Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr
4 servings (serving size: 1 breast half or 1 thigh and 1 drumstick)

Cooking a whole chicken is easier and more delicious than you might expect. Skip the store-bought variety and try this whole chicken recipe tonight.

How to Make It

Step 1

Prepare grill for indirect grilling. If using a gas grill, heat one side to medium-high and leave one side with no heat. If using a charcoal grill, arrange hot coals on either side of charcoal grate, leaving an empty space in middle.

Step 2

Combine first 7 ingredients; set aside.

Step 3

Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Trim excess fat. Place chicken, breast side down, on a cutting surface. Cut chicken in half lengthwise along backbone, cutting to, but not through, other side. Turn chicken over. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Rub spice mixture under skin. Gently press skin to secure.

Step 4

Place chicken, breast side down, on grill rack coated with cooking spray over direct heat; cover and cook 7 minutes. Turn chicken over; cook 7 minutes. Move chicken over indirect heat; cover and cook 45 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in meaty part of thigh registers 165°. Transfer chicken to a cutting board; let rest 10 minutes. Discard skin.

Step 5

Wine note: An economical meal can include wine. With Grilled Spice-Rubbed Whole Chicken, look to Australia. The Little Penguin Chardonnay 2008 ($6) has juicy stone fruit and mango flavors that couple nicely with the chicken's sweet meat, while a touch of toasty oak helps it to integrate with smoky grilled flavors and eclectic spices. —Jeffery Lindenmuth

Ratings & Reviews

First Time Grilling A Whole Chicken and...

June 22, 2016
It was great!  I followed your directions on prepping and cooking the chicken.  I used my own rub, so I can't comment on that, but I followed how you used the rub.  My chicken came out moist and delicious. It had great flavor and the perfect char to it.  Definitely my new way of cooking chicken.  Thanks!

heychas's Review

June 15, 2014
I thought this was a great recipe. The rub is tasty and the chicken turned out surprisingly tender and moist. I made 50% more rub per the other reviews and made sure to get it under the thighs and legs. I used a gas Weber Spirit grill. I used all 3 burners on medium for phase 1. I had some problems with the fat catching fire so I had to watch it close. I only needed 5 mins per side. Then I turned off the front 2 burners and turned the back burner up to high, which kept the grill between 325 and 350 deg. It took my 4.5 lb bird the initial 10 mins of direct heat and then another 55 min to reach 165. I took the temp measurement from the breast because the thighs reached 165 way early.

stellacorona's Review

December 28, 2012
this was very juicy !! cut backbone completely out with heavy shears. double+ the spices. put olive oil on chicken to adhere the rub better. roasted in convection oven @ 350 on a rack using the probe set internally to 183. came out beautifully! served with cheese grits and spinach salad with pears, red onion, celery etc. daughter kept saying how good the chicken was.......she doesn't like sweet tastes in her poultry, so i told her about the brown sugar when she was all finished !!

RahmOrenstein's Review

August 27, 2012
Excellent recipe! Tried it twice already and both were winners. I used a Weber Q300 gas grill that has built-in direct/indirect heat options and so following the recipe was very easy. The result is an extremely tender and flavorful chicken

secory's Review

May 20, 2012

LeeannKlein's Review

July 16, 2010
The chicken was incredibly flavorful, especially when rubbing the legs and thighs as well as per the recommendation of a previous user. I placed foil over the chicken, not just using the cover of the grill. The chicken was very moist & juicy. Excellent recipe, and my entire family enjoyed it!

Patten's Review

March 27, 2010
did this on the stove and in the oven (set to 350) in a cast iron skillet. was very tasty and juicy! perhaps the broiler would have been better than the stove for the first part and a broiler pan would have been better than the skillet so that the juices/fat don't collect around the meat. anyways - try this even if you don't have a grill! very simple and easy as long as you have an hour to wait for dinner.

CoreyP's Review

August 03, 2009
If you follow the cooking instructions exactly, this is the juiciest, most perfect chicken ever! Definitely put some of the rub on the legs and thighs.

angelsrae's Review

July 17, 2009
This was delicious! I love the idea of doing the chicken on the grill, so it doesn't heat up the house. I was a little confused about the instructions to cut along the backbone (this was my first time cooking a whole chicken) - reading another recipe later that described butterflying a whole chicken, I believe that I was supposed to spread the chicken out on the grill, but I didn't realize that, so I just folded it back up and laid it on the grill as if I hadn't cut along the backbone. This meant that it took longer than 45 minutes, but it still came out fine. I agree with the earlier poster that the breast is really the only part that gets the spice rub - next time I'll be sure to sprinkle it on the legs and thighs too. I served it with a tomato-peach salad and grilled corn, for a really great summer meal. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because the butterflying instructions were unclear - next time I'll do it differently and the recipe will be a keeper.

Tudors1's Review

July 05, 2009
We had mixed reviews in our house on this, the people who ate the breasts thought it was great- the other parts did not really have a lot of flavor, maybe just need to use more rub. Also if we do this again I would use the grill for the direct grilling then throw in the oven for the remainder. It took much longer than the 45 minutes on the indirect heat.