How to Grill a Whole Chicken

Grilling gives your bird a crispy, smoky exterior and a tender interior in a flash.

Grilling a Whole Chicken

Photo: Randy Mayor

Grilling a Whole Chicken

The less intense heat of indirect grilling is the best way to grill a whole chicken. The high heat of direct grilling is too intense—the exterior will overcook and burn before the interior gets done.

View Recipe: Grilled Spice-Rubbed Whole Chicken

Cut Chicken in Half

Photo: Oxmoor House

1. Cut Chicken in Half

Cut the chicken in half lengthwise across the backbone, cutting to, but not through, the other side. This allows heat to more easily penetrate the interior of the bird.

Season Under Skin

Photo: Oxmoor House

2. Season Under Skin

Rub the seasonings under the skin of the bird, and press the skin so they’ll stay in place. It’s best to keep the skin on the bird while it grills—it helps hold in moisture. Remove and discard it after grilling.

Cook Over Direct Heat

Photo: Oxmoor House

3. Cook Over Direct Heat

Place the chicken, breast side down, over direct heat, and cook for 7 minutes on each side to quickly brown the exterior.

Move to Indirect Heat

Photo: Oxmoor House

4. Move to Indirect Heat

Move the chicken to indirect heat, and cover the grill. The covered grill acts like an oven allowing heat to circulate around the bird and cook it to perfection.

Use Thermometer to Test Doneness

Photo: Oxmoor House

5. Use Thermometer to Test Doneness

Use a thermometer to test doneness. Take a few readings in different parts of the bird to ensure the whole chicken has reached a safe temperature of 165°.

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