the next best thing is to make a recipe by reconstructing the dish based on past experience and memories, so far I think I got it nearly similar, I will leave it up to you to try and judge the recipe below and let us know how did it stand up against the original one.

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Copycat Kenny Rogers Roasters Chicken

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Raymund
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 20 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: American


Copycat Kenny Rogers Roasters Chicken is a recreation of Kenny Rogers Chicken dish made by marinating chicken in tamari, brown sugar, tomato paste, oregano, lemon, garlic, onions and mustard before rubbing it with a dry dry rub of onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and peppers.


Units Scale


  • 1 whole large chicken
  • 1/2 cup sea salt
  • 1/2 cup chicken fat or duck fat, see notes below for homemade version


  • 2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp tamari or any good quality soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 large white onion, quartered

Dry Rub

  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper


  1. Place the chicken in a large container, pour sea salt all over the surface while massaging the chicken. Set it aside for 20 minutes, then rinse the salt off and pat the chicken fully dry.
  2. In a food processor or nutribullet combine all Marinade ingredients together then process to make a paste. Set this aside.
  3. Place chicken together with the marinade in a heavy duty large Ziplock bag. Rub it all over the body as well as inside the cavity. Seal, removing the air then refrigerate overnight.
    1 hour prior to cooking remove the chicken from the refrigerator.
  4. Combine all dry rub ingredients together then set it aside
  5. Remove chicken from the marinade, reserve the liquid and place it in a small bowl together with the chicken or duck fat, this will be your basting liquid. Rub the dry rub all over the chicken. Place the chicken, breast side up, in a roasting pan.
  6. Roast chicken in a 135C preheated oven for 4 hours or until cooked. Baste the chicken with the basting liquid every hour for the first three hours and every 15 minutes on the last hour.
  7. Remove from oven then let it rest for 15 minutes prior to cutting and serving.
  8. Serve with your favourite sides, like mac and cheese, corn muffins, coleslaw and corn and carrots.


  • Since we are not using a commerical wood-fire rotisserie oven, we are recreating the flavour with the use of liquid smoke.  Chicken fat is also used to baste as in a batch rotisserie, chicken is constantly basted with chicken fat dripping from the chicken above, giving better flavours.
  • To make chicken fat, boil 1 kg of chicken skin in 2 cups of water until water evaporates, continue to cook until it renders fat. Once it starts to render fat lower the heat then continue to cook for until fat clarifies and skin becomes crispy. The crispy skin can be served as a Chicken skin chicharon but eat in moderation.


10 Responses

  1. Chef Mimi says:

    Nice. I didn’t know Kenny Rogers had a restaurant or a chicken recipe! Live and learn! I’ve never been fond of liquid smoke, but this recipe is very tempting!

  2. Michelle says:

    I had no idea Kenny Rogers had a restaurant! Aside: I was gifted a Kenny Rogers cassette when I was a kid! HAHA! But this chicken looks so yummy!

  3. The marinade sounds really great. Bet chicken tastes amazingly flavourful and delicious.

  4. I have to confess I’ve never heard of this chain, but I do like myself a good roast chicken. And this one looks delicious.

  5. I had no idea that Kenny Rogers had a restaurant chain! The chicken looks amazing, Raymund! I always learned so much from every single one of your posts!

  6. suituapui says:

    I love Kenny Rogers Roasters, too bad we do not have an outlet here. Love the chicken…and the muffins too!

  7. This chicken is perfectly browned and so inviting. I am normally not a huge fan of the skins – but that’s not the case here (I will not share haha).

  8. Christian says:

    I’m interested in trying this. I recall many Sunday dinners at Kenny Rogers Roasters in Baldwin, NY. It was a great restaurant with real fire fueled by the wood that decorated the restaurant. They played his music and the sides were really good too. I still dream of this juicy chicken, I hope this recipe works for me!

  9. Brit says:

    I miss Kennys and also The original Oak Roaster CHICKEN CLUckers…
    They sued Keeny and then he bought them out and closed them down .
    Wished someone could tell us what that recipe was on how they basted their Chicken….

  10. Kristi says:

    My parents used to take us weekly to kenny rogers roasters when i was a kid. It was so freaking delicious and I miss it and wish it never closed!

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