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America's Test Kitchen Easy Grill-Roasted Whole Chicken (Ep 2020)

00000184-78d7-de85-a3f7-faf7168d0000Easy Grill-Roasted Whole Chicken

Serves 4

We developed this recipe on a three-burner gas grill with burners that run from front to back. In this recipe, we refer to the two outside burners as the primary burners and the center burner as the secondary burner. If you're using a two-burner grill, use the side with the wood chips as the primary burner and the other side as the secondary burner. Adjust the primary burner to maintain a grill temperature between 375 and 400 degrees. Place the chicken 6 inches from the primary burner and rotate it after 25 minutes of cooking in step 4 so that it cooks evenly.


  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (3½- to 4½-pound) whole chicken, giblets discarded
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½-¼ cup wood chips

INSTRUCTIONS 1. Combine salt and pepper in bowl. Pat chicken dry with paper towels, then rub entire surface of chicken with oil. Sprinkle salt mixture all over chicken and rub in mixture with your hands to evenly coat. Tie legs together with kitchen twine and tuck wingtips behind back.

2. Using large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, wrap chips (¼ cup if using charcoal; ½ cup if using gas) in 8 by 4½-inch foil packet. (Make sure chips do not poke holes in sides or bottom of packet.) Cut 2 evenly spaced 2-inch slits in top of packet.

3A. For a charcoal grill: Open bottom vent halfway. Light large chimney starter mounded with charcoal briquettes (7 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour into 2 banked piles on either side of grill. Place wood chip packet on 1 pile of coals. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent halfway. Heat grill until hot and wood chips are smoking, about 5 minutes. (Grill temperature will reach about 400 degrees and will fall to about 350 degrees by end of cooking.)

3B. For a gas grill: Remove cooking grate and place wood chip packet directly on 1 primary burner. Set grate in place, turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot and wood chips are smoking, about 15 minutes. Turn primary burners (two outside burners) to medium-high and turn off secondary (center) burner. (Adjust primary burners as needed to maintain grill temperature between 400 and 425 degrees.)

4. Clean and oil cooking grate. Place chicken, breast side up with cavity facing toward you, in center of grill, making sure chicken is centered between hotter sides of grill. Cover (position lid vent over chicken if using charcoal) and cook until breast registers 130 degrees, 45 to 55 minutes.

5. Using long grill tongs, reach into cavity and carefully lift chicken by breast. Holding chicken over bowl or container, tilt chicken toward you to allow fat and juices to drain from cavity. Transfer chicken, breast side up, to hotter side of grill (without wood chip packet) and cook, covered, until back is deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, flip chicken breast side down; cover and continue to cook over hotter side of grill until breast is deep golden brown, about 5 minutes longer. Using tongs, flip chicken breast side up and return it to center of grill; take internal temperature of breast. If breast registers 155 degrees, transfer chicken to carving board. If breast registers less than 155 degrees, cover and continue to cook in center of grill, checking temperature every 2 minutes, until it registers 155 degrees, 2 to 10 minutes longer. Let chicken rest, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Carve chicken and serve.