How to Cook a Whole Chicken on the Grill

If your grill does not have a rotisserie spit, you may have never tried to roast a whole chicken. Rotisserie spits are great and they can produce a moist and tender chicken, but it is possible to get the same results without one. Gas grills are excellent for low and slow cooking and roasting, but they just require a little bit of attention and detail to make sure that there are no flare-ups and that the meat does not burn. Roast chicken done on the grill can be succulent and delicious.

At the grocery store or butcher, there are different sizes for whole chickens:

  • broiler – a small chicken usually around 2 – 2 1/2 pounds.
  • fryer – also a small chicken around 3 or 4 pounds.
  • roaster – a larger chicken that is over 4 pounds.

I like to get a 5 or 6 pound chicken to roast on the grill. I find, when roasted on the grill, it produces some of the most tender and juicy breast meat out of all of them.

There are some tools you will need when grilling a whole chicken.

  1. Meat Thermometer – Because of the different sizes of birds and the reality that every grill is different in how it distributes and maintains the heat time is not how we will determine when the chicken is done. A meat thermometer, stuck in the thigh portion of the bird, will determine when the bird is fully cooked and ready to be served. An internal temperature of 180F is needed and it is in the thigh portion of the chicken that is the last place to reach that temperature. Once it is at or very near 175F, the chicken is safe to eat.
  2. Roasting Rack – Along with a thermometer, I use a roasting rack to rest the bird. This lifts it up  the bird off the grill racks. The racks are a little closer to the flame and I find that they can burn the bottom of the bird if the chicken is resting right on them. A roasting rack allows all of the bird to be evenly cooked.
  3. Drip Pan – This is essential because it prevents any flare-ups to occur which can char the bird. The drip pan also protects the bottom of the bird from the direct heat of the flame and gives the chickn more of an indirect method of cooking.

How to cook a whole chicken on the grill-10

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5 from 2 votes

How to Cook a Whole Chicken on the Grill

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 4 -6
Author Steve Cylka

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken , around 5-6 pounds
  • fresh herbs
  • wedge of lemon
  • 4 whole garlic cloves
  • 1/2 onion
  • 4 tbsp butter , melted
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Place drip pan under the grill where the chicken will be cooking.
  • Set the grill to a medium high heat - around 375-425F.
  • Wash and clean the bird.
  • Place some fresh herbs, lemon wedge, and half and onion in the cavity of the chicken.
  • Brush the melted butter all over the skin of the bird. Sprinkle salt and pepper all over the skin of the bird.
  • Using kitchen twine, tie the legs of the chicken together.
  • Stick meat thermometer into the thigh portion of the bird (in between the breast and drumstick)
  • Place chicken on the roasting rack, or directly on the grill (if you do not have a roasting rack).
  • Close lid and cook until the meat thermometer reads 175F (around 1 1/2 hours).
  • Remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest for about 10 minutes, before carving.

How to cook a whole chicken on the grill-8

About Steve Cylka

Steve is the author of The Black Peppercorn. He is a recipe developer and food photographer. His recipes have been featured on websites like Bradley Smoker, Times Picayune, Buzzfeed, and Basil & Salt. He has also authored and co-authored a couple cookbooks.

3 comments

  1. That is one beautiful chicken. 🙂

  2. I followed the recipe to the letter and got a chicken as beautiful as the one in the picture. Moist and tasty.

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