What better way to celebrate summer than pulling out the grill and preparing this delectable simple Lemon Whole Grilled Chicken recipe?
Grilled chicken is always a crowd-pleaser and one of my favorite dishes. And, I have to say, this grilled whole chicken recipe is my new all-time favorite.
After just one taste of this juicy, tender lemon grilled chicken with hints of zesty garlic and earthy rosemary, you will be smitten too!
My husband is the master griller in our house, and I like nothing better than sitting back and letting him work his magic. There is a little preparation involved in getting the poultry ready to grill, but once that’s done, you can settle back and let the grill do all the heavy lifting.
What kind of grill?
I prefer a charcoal grill for this recipe because I love the smoky taste, which you can only get with charcoal. We use a Big Green Egg, which we love.
If you are using a charcoal fire, it’s best to make the fire on one side of the grill for indirect heat and then cook the poultry on the other side. However, you can also use a gas grill set on low.
It takes about 30 minutes for the meat to cook, and by cooking it slowly, it ensures that it is cooked all the way through without burning on the outside.
What seasoning should I use?
This is a simple lemon grilled chicken recipe, and I only used kosher salt and lemon pepper to season it. Then the meat is placed in a marinade.
How long do you marinate it?
The secret to this unbelievably delicious dish is an easy grilled chicken marinade made with olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice. The meat does need to marinate for at least four hours. But it can go for up to 24 hours.
Remember to take care of this step ahead of time. I confess that several times I have only marinated the poultry for 30 minutes, and it still was delicious. However, for the maximum flavor, I recommend a minimum of four hours!
How do you butterfly a chicken?
Butterflying or spatchcocking a whole bird helps it to cook quickly, evenly, and keeps it juicy.
First, remove any giblets. Place the whole bird breast side down on a cutting board. Take a pair of kitchen or poultry shears, and starting at the neck cavity, cut down each side of the backbone to cut it out.
Discard the backbone or save it to make stock or soup.
Turn the bird over and press down hard to flatten the entire thing. That’s it!
Of course, you can also ask your many butchers will also do this for you too!
Still, have questions about how to butterfly your bird? Check out this video from Bon Appétit.
Here’s how to make this recipe:
Season the bird with kosher salt and lemon pepper on both sides.
Add the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, and rosemary to a small bowl or mason jar and mix well to make the marinade.
Place the poultry in a gallon-size plastic storage bag and pour in the marinade. Squeeze out as much air as possible, seal and squish around to make sure the marinade covers the entire thing.
Place the bag in the refrigerator and marinate for a minimum of four hours up to 24 hours, turning the bag occasionally.
When ready to grill, clean the grates with a wire brush and oil the grill racks. Place the charcoal on one side of the grill and prepare a medium-hot fire, 350 degrees F.
Most of the coals should be glowing orange-red and covered with a faint layer of ash. If using a gas grill, turn the heat to low.
When the grill is ready, place the meat on the cooler side. Place it skin side up and weigh it down with a heavy dish or cast iron pan. You can even use a brick wrapped in aluminum foil. Cook for 12-15 minutes, or until the underside is golden brown.
Using long tongs, turn the meat over, skin side down, and place the weight on it again.
Place the lemon halves on the grill, cut side down. Cook the poultry for another 12-15 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown.
Insert an instant-read meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh but not touching the bone to check the temperature. It should read 165 degrees F.
Remove the chicken from the grill and place on a cutting board. Cover with foil or a plate and allow it to rest for at least five minutes.
Cut it into quarters and squeeze a little lemon juice over each piece and serve immediately.
What goes well with it?
My favorite side dish to pair with this dish is Southern Potato Salad, but my latest recipe for Pearl Couscous with Preserved Lemon would also be great, and Easy Southern Corn Salad or Easy Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes would also be good choices.
Need more ideas, check out all of my side dish recipes here.
More grilled chicken recipes:
If you like grilled chicken as I do, I think you will also like these recipes: Grilled Chicken with Peach Glaze, Grilled Chicken Skewers with Tomato Relish, The Best and Easiest Grilled Chicken, Grilled Teriyaki Chicken with Teriyaki Marinade and Grilled Beer Can Chicken.
Sometimes, it’s just too hot to cook on the grill, or too cold, or raining, and you get the drift. When the weather isn’t perfect, why not try one of the most popular recipes on my blog, Baby Back Ribs in the Oven? You will never know they weren’t cooked on the grill.
★ If you make this recipe, please consider rating it and leaving a comment. I’d love to know how you liked it!
Thank you so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones. I hope you’ll come back soon!
Simple Lemon Grilled Chicken Recipe
- 1 whole chicken three to four-pounds, butterflied
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon lemon pepper
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary minced
- 2 lemons halved
- Season the chicken with kosher salt, and lemon pepper on both sides.
- Add the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, and rosemary to a small bowl or mason jar and mix well to make the marinade.
- Place the chicken in a gallon-size plastic storage bag, and pour in the marinade. Squeeze out as much air as possible, seal and squish around to make sure the marinade covers the entire chicken. Place the bag in the refrigerator and marinate for a minimum of four hours up to 24 hours. Turn the bag occasionally.
- When ready to grill, clean the grates with a wire brush and oil the grill racks. Place the charcoal on one side of the grill and prepare a medium-hot fire, 350 degrees F. When the coals are ready, most of them should be glowing orange-red and covered with a faint layer of ash. If using a gas grill, turn the heat to low.
- When the grill is ready, place the chicken on the cooler side, skin side up, and weigh it down with a heavy dish or cast iron pan. You can even use a brick wrapped in aluminum foil. Cook for 12-15 minutes, or until the underside is golden brown.
- Using long tongs, turn the chicken over, skin side down, and place the weight on it again. Place the lemon halves on the grill, cut side down. Cook the chicken for another 12-15 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F. when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh but not touching the bone.
- Remove the chicken from the grill and place on a cutting board, cover with foil or a plate, and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes.
- Cut the chicken into quarters and squeeze a little lemon juice over each piece from the grilled lemon halves.
This looks delicious and healthy!
Thanks, Kim, the chicken is delicious and unbelievably moist! If you make it let me know what you think, and thanks so much for stopping by!
This may very well be dinner over the weekend. Sounds delicious.
It is absolutely the moistest chicken we have ever had. We had leftover chicken and added it to a Ceasar salad last night and it was still delicious! Let me know how you like it!
This grilled chicken looks amazing! I can’t wait to give it a try!
It is really the moistest chicken entrée I have ever made. I hope you enjoy it!