Top 5 Ways to Grill a Whole Chicken

Cook, How-To, Learn, Recipe Roundup

Cooking chickens whole has gained popularity recently, as we’re all catching on to the fact it’s the cheapest — and often easiest — way to prepare the birds. The flavor is also better than boneless pieces since the bones help develop great flavor. On Memorial Day weekend, scrap the burgers and try a new grill challenge: a whole grilled chicken.


Actually, it’s not all that challenging. Yes, the breasts, thighs and drumsticks often require different cooking times, but the trick is to use indirect heat so the bird cooks evenly throughout.

Here are some favorite ways for taming your bird on the grill.


lassic Grilled Whole ChickenThe basic bird 

A traditional no-fuss Classic Grilled Whole Chicken relies on a grill that’s transformed into an oven for indirect-heat grilling. By creating zones of heat on the grill, you can ensure the chicken cooks low, slow and evenly.

Chicken Under a BrickWeight it
Butterflying a chicken before grilling it makes for crispier skin. This Chicken Under a Brick calls for a weight to press the bird against the grill, giving you great grill marks. Tip: a cast-iron pan works equally well as an actual brick.
Grill-Roasted Chicken with Chimichurri RojoDouble your pleasure

If you’re feeding a crowd, why not grill two birds at once? Our vertical chicken roaster allows you to stand the chickens upright as they cook, propped on cones filled with beer, wine or any liquid you want to flavor and moisten the meat. Grill-Roasted Chicken with Chimichurri Rojo is a hit with reviewers. For a different (and delicious) twist, try this recipe with potatoes and green beans.


Rotisserie ChickenTake it for a spin 

If you have the tools, spit-roasting a chicken may be the most effective way to lock in the meat’s moisture. The spit, or rotisserie, rotates at a constant speed above the fire, so the bird cooks slowly and evenly. Try this Rotisserie Chicken recipe for smoky, herb-infused flavor.

Hickory Grill-Smoked ChickenSmoke it 

Speaking of smoke, what’s not to love about the taste of BBQ-style chicken? With a smoker box or foil packet, you can make our Hickory Grill-Smoked Chicken, which gains its flavor from aromatic hickory chips and a peppery rub.


What’s your favorite way to cook whole chickens on the grill? Let me know in the comments below!

21 comments about “Top 5 Ways to Grill a Whole Chicken

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  8. Jacob Baker

    Hey Olivia,

    Congratulations on this food blog, it’s awesome! I’m looking forward to trying these whole chicken recipes!

    Your MS friend,


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  11. Dan Mouer

    I am now well into my 7th decade, but I have never eaten chicken tastier than what I grew up with when my Uncle Millard cooked for special occasions in my youth. Millard was a country boy from eastern North Carolina. His method was to dig a shallow rectangular pit in trhe yard, fill it with hardwood or charcoal, and cook the coals down to a mellow glow. He’d cover the pit with an oiled iron grate and spread whole butterflied chickens on top.

    The chickens would cook very slowly and Millard would sit on a chair adjacent to his pit tending them the whole time. He kept a spray bottle to extinguish any flare-ups, and he kept a big old pickle jar full of “mopping” sauce for basting at his side. The “mop” was in fact a toilet-cleaning rag mop on a shot handle. The sauce was cider vinegar, perhaps diluted with a little water and seasoned with a pinch of sugar and some red pepper flakes. He had a long fork he used to turn the chickens part way throught their roasting.

    To this day I insist there is no better chicken to be had anywhere in the world than my Uncle Millar’s BBQ!

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  14. nativ

    Hi, could you please suggest some more sources where I could get reliable information about Infrared smoker roaster and grill.

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  16. Christopher Scheuer

    Portuguese Style – Piri Piri – Butterfly removing backbone. Quinta’s Chicken Wet Rub – Coat & Cook –
    Baste w. Quinta’s Piri Piri Hot, Lemon Pepper, Garlic Pepper or Lemon Herb – Select your flavor for each side. Enjoy!

  17. Christopher Scheuer

    Portuguese Style! Butterfly removing backbone – Quinta’s Wet Rub, Coat & Cook – Baste w. Quinta’s Hot Piri Piri, Special Chicken, Lemon Pepper, Garlic Pepper Piri Piri and/or Lemon Herb Baste- Choose your flavor for each side. Enjoy!

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