Grilling whole chickens requires a little bit of technique, then you can make memorable meals. Grilled chicken is one of those staples, around our house usually on Sunday nights. Grilled whole chickens can be simple or dressed up with almost any cuisine or influences. There are a couple of ways to go for grilling whole chickens, keeping the natural form like most roast or rotisserie chickens or spatchcocking the chicken.
Spatchcocking a chicken flattens them out and allows for a bit more even cooking on the grill and is good for marinated or spice rubbed chicken recipes. When grilling whole chickens we still want to use some indirect heat, however spatchcocking does even out some of the cooking time. Here we are providing a stuffed chicken recipe, which I like in the more classic presentation. Here is a great recipe for a spicy Italian flavored spatchcocked chicken recipe using our own Fra Diavolo Rub!
The key for grilling whole chickens is creating an indirect fire so the heat does not burn the chicken before it cooks through. This also prevents those fat drip flare ups that can reduce your meal to a lump of charcoal.
On a gas grill this is as simple as not turning on all the burners, leaving the center burner off and the sides on to cook your bird evenly.
On a charcoal grill start your coals on in a chimney or your preferred method.
Then distribute the coals to the edges of the grill away from under the chicken as pictured below. Now an optional step is to place a foil pan with some water (1/4 inch) in the center of the charcoals to catch drippings. This is important if cooking duck or very fatty birds but normally with chicken it is optional. But, it does keep your grill cleaner.
Grilling whole chickens stuffed under the skin with a variety of quality fresh ingredients is superb and this recipe has been a favorite of ours for years. We have shared it with many friends and family. It uses indirect grill heat to grill/roast the chicken. The result of grilling whole chickens is more flavorful that from the oven. Do try this great recipe and not as hard as it may seem, it is really great and perfect for entertaining.
4-5 lb chicken – choose one that the skin looks as intact as possible.
1 5 oz Chevre cheese or French Montrachet
1 shallot Minced
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 tablespoons fresh herbs, any basil, Italian parsley, oregano, chives, tarragon, thyme etc
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Mix the chevre, herbs, garlic, shallots, and all until combined adjust salt and pepper.
Unwrap the chicken, remove the giblets and rinse well. Fold the wings under themselves so they are tight.
At the front, slide your fingers gently under the skin over the breast on both sides. Be careful not to tear or make holes in the skin. Using your fingers stuff the cheese mixture under the skin evenly on both sides. Do not push through the back at the neck. Smooth the lumps from the outside and evenly spread.
For the outside of the chicken
Herbs de Provence or Thyme.
Oil or melted butter
Season the outside of your chicken to your preference. Tie the legs tight to the breast for more even cooking.
Rub the chicken lightly with olive oil or melted butter if you prefer.
Sprinkle with the Salt, Pepper and Herbs de Provence.
Here is the chicken stuffed and the legs tied.
Set your chicken in the center of the coals.
Cook for roughly 20 minute per pound to an internal temp of 165 degrees. Check your coals during the cooking period to ensure they stay lit and hot enough. Allow your chicken to rest for 20 minutes before slicing.