As most of you know, there tends to be a little guesswork involved while standing at the grill. This grilled roasted chicken recipe sidesteps that by relying on covered grilling, which dispels a lot of the guesswork in terms of how high a flame and how long to leave something over the flame by essentially turning your grill into an oven. As such, a steady temperature can be maintained even on a grill. And yes, this recipe for grilled roasted chicken offers actual specific temperatures and times that you can easily approximate. How easy is that?!–Cheryl and Bill Jamison

A whole spatchcocked grilled roasted chicken on a round wooden board with dishes of salt and peppercorns on the side.

Grilled Roasted Chicken

5 / 4 votes
A paprika and chili powder rub coupled with an indirect cooking method ensures that this gorgeous bird has tender, juicy meat, and shatteringly crisp skin. If you've never spatchcocked a bird, now's the time to try it.
David Leite
Servings2 to 4 servings
Calories787 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time2 hours
Resting Time35 minutes
Total Time2 hours 45 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, (or substitute regular paprika)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt, (kosher or sea salt)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (3 1/4- to 3 1/2-pound) chicken, spatchcocked if desired, (a plump one)
  • Unsalted butter, (optional)


  • Combine the paprika, chili powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the mixture inside and outside the chicken, both over and under the skin. (Be careful not to tear the skin.) Let the chicken sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Prepare the grill for indirect cooking, making a hot fire on half the grill and leaving the other half unheated. Place an inexpensive oven thermometer (available at any kitchen supply store) on the cool half of the cooking grate. (You can't rely on your grill's built-in thermometer because you want to measure the temperature only on the unheated side. ) Close the grill and heat the temperature to 400°F (200°C) on the unheated side.
  • Using washable heatproof oven mitts, place the chicken, breast side down, on the unheated side of the cooking grate. (If you have a low-powered gas grill that won't reach the ideal 400°F (200°C) roasting temperature, you can still grill-bake your chicken in standard oven fashion, increasing the cooking time as needed until the chicken is cooked through.) After 35 minutes, turn the chicken breast side up. If a glossy skin is desired, brush the bird with a tablespoon or more of butter.
  • Reduce the heat to 350°F (175°C). If using a gas grill, simply turn the heat down; if using a charcoal grill, close the vents and spread out the charcoal. Cook the chicken until the skin is crisp and well-browned and an instant-read thermometer stuck in the thickest part of a thigh reads 170° to 175°F (76° to 79°C). Let the chicken rest for 5 to 10 minutes on a cutting board. Carve and serve.

Adapted From

Chicken on the Grill

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Serving: 1 servingCalories: 787 kcalCarbohydrates: 5 gProtein: 67 gFat: 54 gSaturated Fat: 15 gMonounsaturated Fat: 22 gTrans Fat: 0.3 gCholesterol: 265 mgSodium: 2642 mgFiber: 3 gSugar: 1 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2004 Cheryl and Bill Jamison. Photo © 2004 whitestorm. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I love this recipe for grilled roasted chicken. I’ve made it many, many times. Its simplicity easily carries over to preparing it, even if the chicken has been spatchcocked.

If you loosen the skin and carefully slide a spoonful of the rub under the skin, you tip the spices out. Once under, you can use your finger to move them around, again, carefully. After grilling, we had a wonderful, flavourful, juicy, perfectly seasoned bird. I definitely included the butter option. Brushing it lightly over the cooking bird yields such wonderful results!

I used smoked paprika, ancho chili powder, and exercised the butter option. I did not need all of the rub.

I now use an electric grill. It has ceramic briquettes and a grill plate. It looks and works the same as all other grills, except it is smaller (apartment size, so to speak) and it uses electricity (obviously). Due to its size, it is not possible to grill indirectly. However, if folks need another apartment or small grill option, this is what I do:

a. Set the grill for 400°F and, once reached, place the prepared bird breast side down.

b. Turn the bird over after 3 or 4 minutes, brush with butter and turn the heat down to 350F. (If left breast side down too long, it risks burning.)

c. After 20 minutes, brush with butter again and check the bottom. If it is getting too dark, remove to a 350F oven to finish. That could take another 10 minutes or so but use the instant-read thermometer to be sure.

This chicken was served with grilled asparagus and a potato salad.

A grilled roasted chicken on a wooden cutting board.

This was a quick, simple roasted chicken recipe to put together with tasty results. The ingredients for the rub are spice-rack staples, no need to rush out to the store for extra ingredients. I didn’t spatchcock the bird. The chili powder gave a little bit of bite that gives this recipe a different taste than most other grilled chicken recipes. The indirect grilling produced a moist chicken with a crisp skin.

It was effortless and straightforward. No fuss and absolutely delicious. I roasted it whole and I think if I served this for a dinner party my guests would think I spent way more time and effort. The skin was tasty, crisp, and not too spicy.

I always start by cleaning a whole bird (any bird I make) with salt and wine vinegar in the cavity and body, rinse well with cold water, and dry. It makes the skin nice and crispy. I was taught to always do this by my grandmother. I think maybe because she used to buy a chicken in the outdoor market where they would butcher it right there. I just automatically do it that way, not even something I think about. Given the crazy in the world, that may not be the worst idea. LOL.

Then I simply followed the recipe. It’s foolproof, actually. I often save empty spice jars. I liked this and want to use it again so I made up a batch, put it in a recycled spice jar, and labeled it. I used coarse kosher salt. I find I use that or the Morton’s Sea Salt when I want things a bit milder.

My only issue was that my Weber Gas Grill wouldn’t get exactly up to 400°F. I gave up after an hour and just put the chicken on. The temp I got to was 375°F. I left it there for 40 minutes then flipped it over. I didn’t really have to make any major adjustments to get it down to 350°F. I left it on for about 45 minutes more. Here’s where knowing your grill is essential. It’s tricky if you don’t but I found I didn’t need to worry if the temps and timing weren’t exactly exact. You just want a nice crispy skin and for it to be done on the inside. You want the meat to be fully cooked and your skin not burnt. So I let it go and take as long as it needed. I found that if you let it cook a little too long, it will start to dry out. Luckily, I caught it before that happened.

My husband is not a spice person. He would have preferred maybe a little less kick. I think I would go a little easier on the fresh ground black pepper for him next time. I think the other spices are perfect especially when they mix with the butter and the crispy skin. It mellows them.

This was poetry in poultry. I am a huge fan of spatchcocked chicken and this recipe did not disappoint. It was a little easier to manage than chicken under a brick. Deceptively simple with complex flavor. The recipe is very easy to prepare. The spatchcocking and application of the rub take only a few minutes.  The addition of the melted butter after the bird has been flipped really enhanced the crispiness of the skin.

I enlisted my husband as grill master to help with this recipe.  We took special care to monitor the barbecue temperature on the unheated portion of our gas grill.  It took about 13 minutes to reach 400°F.  Truth be told. there was only a slight difference between the built-in thermometer and the oven thermometer which we used on the cool half of the cooking grate.  We have a Weber gas grill, so I don’t know if the experience would be different with other brands or with a charcoal grill.

We grilled it for 35 minutes, breast down, and then flipped it.  We checked the thigh temperature after flipping and it registered 170°F.  We turned down the grill and waited another 3 to 5 minutes to check again.  The Thermapen registered 175°F, so we pulled it from the grill. I think it’s possible that because the chicken is spatchcocked that it will be almost completely done by 35 minutes. I’m wondering if a charcoal grill would produce the same results.

I used chipotle chili powder and picante smoked paprika. I think the serving size of 2 to 4 is accurate.  We had enough for dinner yesterday and chicken sandwiches today. I served this with a grated carrot salad and a potato salad. My husband loved it!

Four images of a grilled roasted chicken being prepared.

Spatchcocking a chicken is a great way to prepare a chicken for a barbeque.  The dry rub in this recipe is simple but provides nice flavor to the chicken.  I have bought chickens cut and prepared this way from the supermarket but didn’t realize how easy it was to do myself.

On the grill, the chicken cooks very evenly with a nice, crisp skin.  We barbequed the chicken over charcoal and put the hot coals to either side, cooked the chicken in the middle with indirect heat. Using charcoal creates a very hot grill at first but as the coals burn the temperature will decrease, I think a perfect way to roast the chicken. A charcoal grill can be difficult to control the temperature, so needs to be watched more carefully than a gas grill.  Not really a problem on a nice sunny day with a glass of wine.

I served it with smashed potatoes on the grill and corn.

My favorite comfort food has always been, and will always be, roast chicken. This recipe hit the mark for me because it became a lovely, spicy, summery grilled version. Spatchcocked chickens are simple to prep and really just make a lot of sense in terms of the roasting process. The simple spice blend in this recipe is delicious, make sure to do both the under and over skin application. It added a nice amount of heat, which complemented a cool chopped salad as the side. Dinner perfection!

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This grilled-roasted chicken was simple to prepare and everyone enjoyed it. I definitely will add it to my recipe file and make it again. It is a wonderful chicken recipe for outdoor entertaining and also it is a good weekday meal as well and any leftovers are great for lunch the next day.

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve roasted many a chicken but this was the BEST ever! The rub gave it great flavor without being overpowering, the skin was crisp and the meat was moist. Used my gas grill and it was nice not to have to worry about smoking/burning cicken!