5 Ways to Grill a Whole Chicken

Don't heat up the house this summer! Take your chicken outside with these juicy and delicious whole grilled chicken recipes.

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Grilled chicken with lemon, garlic and thyme on wooden board, top view
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Directly on the Grill

This method captures all the great flavor of an oven-roasted chicken, but cooking it over indirect heat on the grill infuses the bird with an unforgettable smoky element. Prepare the grill for high indirect heat (about 400°F) and use your favorite roast chicken recipe.

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Grilled beer can chicken and vegetables on tray with copy space
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Beer Can Method

Believe it or not, one of the easiest ways to grill a chicken involves a beer can. The chicken sits vertically on a half-filled can of beer, saving space and making it possible to grill multiple birds at once. As the beer steams, it adds moisture and flavor to the inside of the chicken, keeping it crispy on the outside while ensuring it will be tender on the inside. You can use an actual beer can, like in this recipe, or skip the booze and use a can of apple juice instead for an amazing apple-butter barbecued roasted chicken.

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Fresh roasted Beer Can Chicken closeup
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Bundt Pan Method

Who says Bundt pans are just for baking? This pan’s shape makes it perfect for cooking the chicken vertically (just like a beer can chicken) while getting to use the inside of the pan to roast vegetables. Simply prepare the grill for indirect high heat, lower the seasoned chicken onto the middle of the bundt pan and add your favorite roasting vegetables, like potatoes, onions and carrots. Then, cook the chicken for about 90 minutes, until it reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF.

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Barbequed chicken with chimichurri sauce in rustic cast iron pan on gray ready to eat, top view
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Spatchcocked

This funny-sounding cooking method results in the crispiest skin. The splayed-open chicken also cooks much faster, about 45 minutes instead of the standard 90 minutes. After you cut out the backbone with a pair of kitchen shears, flip the chicken over and use your hands to break the breastbone so the bird sits flat. Then, hit the grill and cook up a tasty spatchcocked chicken. For complete instructions, view our guide on how to spatchcock a chicken.

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High Angle View Of Chicken On Barbeque Grill
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Cut into Quarters

You don’t have to cook a whole chicken whole to enjoy the entire bird. On an intact bird, the breasts, thighs and legs all cook at different rates, but they’ll cook more quickly when grilled separately. Start by cutting up a whole chicken, or asking the butcher to help. Then, add your favorite seasoning (we love this Tropical Island Chicken recipe) and grill the pieces over indirect heat for 45 to 60 minutes, until they reach an internal temperature of 165º F.

Lindsay D. Mattison
Lindsay has been writing for digital publications for seven years and has 10 years of experience working as a professional chef. She became a full-time food writer at Taste of Home in 2023, although she’s been a regular contributor since 2017. Throughout her career, Lindsay has been a freelance writer and recipe developer for multiple publications, including Wide Open Media, Tasting Table, Mashed and SkinnyMs. Lindsay is an accomplished product tester and spent six years as a freelance product tester at Reviewed (part of the USA Today network). She has tested everything from cooking gadgets to knives, cookware sets, meat thermometers, pizza ovens and more than 60 grills (including charcoal, gas, kamado, smoker and pellet grills). Lindsay still cooks professionally for pop-up events, especially when she can highlight local, seasonal ingredients. As a writer, Lindsay loves sharing her skills and experience with home cooks. She aspires to motivate others to gain confidence in the kitchen. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her cooking with fresh produce from the farmers market or planning a trip to discover the best new restaurants.