This simple whole grilled chicken is a staple of our summer meals. I mean, I hate to even cook those pre-packaged chicken breasts anymore because they will never compare in price and taste to a whole grilled chicken. When done right (which is easy to do), this preparation results in deliciously crispy skin and meat so tender and juicy, you’ll wonder why you’ve been grilling chicken any other way. The only thing that this recipe really needs is a little bit of time and prep work.
Here you go:
2 Hours Before Dinner
- Get your whole chicken out of the fridge. Sometimes we brine the birdie, sometimes we don’t. If you are brining the clucker, I would recommend not brining for more than 12-14 hours. If I am brining a chicken, I usually use lots of garlic- like enough garlic to chock an old Italian lady.
- Rinse the bird throughly under cold water. Pat dry. Do not be afraid to use copious amounts of paper towel, you want this bird dry.
- Now for some butchering! With a really sharp knife, or better yet, really sharp kitchen shears, cut out the spine of the bird. Basically, put the bird on your cutting board breast side down, and cut 2 lines from opening to opening on either side of the spine (which will be running down the center of your chicken). Flip the chicken and press down to flatten.
Here’s a great video I found that shows this step, by step.
Let your chicken sit and come to room temperature. I leave it out for an hour.
1 Hour Before Dinner
- LIBERALLY season your bird. No need to do anything fancy. I use a bunch of kosher salt and some fresh cracked black pepper. season the top and the bottom.
- Tie the legs together at the bottom of the drumstick. This helps keep the chicken compact, and also makes it easier for flipping when on the grill.
- Place your chicken on the HOT grill breast side down over medium heat. Watch for flare ups. There’s a lot of flavor (fat) in that skin, and it will catch fire. I usually wait 6-7 minutes and then give it a quarter of a turn so I get some sexy grill marks.
- After 12-14 minutes, Flip the bird over, so the breast side is up.
- After 5 minutes turn off the heat UNDER the chicken (or if you are using coal, move to a cool spot on the grill), and cook with indirect heat for 30 minutes. I like to make sure my grill stays hot during this process. It will ensure that you have a crispy skin. I try to keep the grill at around 400 degrees F.
- Check the temperature of the bird. I am a HUGE fan of the Thermapen. It is the BEST thermometer you can buy and has never failed me. I take my chicken off the grill when the coolest part of the chicken is at 157 degrees F. This will allow it to rise to 165 once it’s resting. If your chicken isn’t done, keep checking every 5 minutes or so.
- Sprinkle with herbs. Usually I just chop up some fresh thyme and throw it on the bird while it rests.
- Let your bird rest for 7-8 minutes before carving. It should look something like this:
Carve the bird yourself so that you can steal all of the stray bits of meat and skin that fall off in the process.
You deserve it.