Barbecued Whole Chicken (A Flavorful Delight For Every Occasion)

Hey there!

I’m excited to share with you one of my all-time favorite dishes – Barbecued Whole Chicken.

There’s something magical about the smoky aroma and the tender, juicy meat that makes it a perfect choice for gatherings, cookouts, or even a cozy family dinner.

The irresistible scent wafts through the air as the golden skin crisps up, promising a mouthwatering experience like no other.

Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue, celebrating a special occasion, or simply looking to elevate your weeknight dinner, barbecued whole chicken is sure to steal the show.

I personally fell in love with this dish during a family reunion.

The entire process of preparing the chicken, marinating it with a blend of herbs and spices, and watching it sizzle on the grill was a delightful experience.

Seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces as they savored every bite made me realize that barbecued whole chicken brings people together as few other dishes can.

In this guide, I’ll take you through each step of the process, from selecting the freshest chicken and preparing the marinade to setting up the grill and achieving the perfect cooking temperature.

I’ll also share some tips and variations to help you customize the flavors according to your preferences.

So, whether you’re a seasoned grill master or a novice backyard chef, get ready to embark on a culinary adventure that will leave you craving barbecued whole chicken again and again.

Let’s fire up that grill and get started on creating a tantalizing feast that will surely become a family favorite!

Essential Ingredients for Barbecued Whole Chicken

Sure thing! Let’s talk about the essential ingredients you’ll need to make the most delicious barbecued whole chicken:

  • Fresh Whole Chicken: Look for a high-quality, fresh whole chicken. Choose a size that suits the number of people you plan to serve.

    Ensure the skin is intact and free from any blemishes for that perfect crispiness.
Raw Chicken in Butchers
  • Barbecue Marinade or Dry Rub: You have two options to infuse the chicken with flavor.

    You can either go with a pre-made barbecue marinade available in stores, which offers convenience and consistency, or create your dry rub blend with a mix of aromatic herbs and spices for a personalized touch.
Barbecue sauce in a saucer with basting brush over gray stone
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil acts as a binder for the dry rub or marinade and helps keep the chicken moist during the cooking process.
Extra virgin olive oil in glass bowl and green olive fruit with leaves
  • Seasonings: Enhance the taste of your barbecued whole chicken with a variety of seasonings such as:
  • Salt: To bring out the natural flavors of the chicken.
Crystals of shallow salt in a scoop, spoon on a dark gray table
  • Black Pepper: For a hint of spiciness and warmth.
Ground pepper in wooden bowl and black peppercorns
  • Paprika: Adding color and smoky undertones.
Scoop of paprika.  Isolated on white
  • Garlic Powder: For a savory kick.
Garlic powder in wooden bowl with garlic bulb and clove
  • Onion Powder: Providing a mild sweetness.
Ground onion or onion powder in wooden bowl and fresh onion with half sliced isolated on wooden table background
  • Optional Additions: While not essential, you can experiment with additional ingredients like cayenne pepper, cumin, thyme, rosemary, or brown sugar to create a flavor profile that suits your taste buds.
Chili cayenne in bowl and fresh chili on wooden table

The combination of these ingredients will result in a tantalizing blend of flavors that will have your guests raving about your barbecued whole chicken for days!

Preparing the Perfect Barbecued Whole Chicken

Barbecued Whole Chicken (A Flavorful Delight For Every Occasion)

Recipe by Teal NotesCourse: Lifestyle, Recipes


Prep time


Cooking time








  • 1 whole chicken (approximately 4-5 pounds)

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons paprika

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for some heat)

  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges


  • In a small bowl, mix together the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, dried rosemary, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper (if using) to make the dry rub.
  • Rinse the whole chicken under cold water and pat it dry with paper towels.
  • Rub the olive oil all over the chicken, making sure to coat it evenly.
  • Sprinkle the dry rub mixture all over the chicken, massaging it into the skin and cavity for maximum flavor.
  • If possible, let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight to allow the flavors to infuse.
  • Prepare your grill for indirect cooking. For a charcoal grill, arrange the coals on one side and leave the other side empty. For a gas grill, heat one side and leave the other side unlit.
  • If desired, add soaked wood chips for additional smoky flavor.
  • Preheat the grill to a medium temperature, around 350°F to 400°F (175°C to 200°C).
  • Place the marinated chicken on the side of the grill without direct heat underneath.
  • Close the grill lid and cook the chicken for about 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the thickest part of the thigh reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
  • Optional: Baste the chicken with some of marinade or a basting sauce during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
  • Once cooked, carefully remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest for about 10 minutes before carving.
  • Carve the chicken into serving pieces, garnish with lemon wedges, and serve hot.

Ah, preparing the chicken is where the magic begins! Let me walk you through the essential steps to ensure your barbecued whole chicken turns out perfect:

  1. Cleaning and Patting Dry the Chicken: Start by rinsing the chicken thoroughly under cold water. Remove any giblets or excess fat from the cavity.

    Pat the chicken dry with paper towels to ensure a crispy skin.
  2. Applying the Marinade or Dry Rub: Now comes the fun part – adding flavor to the chicken!

    If you’re using a barbecue marinade, generously coat the entire chicken, inside and out, with the marinade.

    Massage it into the skin and cavity for the even distribution of flavors.

    For a dry rub, drizzle some olive oil over the chicken and then sprinkle the rub mixture all over, gently patting it to adhere.
  3. Letting the Flavors Infuse (Marinating Time): Once the chicken is coated with the marinade or dry rub, it’s time to let the flavors meld.

    Cover the chicken and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.

    This marinating time allows the chicken to absorb the delicious flavors, resulting in a more succulent and flavorful end product.
  4. Preparing the Grill: While the chicken marinates, prepare your grill for indirect cooking.

    If you’re using a charcoal grill, arrange the coals on one side and leave the other side empty.

    For a gas grill, heat one side and leave the other side unlit.

    This setup will allow you to cook the chicken using indirect heat, ensuring it cooks evenly and avoids burning.
  5. Optional Basting: For an extra burst of flavor and to keep the chicken moist during cooking, you can prepare a basting sauce using some of the marinades or create a separate sauce to brush onto the chicken periodically while it cooks on the grill.

By following these steps, you’ll set the stage for an amazing barbecued whole chicken that will leave your taste buds singing with delight.

Remember, the key is in the preparation, so take your time, infuse the flavors, and get ready to create a mouthwatering masterpiece!

Setting Up the Grill for Barbecued Whole Chicken

Preparing the grill is a crucial step in ensuring that your barbecued whole chicken cooks perfectly and is infused with that irresistible smoky flavor. Let’s get started:

  1. Clean the Grill Grates: Before firing up the grill, make sure the grates are clean.

    Employ a grill brush to eliminate any remnants or residue from prior cooking sessions. Clean grates help prevent sticking and ensure even cooking.
  2. Charcoal Grill: If you’re using a charcoal grill, it’s time to light the coals. Pile charcoal briquettes on one side of the grill and leave the other side empty.

    Create a two-zone fire by placing more coals on one side for direct heat and fewer on the other for indirect heat.
  3. Gas Grill: For a gas grill, preheat the grill to medium heat. Afterward, deactivate one or more burners to establish an area of indirect heat.

    The side with burners on is the direct heat zone, and the side without is the indirect heat zone.
  4. Add Smoking Chips (Optional): For an extra layer of smoky flavor, you can soak some wood chips in water for about 30 minutes and then add them to the charcoal or in a smoker box for gas grills.

    This step is entirely optional, but it does add a fantastic depth of flavor.
  5. Place a Drip Pan (Optional): To catch any drippings and prevent flare-ups, consider placing a disposable aluminum drip pan under the indirect heat zone.

    This also makes cleanup easier.
  6. Preheat and Oil the Grates: Allow the grill to preheat for about 10-15 minutes.

    Once it’s hot, use tongs and a folded paper towel dipped in oil to oil the grates. This prevents the chicken from sticking and helps create beautiful grill marks.
  7. Set Up the Chicken for Indirect Cooking: Now it’s time to place the marinated chicken on the grill.

    Put it on the side of the grill that doesn’t have direct heat underneath.

    Through this indirect cooking technique, the chicken is able to cook slowly and uniformly.

    Remember, the key to successful grilling is maintaining a consistent temperature throughout the cooking process.

    Keep an eye on the grill’s temperature and adjust the vents or burners accordingly to maintain steady heat.

With the grill prepped and the chicken in place, get ready for an incredible sensory experience as the smoky aroma fills the air and the anticipation of a delectable meal builds.

Grilling the Perfect Barbecued Whole Chicken to Savory Perfection

Let’s get that chicken barbecued to perfection! This is the part where all the flavors come together, and the anticipation of that delicious meal reaches its peak.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Place the Chicken on the Grill: Carefully place the marinated chicken on the side of the grill with indirect heat.

    Make sure it is centered and not directly over the coals or burners.

    This positioning allows the chicken to cook evenly without charring the skin too quickly.
  2. Close the Lid: Close the grill’s lid to create an oven-like environment. This helps retain the heat and allows the smoky flavor to infuse into the chicken.
  3. Monitor the Temperature: Keep a close eye on the grill’s temperature gauge.

    Aim to maintain a steady temperature between 350°F to 400°F (175°C to 200°C).

    Fluctuations are normal but try to avoid extreme temperature spikes or drops.
  4. Cooking Time and Turning: The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the chicken and the grill’s temperature.

    As a general guideline, a 4-pound (1.8 kg) chicken should take around 1.5 to 2 hours to cook.

    For even cooking, you may want to rotate the chicken once or twice during the grilling process.
  5. Basting (Optional): About halfway through the cooking time, you can begin basting the chicken with a basting sauce or any remaining marinade.

    Basting adds moisture and extra flavor to the chicken.
  6. Check for Doneness: To ensure the chicken is thoroughly cooked, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.

    The chicken is safe to eat when the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165°F (74°C).

    Avoid touching the bone with the thermometer as it may give a false reading.
  7. Resting Time: Once the chicken reaches the desired temperature, carefully remove it from the grill and place it on a clean cutting board.

    Allow it to rest for approximately 10 minutes before proceeding with the carving. Resting allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in tender, juicy meat.

By following these steps, you’ll achieve a beautifully barbecued whole chicken that is cooked to perfection, with a delectable smoky flavor that will have everyone’s taste buds dancing with joy.

Serving the Juicy Delight of Barbecued Whole Chicken

Resting and serving the barbecued whole chicken is the final step before indulging in the delicious flavors you’ve worked so hard to create.

Let’s make sure it’s presented perfectly:

  1. Resting the Chicken: After you’ve removed the chicken from the grill, resist the temptation to cut into it immediately.

    Allow the chicken to rest on a clean cutting board or a serving platter for about 10 minutes.

    Resting gives the juices time to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring a more tender and flavorful experience.
  2. Carving the Chicken: Once the resting period is over, it’s time to carve the chicken.

    Begin by removing the twine or any trussing used to keep the chicken intact during grilling.

    With a sharp carving knife, carefully separate the legs and wings from the body.

    Then, slice along the breastbone to separate the two breast halves. Finally, cut the thighs and drumsticks apart.

    Arrange the beautifully carved pieces on a serving platter.
  3. Garnish and Presentation: For an extra touch of elegance, consider garnishing the platter with fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme.

    The vibrant green colors will contrast beautifully against the golden-brown chicken.

    You can also add lemon wedges for a burst of citrusy flavor and a pop of color.
  4. Serving Suggestions: Serve the barbecued whole chicken with your choice of side dishes.

    Classic accompaniments include coleslaw, corn on the cob, grilled vegetables, or a refreshing green salad.

    Don’t forget to provide some barbecue sauce on the side for those who enjoy an extra kick of flavor.

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I hope this guide has inspired you to embark on a culinary adventure with my mouthwatering barbecued whole chicken recipe.

There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of creating a perfectly grilled chicken that leaves your taste buds dancing with joy.

Throughout this journey, we’ve learned the essential steps to prepare, marinate, and grill the chicken to perfection, resulting in a tender and flavorful feast for every occasion.

With this plan, you can streamline your cooking process, save time, and enjoy delicious homemade meals throughout the week.

By strategically prepping ingredients and meals in advance, you’ll experience a whole new level of convenience and flavor, making busy weekdays a breeze.

Join me on this journey to elevate your meals and discover the joys of meal prepping.

Download your free meal prep plan now and experience the satisfaction of creating scrumptious, stress-free meals that will leave you and your loved ones delighted every single day.

Get started on your meal prep journey today and savor the endless possibilities that await. Happy cooking and bon appétit!


Can you barbeque a whole chicken?

Did you know that barbecuing a whole chicken gives the meat a gorgeous smoky flavor?

Our easy method will show you how to spatchcock the bird, start it off in the oven to ensure it cooks through evenly, and then finish off on the barbecue for extra flavor and flourish.

Is BBQ chicken the same as grilled chicken?

The difference between grilling and barbecuing is that grilling is done with the grill lid open and barbecuing is done with the grill lid closed.

With the latter, the meat is bathed in heat for 30 minutes to a few hours, keeping the food tender and juicy.

How do you know when BBQ chicken is done?

Check the internal temperature of the chicken using a cooking thermometer or iGrill. Once the internal temp is 165°F, remove from grill and let cool.

Do you flip BBQ chicken?

Flip the chicken breasts at the halfway point. I normally like to grill my chicken for about 10 minutes, flipping them at the halfway point in order to have beautiful sear marks on each side of the chicken.

Check the internal temperature of the chicken using a cooking thermometer or iGrill.

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