The Best Whole Chicken You Will ever make (2 ways!)

Today I’m going to introduce to you the best whole chicken I have ever made, using this little $5.00 contraption:

We love to grill year-round, but it is especially good in the summer.

Ever since we began ordering our pastured, soy-free chickens from The Family Cow, I have been roasting a whole chicken at least once a week (saving the bones for stock).


Grilling or baking it vertically has by-far given us the best end result. My husband isn’t crazy about whole roast chicken to begin with, but he loves it this way! The skin gets nice and crispy while the meat is tender and juicy.

I started brining my chickens for best results. It is quite simple to brine. Just place your chicken in a large pot of salt water in the fridge for at least an hour. You can absolutely skip this steps. (I don’t always have time to do this every week, and honestly I don’t do it more often than I do.)

You want about 3/4 cup of Kosher salt per gallon of water. I used about 1/3 cup for my brine in a medium-sized roasting pan filled with water.

Brining meats before cooking them is a very effective way to increase the moisture and tenderness of the meat. Brining is similar to marinating, but uses a simpler liquid for soaking the meat — just salt and water. The process of soaking meat in salted water causes the meat’s cells to absorb some of the water through osmosis, making it moister when cooked. Learning how to brine chicken or other meats will quickly increase your ability to prepare flavorful dishes in the kitchen. –wikihow


Okay if you are going to use the grill, this rocks if you like a smoke flavor. Skip these steps if you don’t.


You want to soak a few handfuls of wood chips in foil containers for about 30 minutes. I only used four trays, switching half-way through. It is recommended to swap them every 15 minutes.

I used two trays at a time, but you could always use one so that you can switch them out more often.


Once you are ready to place the chicken on the grill, remove from brine, and pat the entire bird dry, including the cavity.

Create your dry rub.


Place the rub all over the chicken, in the cavity, and if you can get any under the skin that’s great too!


You want to cook it on indirect heat on your grill. Remove the one grill grate and place your smoke foil trays on, poke holes in the foil of the trays (drain water before adding to grill):


Turn both burners on to heat the grill. Then turn the burner off where the chicken is going to go, and keep the other side on where the smoke trays go.

Make sure your grill maintains a temperature of about 425. If it drops lower it will take longer to cook, and if you have a propane grill this is not ideal since it uses it all up. If you are unable to maintain 425, turn the chicken side on as low as possible to maintain it. Use a meat thermometer to check it towards the end of cooking. I cooked mine at 425 for 1 1/2 hours. You want the meat thermometer to read at least 165 degrees.


Let the chicken rest a good 20 minutes after you take it off the grill. I am TERRIBLE at cutting these babies up, but luckily my husband is pretty skilled at it.

My husband told me this is his favorite thing that I make! And the way my son devours it, I think it is his too.


Chicken & Dry Rub (you may need to up the portions depending on the size of the chicken)
  • 3.5 pound whole chicken
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons Citrus Borsari seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup Kosher salt
  • 1 large pot water
Apple Wood Smoke for Grill (only if smoking)
  • 1/2 bag apple wood chips
  • 4 pans water
  1. Clean chicken but dumping any liquid out of cavity. Place chicken in brine in the refrigerator for at least an hour, if brining. Meanwhile, soak wood chips in pans about 30 minutes before you prepare your chicken. You want a few handfuls per pan and enough water to cover.
    In a bowl, combine Borsari, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, basil and black pepper. Once chicken is finished brining, pat it dry completely (outside and in cavity). Place dry rub all over and inside of the bird. Remove grate on one side of the grill. Preheat grill on all burners for 10 minutes on high. Place smoke trays filled with wood on side without grate (drain water and cover with foil poked with fork holes before adding). Place chicken on the other side and turn off the burner. Place lid down on grill and cook at 425 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours. Be sure to check the temperature on the grill to make sure the temperature isn’t dropping. If it drops below 400 you can always turn the other burner on low. Use a meat thermometer to check close to the end. Chicken is finished when thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 165°F. About 1 1/2 hours of cooking for a 3.5 pound chicken. Do not over cook or it will dry out!
    If you want to bake it in the oven and skip the grill step, just place it on a large roasting pan upright (you will need to put it on the lowest oven rack) and roast at 425 for 1 hour and 20 minutes to 1 hour 40 minutes (ovens vary and depends on the size of the chicken).

    UPDATE: I’ve been using a 4.25 pound chicken and cooking it 1 hour and 37 minutes and that time seem perfect for my oven! 

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