Anne Byrn’s grilled chicken for your crowd

Southern Kitchen
Anne Byrn’s Grilled Chicken for Your Crowd

About the recipe

Serve this fool-proof, lemon- and herb-marinated grilled chicken with cole slaw, roasted sweet potatoes, fresh cranberry sauce and some braised kale or collards.

You can easily double this recipe and cook two chickens at once. Place each chicken in its own bag and divide the marinade evenly between the bags.

This recipe first appeared in Anne Byrn’s column Taste of a Place.

Serves: About 6

Hands On Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 8 hours and 0 minutes


1 (3- to 3 1/2-pound) chicken

2 lemons, halved

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil


Pat the chicken very dry with paper towels. Place the chicken breast side-down on a cutting board and, using a sharp knife or poultry shears, cut down both sides of the backbone. Discard the bone, or freeze it to make stock later.

Flip the chicken so that it is breast side-up and press down on the breastbone with your hands until the bone cracks and the chicken has slightly flattened. Place the chicken in a large zipper-lock bag or in a glass casserole dish.

Squeeze the lemon juice into a medium bowl. Stir in the rosemary, thyme, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until the mixture thickens and pulls together. Pour the marinade over the chicken in the bag. Zip the bag to secure it, and massage the chicken to coat it well with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.

When you are ready to grill, set up a grill for indirect cooking: Heat a gas grill to medium-high on one side of the grill and low heat on the other. If using charcoal, place the coals on one side of the grill, light the charcoal, and let it cook down to medium-high. Clean the grates of the grill with a wire brush. The grill should register 325 degrees when covered.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and place skin-side up on the indirect or lower-heat side of the grill. Cover and cook until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Now, cook the chicken on the direct side of the grill to crisp up and brown: Distribute the coals under the chicken as needed. Place the chicken skin-side down over direct or higher-heat side of the grill, and cook until well-browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for at least 20 minutes. Cut into pieces and serve with your favorite sauce.