Keeping with my goal to be a little more adventurous with my grill meals, this week I’m serving up Garlic-Lemon Rotisserie Chicken.
Rotisserie chicken is a popular meal option these days – from fast food restaurants to the deli counter at your supermarket to wholesale clubs (a CNBC documentary I saw about Costco last week said they sell 55 million of them a year!), and I’m telling you, it is an easy way to cook chicken! Food that is cooked slowly and in a constant rotation, helps to self-baste the food, providing a flavor and tenderness that are hard to achieve cooking any other way.
As I’ve mentioned before, it’s well worth it to invest in a rotisserie kit for your grill. They may strike you as “old school” or maybe you are intimidated by them or think they take too much time to use, but trust me, they’re not complicated to set up on the grill. Though it depends on the type of kit you get, they generally consist of a spit-the long skewer that you put the food on, two forked prongs that hold the food in place once it’s on the spit, and finally, the rotisserie motor. They’re not just great for roasting whole chickens, but also good for making beef or pork roasts and if you’re really into it, a leg of lamb or a whole pig!
I like to make my own marinades and experiment with different flavors. For this one I used lemons, garlic and bundles of fresh herbs, sweet paprika, olive oil and good old salt & pepper. I make sure to use enough marinade to get it all under the skin as well as on top of the bird. Then I place my chickens in the fridge for at least ½ hour to let it all meld together before getting it onto the spit.
Getting the chicken on the spit can be a little tricky, but you will master it quickly. It is important to secure the chicken as tight and even as possible on the rotisserie spit using the prongs. I find it helpful to truss up the chicken with cooking twine to hold it together better and not have wings and legs flopping all over the grill.
Make sure your grill is pretty high but not overly hot –use a medium-high heat setting, and make sure you don’t ignite the burners right under the chickens or else it will cook too quickly, dry out or even catch on fire! Indirect heat is how you do it here. Just attach your spit to the motor and let those chickens go for a spin!
Depending on your chicken size, it should take anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 hours and the skin will turn a nice golden brown. When the internal temperature of the chickens reaches 175 to 180 degrees, shut down the grill and take them off the heat. Wrap the chickens in some tin foil for about 5-10 minutes and then cut and serve immediately (no heat lamps for these birds!).
I have to say cooking chickens this way results in a juicy and flavorful bird. I wish that I had a photo of the plated birds, but it literally flew right off the serving dish. Here’s what was left after the meal:
I served my chickens with some crispy oven roasted potatoes and a variety of grilled veggies, but you could serve rice, orzo or even cous cous along with veggies or a salad. This is definitely one of those meals where the prep is the most work you’ll have to do. Once it’s on that rotisserie, it does all the tasty magic itself. Now that’s this gal’s favorite kind of meal.
Garlic – Lemon Rotisserie Chicken
Prep time: 1/2 hour
Cook time: approximately 90 minutes
Serves: 6 people
2 3 to 4 lb whole roaster chickens
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2 large cloves of minced garlic
1 ½ tsp fresh cilantro, chopped finely
1 ½ tsp fresh basil, chopped finely
1 tsp sweet paprika
Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
- Create the marinade by combining EVOO, lemon zest & juice, garlic, fresh herbs, paprika, salt & pepper. Mix well with a whisk.
- Marinate the chicken getting under the skin on breast, legs & wings. Also marinate the inside cavity and the exterior of the birds. Place in fridge for ½ hour to marinate.
- Turn grill on to medium-high heat, not turning on burner directly under birds, and let it heat up to about 300 to 350 degrees.
- Place the chicken onto the spit and attach to rotisserie motor on grill.
- Check periodically and baste if necessary with some melted butter.
- Keep lid closed as much as possible and let it cook for 90 minutes to 2 hours or until the chicken’s internal temperature reaches 175 -180 degrees
- Remove from the rotisserie and let stand for 5 to 10 before cutting into pieces and serving.
With just a little bit of planning and preparation there’s always time for a home cooked meal! Make sure that you check out my “Grill-More Girl” Cristina over at centraljerseyworkingmoms.com to see what she cooked up this week as well. But before you hop on over there, don’t forget to link up your yummy grilling recipe below!
The The “Grill-More” Girls: Garlic And Lemon Rotisserie Chicken by The Harried Mom, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.