whole grilled chicken
Lyndsay Burginger

How To Keep a Whole Chicken Juicy on the Grill


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If you've got a whole crowd to feed at a picnic, BBQ, or other party, grilling a whole chicken can be an excellent option. Grilled chicken is always a hit, whether you prefer BBQ chicken, butterflied chicken or another option like beer can chicken. The best part of using a whole chicken is that you can barbecue without having to worry about buying a big enough pack of chicken breasts. Keep it crispy and pair it with a side of zucchini for the ultimate summer experience, or enjoy it on its own with a cold beer as you catch up with friends. We have a juicy chicken recipe that doesn't require that many ingredients and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser no matter the occasion.

Use a Brine to Keep a Whole Chicken Perfectly Juicy

BBQ Chicken whole

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One option to keep your chicken from drying out is using a brine. This adds an extra step but is more than worth it for the extra succulent texture that it creates. To brine your chicken, prepare a brine with water and salt, using a ratio of 1 cup salt to 1 gallon of water. Heat the solution until the salt is dissolved, then add cool water to bring the mixture back to room temperature and soak your chicken in the brine for anywhere from 30 minus to 4 hours. Then, rinse the chicken and let it sit for an hour before seasoning and grilling it.

How to Baste Your Chicken

Another way to add extra juiciness to the chicken is to baste it. This is typically not done unless your chicken is less than 3 points, since larger birds typically have enough fat that they won't dry out too quickly. However, this is a great tip if you're cooking a small bird, as it helps to brown the skin without letting it dry out or get overcooked. To baste, brush marinade over the chicken every 20 minutes as it grills.

Although we find that this whole grilled chicken recipe is perfectly juicy on its own, feel free to use these tips if you're worried about the juiciness of your chicken. When it comes to the juiciness of chicken, it's always better to be safe than sorry!

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Making a Grilled Whole Chicken

The first thing you'll have to do is gather your ingredients. You'll need 1 whole chicken (4 to 4 1/2 pounds), some coarse salt and ground black pepper, 7 Pepper Seasoning blend, and a 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce.

First, you're going to set up your grill for indirect heat grilling and preheat the grill to a high heat of 400. Then, season your whole chicken with salt, pepper, and the 7 Pepper seasoning blend after being mixed together in a small bowl, both in and out. This takes the place of a marinade that might have otherwise taken a long time to sit and flavor up your chicken. Other whole chicken recipes might include marinades or rubs that include ingredients like olive oil, oregano, paprika, brown sugar, and even mayonnaise, but we think this one is tried and true!

grilled chicken on a grill

Lyndsay Burginger

Next, lightly oil your grill. Then, place chicken, breast side up, on the other side of the grill from the heat. Cover and grill the whole bird until internal temperature on your meat thermometer reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit at the thickest part of the chicken or your chicken is almost cooked through -- this means a cooking time of about 1 1/2 hours, rotating halfway through cook time.

Then brush the grilled whole chicken with BBQ sauce and continue to cook it for about 15 minutes or until the temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit on your regular or instant-read thermometer. This will add flavor and ensure that your chicken is nice and juicy.

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Finally, go ahead and remove the bird from the grill and let the chicken rest for about 20 minutes. Then it should be ready to serve! You should have one of the juiciest birds you've ever cooked ready for your guests, whether they want chicken breasts, drumsticks, or another part of the grilled whole chicken.

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This post was originally published on August 16, 2021.

READ MORE: How to Cut Up a Whole Chicken in 5 Minutes

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whole grilled chicken

How to Grill a Whole Chicken For A Crowd

Grilled whole chicken is one option most people won't mind seeing on the menu at a summer picnic or party. Find out how to cook one.
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 whole chicken - (4 to 4 1/2 pounds)
  • Coarse salt and pepper, to taste
  • 7 pepper seasoning - to taste
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce

Instructions
 

  • Set up your grill for indirect heat and preheat the grill to 400.
  • Season your whole chicken with salt, pepper, and the 7 Pepper seasoning blend.
  • Lightly oil your grill. Place chicken, breast side up, on the other side of the grill from the heat.
  • Cover and grill the whole bird until internal temperature on a meat thermometer reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit at the thickest part of the chicken or your chicken is almost cooked through. (Rotate halfway through cooking)
  • Brush the grilled whole chicken with bbq sauce and continue to cook it for about 15 minutes or until the temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Remove the bird from the grill and let the chicken rest for about 20 minutes.

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