Cooking a chicken whole is the cheapest—and often easiest—way to prepare the bird. Since bones help develop great flavor, you’ll also end up with a better-tasting meal than if you were eating boneless chicken breasts or thighs. So the next time you fire up the grill, scrap those burger patties in favor of a new grill challenge: a whole grilled chicken.
In truth, cooking a bird whole on the grill 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 five of our favorite ways to tame your bird on an open flame.
|The 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.
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.
|Double 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.
|Take 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.
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 a chicken whole? Share it with us below!