A simple brine and fresh vegetable and herb stuffing creates a rotisserie chicken recipe that bests any grocery store version every day of the week.
There are two smells I am immediately drawn to the minute I enter the grocery store.
First there’s the smell of that dang french bread they just pulled from the oven. All golden on the outside and soft and pillowy on the inside, still warm enough so that when I get home I immediately tear a chunk off with my bare hands, slather with butter and eat.right.there.
Those grocery store bakers get me every time.
The other smell is the aroma of rotisserie chicken. As soon as the smell hits the olfactory senses, weary cooks are lured to abandon their dinner cooking plans and buy one to go.
Guilty as charged. I can barely get to the car before opening up the plastic container and picking off the crispy skin.
Making a rotisserie chicken at home can seem a little intimidating. But in reality, they’re just about the easiest thing you’ll ever cook. And once you put these steps into place, you’ll be making one every week for a main meal, to snack on and for sandwiches. Before long you’ll be giving the store bought version the heave ho.
The only thing standing between you and a rotisserie chicken is a grill and the rotisserie itself. Sure, it’s an investment to add onto your grill, but in my opinion it’s totally worth it. I don’t limit the rotisserie to just chicken, but did this turkey too. I may never cook a turkey any other way.
The beauty of using a rotisserie is the chicken self bastes as it spins and cooks. You pretty much set it and forget it.
Before adding the chicken to the brine, be sure to rinse it well with cold water and remove the giblets and the neck from the interior cavity.
Steeping the chicken in a salt and sugar brine is the key to cooking a juicy bird. To make the brine, I add 1/2 cup kosher salt and 1/2 cup sugar (either granulated or brown sugar, your choice) to a dutch oven or really deep bowl or container. I then pour about 1 cup of boiling water over the mix then vigorously stir until the mixture dissolves. Next I add enough cold water to cover the bird and add peppercorns and bay leaves.
I recommend brining in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours or so. Once you’re done brining, discard the brine and drain the chicken well.
Next I create an aromatic stuffing using onion, lemons, garlic and herbs. I drizzle with a little olive oil and more kosher salt and pepper. Before loading the stuffing into the bird, I generously salt the cavity of the bird. This infuses flavor from the inside out.
Next, drizzle the skin with olive oil and add more kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. I add a few rosemary leaves to the outside too. Tuck the wings under the breast and tie the legs together with twine.
Be sure to have the chicken centered on the rod so it sits in the center of the grill when cooking. When sticking the prongs into the ends of the chicken, be sure they’re super tight and in as far as they can go so the chicken stays stable and doesn’t flop around when it spins. When tightening the prongs, you may want to use pliers to make sure they’re tight so they don’t slide out as it cooks.
This Bird is Cookin’!
Preheat the grill on high. Put the chicken on and start the rotisserie. If you have multiple burners, turn off the middle burner and leave the sides on so the chicken cooks over indirect heat. Check the temperatures often and if it seems to be cooking too fast or too slow on either side, adjust accordingly.
The chicken will take between 1 1/2 – 2 hours to cook, depending on how hot your grill is. With chicken it’s always best to go with telling it’s done by the temperature, not by the time. Chickens are cooked when the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F.
I use this digital thermometer and it is the best! It’s super accurate and reads in an instant. An important feature to have with chicken.
Once the chicken is done, remove it from the rotisserie and prongs, transfer to a serving platter and cover with aluminum foil to rest for 10-15 minutes so the juices set into the meat.
To serve, I like to cut up the bird and serve family style, including slicing the breasts so everyone can have a bite. An extra squeeze of lemon freshens the chicken just before it goes to the table.
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
How to Make a Great Rotisserie Chicken
- 1 3-1/2 to 4 pound chicken
- 1/2 cup kosher salt plus more for seasoning
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1/2 red onion quartered
- 2 lemons quartered
- 4-6 garlic cloves
- Fresh herbs such as rosemary sage and parsley
- Olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity of the chicken and rinse the chicken with cold water. Trim any excess skin from the neck area. Set aside.
In a large stock pot or bowl, add the 1/2 cup of kosher salt and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar to the pot. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and pour over the salt and sugar and stir vigorously until it dissolves. Add enough cold water to the pot to cover the chicken and add the bay leaves and peppercorns. Place the chicken in the pot and refrigerate for 4 hours up to 12 hours or overnight.
Prepare the grill on high. Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse the chicken with cold water, then pat dry. Season the inside of the cavity generously with kosher salt.
Toss the red onion, lemons, garlic cloves and fresh herbs with a drizzle of olive oil and kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Stuff the mixture into the cavity of the chicken. Rub olive oil over the skin and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Insert the rod through the chicken and attach the prongs, being sure to affix them tightly. Tie the chicken legs together with twine and fold the wings under the chicken breasts.
Put the chicken on the grill/rotisserie attachment and start the rotisserie. If you have multiple burners, turn off the middle burner and leave the sides on so the chicken cooks over indirect heat. Check the temperature of the chicken often and if it seems to be cooking too fast or too slow on either side, adjust accordingly. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F.
Meal Plan Helper
One of the best things about making a rotisserie chicken is eating it thoughout the week. Here are a few ideas of how to stretch that chicken all week long.
Rotisserie Chicken Naan Pizza with Spinach, Queso and Fire-Roasted Tomato Mango Sauce
All the chicken, and the kitchen sink!
Get the recipe | Ambitious Kitchen
Coconut Curry Chicken
Vary your heat with a little more or less curry in this delicious concoction.
Get the recipe | Taste and Tell
Avocado Cream Chicken Enchiladas
This is one of my favorite avocado surprises, the sauce is simply killer.
Get the recipe | FoodieCrush
Easy 30-Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup
Toss it in the pot and you are ready to go.
Get the recipe | Averie Cooks
Crock Pot Salsa Chicken Quinoa Casserole
It doesn’t get much easier, or tastier, than this one folks.
Get the recipe | Diethood
Thanks for stopping by, and here’s to getting into the kitchen to make something good~!
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