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Grilled chicken served with potato salad and a tossed salad.

Perfect Grilled Chicken Halves

Grilling a whole chicken is easier than you'd think. With an irresistible rub and a zesty basting sauce, this recipe teaches you how to use a grilling technique to insure even cooking for both white and dark meat. How to make grilled chicken at home, perfect every time.
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 573kcal


  • 1 whole chicken cut in half (backbone removed)
  • 1 Tablespoon seasoning salt any brand
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 drop liquid smoke no more than a drop, it's concentrated, optional
  • 1/2 cup BBQ Sauce your favorite brand


  • Cut the chicken in half by removing back bone. Your butcher can do this, or cut along side each side of the back bone and remove. This will avoid trying to grill different sized pieces of chicken.
  • Using paper towels, pat the chicken dry.
  • Next take your fingers and loosen the skin in as many places as you can. Take the dry rub and rub all over chicken and under the skin. Do this three hours before grilling. And bring the chicken to room temperature before grilling.
  • Heat grill to 500 degrees. Lower heat to 375. I turn off the middle burner and cook chicken in the middle of the grill.
  • Place both sides of chicken on grill. Using a grill brush, baste with basting sauce. Cover grill and cook for 15 minutes. Repeat this step 4 times for total cook time of 1 hours. Turning the chicken each time you baste.
  • When the hour is up, generously coat one side of chicken with your favorite BBQ or grilling sauce. Close lid and cook for 2 minutes, turn chicken and repeat. Cook two more minutes with grill lid closed.
  • Remove from grill and let sit 10 minutes before serving. This will help the juices redistribute and keep the meat tender and moist.
  • Using a sharp knife, separate the breasts from the leg portions and serve.


Tip:How To Choose A Whole Chicken For The Grill.Look for a fryer chicken or a broiler chicken. A weight of 4 - 5 pounds is a good size for grilling.
Watch that grill temperature closely and don't let it fall below 375 degrees. Keeping that grill temperature hot will crisp that skin. Crispy skin means that the meat inside will stay moist and tender.
For the basting sauce, use a neutral flavored oil with a higher smoking point. Canola oil or grape seed oil is a good choice here.
When in doubt, always use an instant read thermometer to make sure the chicken is properly cooked. Insert the probe between in the joint between the leg and the thigh. 165 degrees is recommended for poultry.
Cutting the chicken in half allows you to lay the chicken flat. It exposes the legs and thighs, which will cook faster than the breast. This means the dark meat will be cooked at the same time as the white meat. With each coming out juicy and tender.


Calories: 573kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 3198mg | Potassium: 559mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 710IU | Vitamin C: 3.5mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 2.4mg