How to Cook a Whole Grilled Whole Chicken

grilled chicken

Grilling a whole chicken creates a juicy and moist flesh with a tasty charred skin that is simply irresistible. In this simple recipe adapted from The Grilling Encyclopedia by A. Cort Sinnes, whole chicken is rubbed with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and grilled until cooked through. With a few simple ingredients you can create a feast for the whole family or for your friends.

Grilling whole chicken is similar to roasting but the nice thing about grilling is you get a smoky barbecue flavor. One of the important things to remember when grilling a whole chicken is that you have to preheat the grill and it has to be hot enough before you even add the chicken. You can use a gas grill or a charcoal grill, as long as you use indirect heat to grill the chicken. Cooking it on direct heat will bun the skin long before the inside is cooked.

The chicken needs to be fully thawed and at room temperature before you cook it in the grill. Rinse it well with cool water and pat it dry. Rub the chicken with the oil and garlic mixture inside and out. If you wish, you can stuff the inside of the chicken with your favorite herbs like lemon grass, sage, rosemary or tarragon. Lemon wedges inside the cavity also give the chicken awesome flavor; if you want to keep it simple place garlic cloves inside. Don’t overdo the stuffing, however, or it will slow down the cooking time and make the chicken cook unevenly. Only use a few herbs to give aroma and flavor.

Make sure the grill is clean before you even begin heating it. Any residue will affect the taste of the bird. Brush the grill with some olive oil and place the chicken breast side up on the coolest spot on the grill. Close the grill and let the chicken cook. Use a meat thermometer to determine its doneness.

  • 1 whole chicken
  • Olive oil
  • 5 to 10 garlic cloves
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Salt

Step 1

Prepare and preheat the grill. Wash the chicken and pat dry. Place in a disposable aluminum pan.

Step 2

In a small bowl, pour a few tablespoons of olive oil. Mince the garlic cloves and add to the oil, along with salt and pepper to taste. Add more oil, if necessary, to make a paste.

Step 3

Rub the paste on the meat of the bird, under the skin. Rub any remaining paste on the skin of the bird.

Step 4

When the coals of the grill are coated in gray ash, divide the coals in half and place each half to one side of the fire grate. Place the pan with the chicken on the center of the grill. Cover, leaving the top and bottom vents open. Cook the bird until an insta-read thermometer reads 185 degrees F., about 1 to 1 ½ hours.

Step 5

Remove the chicken and before carving, place it on a platter for 10 minutes, tenting it with foil.

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