I have to say, I am way proud of myself for grilling a whole chicken. I had some major help though, from one of my favorite food blogs, Food Wishes. Chef John creates videos that demonstrate all of his recipes, so novices like me can feel all accomplished.
I fell for this recipe the minute I saw it. What makes grilling with barbecue sauce difficult is that the sugars in the sauce burn almost instantly, leaving you with an incinerated chicken every time.
The technique of grilling the chicken almost the entire way skin-side up guarantees you get a beautifully glazed chicken, plus the char and smokiness from the grill that you came for.
I have written out the steps here, but if you’re a more visual learner, or just want to watch a master, you can check out the video recipe here.
-Your chicken needs to be cut in half for this. Since the occupation of “butcher” doesn’t seem to exist in Orange County, I took a chicken to the meat counter at Albertsons and asked if they had halved chicken. The man took my request literally, leaving me to figure out how to remove half of a backbone from each side and mutilating one of the thighs in the process. (foodie problems..)
-Get a meat thermometer. Life will be much easier.
Grilled Whole BBQ Chicken
2 Chicken halves
1/4c rice vinegar
2 tbsp of your favorite barbecue sauce, plus more for brushing
2 cloves crushed garlic
For the rub:
1 tbsp salt
1tsp black pepper
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
-Cut some deep (1/2-1in) slashes in the meat of the chicken. 1 or 2 slices per part (thigh, breast, and leg). This is to make it easier for the sauce and marinade to penetrate the meat.
-In a large bowl, combine rice vinegar, 2 tbsp barbecue sauce, and garlic. Toss chicken halves in the marinade, coating thoroughly.
-Refrigerate chicken halves sit skin-side down in the marinade for 1 hour
-Combine rub ingredients in a small bowl, set aside.
-Remove chicken halves and pat dry with paper towels, then coat with dry rub.
-Place on preheated grill skin side down for 3 to 4 minutes. This is to get those great grill marks you want. Once you feel you've gotten some good char, flip them over and cook it skin side up the rest of the way. No flipping!
-Brush barbecue sauce on the now skin-side up chicken, then place lid on the grill with the vents barely open. Every 6 or 7 minutes you want to open the lid and baste with the sauce until the chicken is fully cooked, about 30 minutes (depending on the size of the chicken). This creates a glaze on the chicken without burning it.
-Impress yourself with how delicious it is :)