George came down to spend Thanksgiving at the Lizard Lounge this year. As neither of us is a staid traditionalist, I decided to forego the turkey and rotisserie a chicken on the grill instead. As the rotisserie process always results in a succulent and pleasing piece of poultry, I thought it would make for good blogging to share the steps.
After procuring a whole chicken from your local market, be sure and remove the little packet of innards (or giblets) from inside the body cavity. I have no use for them and toss them in the garbage. (That’s purely a personal preference; do with them as you wish.) Rinse the chicken both inside and out, patting the outside dry.
Cut an onion and a lemon into wedges to stuff inside the body cavity. For this particular chicken, I also snipped a couple sprigs of rosemary from my plant outside and chopped up some garlic to add to the mix. As the chicken turns on the rotisserie, these aromatics heat up and permeate throughout the chicken, adding to the flavor. The extra bulk of this stuffing also make the chicken a little more stable on the rotisserie spit.
There’s no trick to stuffing everything inside – just cram as much as you can in there. It doesn’t have to be pretty.
Insert the spit through the center of the chicken. Rotisserie spits come with four-pronged forks that tighten with thumbscrews and keep the chicken stable on the spit. Just press the forks firmly into the chicken from both ends and tighten them up as securely as you can.
(No doubt, you can tell from the picture above that I had already sprinkled the rub on the chicken before I inserted the spit. That was actually a little backward, as I ended up rubbing a goodly portion of the rub off of the chicken onto my hands as I handled it. Let’s pretend that didn’t happen…)
Once you have the spit inserted and secured, use some kitchen twine (available at any grocery store) and tie the ends of the legs together. This helps keep the onion stuffing inside and keeps the legs from flailing about as the spit turns.
Brush the outside of the chicken with olive oil. This will help the rub to adhere better and help keep the chicken moist.
Next, sprinkle the entire bird with a good rotisserie chicken rub.
There are lots of recipes, but I’ve found this one to be the best (just mix everything together):
4 t. salt
2 t. paprika
1 t. onion powder
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. white pepper
½ t. cayenne pepper
½ t. black pepper
½ t. garlic powder
You can easily double or triple these measurements and mix up a bigger batch. I keep a shaker on hand and use it on regular grilled chicken and salmon.
Once the chicken is sufficiently covered in the rub, it’s time for the grill. Your rotisserie attachment will come with instructions for the proper way to use it with your grill, so be sure you follow those closely. I have a three burner gas grill that I preheat to 350° to 400°, turning the middle burner down low once I onsert the spit so that the chicken doesn’t burn.
Although it will probably take from 1½-2 hours to cook, you’ll want to keep on eye on it to make sure the outside doesn’t burn. You’ll know it’s ready when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165°.
Be sure you have oven mitts on when you take the spit off the grill, as it will be hot. As usual for grilled meat, let it rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.
Although preparing a chicken for the rotisserie can be involved, the end result is always rewarding. George and I each took a half of the chicken and defiantly and unapologetically ate every morsel, sucking the bones clean.
I dare say you would have done the same…enjoy!