Whole Grilled Chicken

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With this recipe for whole grilled chicken, you won’t battle flare-ups or have burnt skin and undercooked meat.

With this recipe for whole grilled chicken, you won’t battle flare-ups or have burnt skin and undercooked meat.

I love cooking chicken on the grill. One of my favorite recipes is this one or juicy chicken breasts. Lately, though I have been grilling a whole chicken.

The secret to perfectly grilled whole chicken is setting up your grill for indirect heat. Much like this roasted chicken recipe, the indirect heat method roasts the chicken to perfect doneness. Because the chicken isn’t over the flames, you won’t have to deal with flare-ups or burnt skin and underdone meat.

One step that I always take when grilling a chicken is to brine it between 8 and 12 hours. Now, this isn’t a requirement but trust me when I say that you will thank me for suggesting it. If you’ve never brined before, I have a great post here that explains the how’s and why’s of brining.

I kept the seasonings for this recipe very simple, but I have also included suggestions for some spice and herb combinations that will add some delicious variety to your grilled chicken adventures.

I mentioned that we will be using indirect heat to cook the chicken. This is the secret to eliminating flareups and inconsistently cooked chicken. Essentially, we are replicating how an oven cooks but with all of the benefits of using a grill. Like keeping the kitchen cool during the hot summer months. And let’s face it, it’s fun to cook outside!

To set up your grill for indirect cooking follow the directions below. Quick note, before you place the chicken on the grilling grate, I do recommend that you place a drip pan under the grate to catch juices and fat that will be rendered during the cooking process. This is a huge help during cleanup.

Three Burner Gas Grill – turn the left and right burners to medium and ignite. Leave the center burner off. Place the drip pan over the non-lit burner under the grate. You’ll place the chicken in the center over the non-lit burner

Four Burner Gas Grill – turn the two left burners to medium and ignite. Leave the two right burners off. Place the drip pan over the non-lit burners under the grate. You’ll place the chicken in the center of the two burners that are off.

Charcoal Grill – light the charcoal using a chimney lighter. Pour the charcoal out of the chimney and push over to one side of the grill. Leave the other side free of coals. Place the drip pan on the non-charcoal side under the grate. You’ll place the chicken on the side of the grill with no charcoal.

PREPARE THE CHICKEN

  • Remove the giblet package from the body cavity and/or neck. I like to freeze the neck to use it to make stock at a later time.
  • Rinse the chicken and then pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Tie the legs together by wrapping cotton twine around the ankles, pull tight, tie off and cut any excess off.
  • Tuck the wing tips under the body. Grab the wing tip, pull it toward the neck cavity, and tuck it under the body to secure.
  • Massage olive oil over the entire chicken.
  • Season with salt and pepper or use one of the seasoning combinations suggested in the recipe.

Once the grill has reached 350˚F, place the chicken on the grill. For gas grills, you will place the chicken over the unlit burner(s) and for the charcoal grill, the chicken will be placed on the opposite side of the charcoal pile. Note: Keep an eye on the temperature and adjust as necessary.

Close the lid and cook for 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (make sure it isn’t touching the bone) reads 165˚F.  Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Hop over here for a step-by-step guide to perfectly carved chicken.

Oh, no! You forgot to pull the chicken out for the backyard bbq? Have no fear, you can cook it from frozen safely using this method. It may not have the grill marks, but it will be tender and juicy and is sure generate some great conversation.

Print

Whole Grilled Chicken


  • Author: Allie McDonald
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours
  • Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6

Description

With this recipe for whole grilled chicken, you won’t battle flare-ups or have burnt skin and undercooked meat.


Ingredients

  • 1 (3 – 4 lb.) whole chicken, brined for at least 8 hours (brining is optional, but delicious)
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Remove chicken from packaging and remove giblets from the body cavity and/or neck.
  2. Rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Truss legs and tuck wings under the back of the chicken.
  4. Massage olive oil over the breast, legs, wings, and back of the chicken.
  5. Season with salt and pepper (or one of the optional seasoning blends) making sure that the legs and wings are seasoned.
  6. Place on the grill that has been preheated to 350˚F and cook for 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, without touching the bone, reads 165˚F. See note below for indirect heat instructions and placement of chicken.
  7. Transfer to a cutting board and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Notes

Prepping the Grill for Indirect Heat

Three Burner Gas Grill – turn the left and right burners to medium and ignite. Leave the center burner off. Place the drip pan over the non-lit burner under the grate. You’ll place the chicken in the center over the non-lit burner

Four Burner Gas Grill – turn the two left burners to medium and ignite. Leave the two right burners off. Place the drip pan over the non-lit burners under the grate. You’ll place the chicken in the center of the two burners that are off.

Charcoal Grill – light the charcoal using a chimney lighter. Pour the charcoal out of the chimney and push over to one side of the grill. Leave the other side free of coals. Place the drip pan on the non-charcoal side under the grate. You’ll place the chicken on the side of the grill with no charcoal.

 Optional Spice Blends

Jamaican Jerk Spice Seasoning

  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

Mexican Spice Seasoning

  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground chipotle

Lemon Herb Rub

  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. lemon pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
With this recipe for whole grilled chicken, you won’t battle flare-ups or have burnt skin and undercooked meat. #chicken #grilling #grilledchicken #wholechicken

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