With the weather warming up, it’s always nice to move some of the cooking outside to both take advantage of the beautiful weather outside, and keep some of the heat out of the kitchen. I’ve been a fan of Melissa Clark, who writes for the New York Times Cooking section, and when I ran across a recipe from her for a grilled roast chicken, I had to check it out! And it might be one of the easiest, tastiest, and most moist chickens we’ve ever had.
I’ve tried a variety of roasted chickens in the oven, and though they’re often tasty, I feel like they often make a mess in my oven. When you throw it on the grill, you can make a mess and it doesn’t matter. Yay for messy summer cooking! And if you hate trussing chickens – no trussing here!
If you want to check out the original recipe, you can find it here. I cooked mine on a gas grill, but if you have a charcoal grill, her video gives some great details on how to prep the charcoal. You’ll see that she finishes the meal off with some spinach ricotta toasts (cooked in the chicken pan). We tried them, but weren’t blown away, so I haven’t included them with the recipe.
I served the chicken with a romesco sauce (recipe to come soon), but it was honestly so moist and flavorful that you could serve the chicken by itself with a fresh salad and a big chunk of fresh bread. The only thing you need for this one is a bit cast iron pan (I like the Lodge brand as they’re good quality and cheap) and a grill. The grill can be gas or charcoal – either will work. She recommends letting the seasoning marinate on the chicken for 4 hours – I totally forgot that step – so know that if you only let it sit for like…oh 20 minutes…it will still be delicious.
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- finely grated zest of one lemon
- 1 whole chicken - 3½ to 4 lbs - rinsed and patted dry
- extra-virgin olive oil
- Combine the salt, black pepper, chili powder, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Rub it all over the chicken, both inside and out.
- Place the chicken on a rack over a baking pan (to catch and drips) and stick it in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Heat up a gas grill on medium-high heat. Place your cast-iron pan on the grill and close the lid. Let it heat up for 10 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the fridge and use a sharp knife to cut the skin between the body and the legs. Grab the legs and pull them away from the body of the chicken. You'll hear a pop and the legs will be splayed out when they're ready to go. Rub the chicken with olive oil and place it breast-side down in the hot skillet. Cover the grill and cook for 5-7 minutes. It should release from the pan easily when it's ready to flip.
- Using a hefty set of tongs (or tongs and a spatula so you don't lost the guy), flip the chicken over. Cover and cook for another 10-20 minutes, until the bottom starts to brown into a nice golden-brown color. Make sure it doesn't get too brown as it's not done yet and will continue to brown as it cooks.
- Turn off the burners that are under the pan so you're getting indirect heat. Close the grill and continue cooking for another 10-25 minutes at 450F (if you have a thermometer on the grill). You want the chicken breast to be 155F.
- When the chicken is done, transfer to a cutting board and tent it with foil for 10 minutes. Enjoy!