BBQ Whole Chicken Recipe Tips

If you decide to BBQ a whole chicken there are a few things you need to know. 


First of all, empty the chicken cavity of paper and giblets. Set them aside for future use or cooking. Wash the chicken well and prepare any marinade, either injectable or external that you wish to use.

Build your hot charcoal fire. Once the charcoal is well underway, and beginning to turn gray, rake them to one side of the grill. You will be cooking the chicken on the opposite side of the grill, not over the burning coals. Cooking directly over the charcoals would burn the skin before cooking the chicken.

Holding a folded paper towel in you BBQ tongs, wipe olive oil over the area on the grill that the chicken will be cooking. If you are using a gas grill, just turn one burner on, follow the rest of the directions and place your chicken on the opposite side of the grill. Be cautious with non-stick cooking sprays over an open fire. There are brands designed specifically for the grill. Be sure that you read the directions on the can before spraying.


Place the chicken breast side down on the grill. Allow the chicken to cook on that side for about 30 minutes depending on the size of your chicken. This would be the time for a 2-3 pound fryer. Larger chickens will take more time.

Turn the chicken over to have the breast side up. Allow the chicken to cook for the same length of time on the back side. The chicken will be done when you can pierce the thickest part of the chicken, usually the thigh, and the liquid runs clear.

If there is still a tinge of pink, give your chicken another 10-15 minutes. Raw chicken is unsafe to eat.

If you choose to use an instant read meat thermometer, you should allow it reach at least 160 degrees before you remove the chicken.

When you remove the chicken from the fire, allow it to sit for at least one half hour before carving, this allows the juices to settle and the flavor to spread throughout the meat.


Another option with a whole chicken is placing it on a chicken rack in the middle of another pan to provide stability. Rotate the chicken after about 30 minutes. In this case the chicken should remain on the grill for one hour. Check the temperature or cut into the thigh to see if it is done.

Checking and a caution:

It is always best to check the chicken at the thigh. Dark meat takes longer to cook than white meat does. Caution should be taken not to overcook. That will dry out the breast meat first. Keep an eye on the temperature and enjoy the delicious flavor filled taste of your home barbecued chicken.