I’ve been grilling for a while. Years. Have I ever taken it seriously? Yes – well, seriously enough to find that steak recipe I like… Seriously enough to find that grilled whole chicken recipe I like… Seriously enough to switch to a charcoal chimney… All-in-all, maybe more serious than the casual griller, but not much more serious than that.
This memorial day, it’s time to BBQ a whole chicken. I mean – grill a chicken and use BBQ sauce. I specify that because there seems to be some dispute over what folks mean when they say BBQ.
My method for grilling a whole chicken comes from the Serious Eats blog. That article describes the author’s quest to find the best way to grill chicken, and I have found that it produces a wonderfully grilled roaster chicken in about 1.5 hours – a long time to wait, but just don’t plan to make this recipe in a hurry.
The gist is this:
- Start the grill with all the coals over on one side. This will let you create a two-zone fire.
- Butterfly the chicken. Stick metal skewers through it to hold it flat later. I like roaster-sized chickens for this, because there’s lots left-over.
- Cook the chicken over the cool side of the grill, skin facing up, legs facing the hotter side of the grill.
- When the chicken breasts hit at least 120℉ and the legs are at least 145℉, flip the chicken over, skin-side down, onto the hot side of the grill.
- Cook until the breasts are 145℉ to 150℉, the rest should be 165℉. This only takes about 10 minutes.
- Take it off and rest covered 10 minutes.
- Cut ’em up.
Ok – so how will BBQ sauce make this different? I’m going to base this on another post from Serious Eats. Some things that’ll be different from what they recommend there: I’m only flipping the chicken once, and I’m doing a whole chicken. First, I’ll apply 1/2 tsp salt per pound, then let the chicken sit in the fridge uncovered 2 hours. Then, I’ll butterfly and use a dry rub, and put it on the grill. Then, after maybe an hour grilling, and well before the breasts hit 120℉ and I have to move to the hot-side, I’ll brush BBQ sauce on the skin side, maybe every 10-20 minutes. Then after I flip it to the hot side I’ll brush BBQ sauce on the bottom once – it’ll come off shortly after.
Time to go to the store and get a roaster… I plan to use the Meathead Memphis Dust dry rub – it’s good on ribs and pulled pork, so let’s try it here.