There's nothing more delicious than rotisserie barbecue chicken, but up until now we've never attempted to try it.
When my husband and I were married 12 years ago my parents gave us a barbecue with a rotisserie attachment as a wedding present. We never used the rotisserie and it subsequently got moved to their basement when we cleared out our own basement to renovate it.
It almost went forgotten and we hardly gave the rotisserie a second thought. That is, until my brother-in-law mused at a mid-summer family BBQ about how he missed his old rotisserie (his former barbecue went to BBQ heaven and he doesn't own a rotisserie now). It got my husband thinking that we should give our rotisserie a try; the only catch was that he had to find where it got buried in my parent's basement. Lucky for us he found it!
I don't know why it took us so long try the rotisserie: nothing could be simpler! The prep time is negligible and it only take two ingredients - chicken and spice rub - to make a roasted chicken better than any restaurant. Yes, you can get fancy with herb butters, basting and injecting, but a straight up spice rub is just as delectable. More importantly, it's fast - giving you more time to enjoy the summer weather - and of course whoever you share your chicken with :)
Step 1: Watch the Video
Learn how to attach a spit rod, balance a chicken, then cook it to perfection. Watch the video (and subscribe to Birdz of a Feather while you're at it :)
Step 2: Truss It
The chicken we purchased came prepped with twine tied around the legs and wings, but if it didn't we would have trussed it ourselves.
If your bird doesn't come pre-trussed, watch the Martha Stewart video above to learn how to do it yourself to get it ready for cooking; it's a handy thing to learn whether you're cooking a bird indoors or out! Before you truss though, make sure you remove any giblets that may be in the cavity.
Step 3: Turn on the Grill and Spice Up the Chicken
Remove the warming rack and turn the rear burner on high. Let the BBQ heat up until the temperature is between 450 - 500 degrees Farenheit.
While the BBQ is heating up, apply the spice rub. We shook on on a ready made (and gluten free!) spice blend all over the chicken and rubbed it in. Then we skewered the chicken onto the rod, secured the two prongs into either end of the chicken (tightening the thumbscrews to keep them in place) and added the counterweight (which also gets tightened on the rod). The next step shows you step-by-step photos to set up the spit rod.
Step 4: Assemble and Attach the Rotisserie
The pictures show the following progression:
- Place the first fork on the spit rod, just past the halfway point and push it into the meat. Turn the thumbscrew and tighten it in place (1st to 4th pictures).
- Add the chicken then place the second fork onto the rod and push into the meat and tighten the thumbscrew (5th picture).
- Spin the rod in your hands; the heaviest part of the chicken will fall to the bottom (second last picture).
- Once you determine the heavy side of the meat, install the counterweight pointing upward (my husband kindly helped me with this part!). Tighten it onto the rod (last picture). If you have room around your sink area, another way to determine where the chicken is off-balance is to place the rod over a kitchen sink to see where the heaviest part of the bird falls.
Step 5: Onto the Barbecue - Crisp Up That Skin!
Mount the rotisserie motor onto the bracket. Slide the spit rod onto the brackets on either side.
Be sure to place an empty drip tray directly underneath the chicken to catch all the drippings (if you skip this step you'll end up with a greasy mess on your barbecue!).
We plugged the rotisserie motor into an outdoor outlet and took our chicken for an inaugural spin (as you can see in the GIFs above and below!).
At this point, you can pull down the cover and leave it for 15 minutes so the chicken skin crisps up.
Step 6: After 15 Minutes...
After 15 minutes, open the BBQ lid and check the chicken. If it looks like the skin is crisping up, turn the barbecue down to medium heat to let it finish cooking on a lower setting. Then close the lid again. Since I was taking pictures of the chicken with the lid open for this I'ble, our chicken needed another 6 minutes. If it's not quite to your liking, set a timer so you don't forget it and check it again after another few minutes.
If you prepped the rest of your meal in advance, or have some leftover side dishes, you can sit in your backyard and enjoy the fine weather while the chicken cooks. We already had some leftover rice and veggies that we just needed to heat up, so that's exactly what we did! Take advantage of every opportunity to bask in the sunshine - especially if you live in a cold climate like we do!
Step 7: Timing - How Long to Cook
For every pound of chicken, you should cook it for 20 minutes. Our chicken weighed 4 pounds so it needed an hour of cook time. Set a timer for 45 minutes (since you already spent 15 minutes crisping up the skin) and check it when the timer goes off. In the next step, we'll use a foolproof way to tell if the chicken is done.
Step 8: Take the Temperature of That Bird!
After the allotted cook time, the chicken should register at least 165 on a meat thermometer. We cooked our chicken to 180 degrees fahrenheit; anything ranging from 165 - 180 is fine and safe to eat. We always use an instant read thermometer to test for doneness; nothing spoils a delicious dinner more than the possibility of getting food poisoning if any of the chicken is still raw. Bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter can survive in chicken that is not cooked to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, so I think a thermometer is a must!
When it's done, remove the rotisserie from the barbecue and put it onto a pan. The rod, prongs and counterweight are all too hot to remove at this point so leave them alone for now.
Take the pan inside where you'll tent the chicken for another 10 minutes.
Step 9: Tent the Chicken
We bought extra wide, heavy duty foil just for this step but you can use two pieces of smaller foil overlapped if you don't have it.
We tented the chicken loosely with a piece of foil for 10 minutes so the juices could get reabsorbed into the chicken and not run out when cut. This is an important step for succulent juicy chicken, so give it a try if you haven't tented before!
After 10 minutes, we donned oven gloves, loosened everything holding the chicken onto the rod and then disassembled it. Lay all the pieces on a metal tray at the back of the stove to cool so no one accidentally gets burned if it's still hot.
Step 10: The Key to a Happy Marriage...
I firmly believe that one of the keys to a happy marriage is having a partner who loves the dark meat when you prefer the white! Carve up that chicken and enjoy :)
Step 11: Mmmm, Leftovers.... BBQ It Now and Still Enjoy It Later!
We only used half the bird for dinner so had plenty of leftovers. It was so juicy, we barely had to cut it apart - we were able to pull the leg from the carcass with ease. We removed as much of the meat as we could, put it into a glass dish, covered it and into the fridge it went for the next day. The leftovers make a great no-cook meal when the weather is too hot to cook indoors or out; just add the cold chicken into a tossed salad and add some dressing!
We popped the remaining carcass into a zip-lock bag and removed all the air. We'll store it in the freezer and use it later for soup. It will keep several months in the freezer; we'll pull it out again when we have a penchant for chicken soup in the fall. The roasted meat and bones will add incredible depth of flavour to the stock. For a great chicken soup recipe (with matzo balls!), visit my blog.
You really can't beat getting three meals-for-one!
Step 12: Please Vote!
I don't know what took us so long to try barbecued chicken on our rotisserie, but now that we have the first one under our belts (and in our tummy) I have a feeling it's going to be a mainstay. You literally just set it and practically forget it, but end up with a juicy, succulent and crisp-skinned bird. Nothing could be closer to perfection :)
If you enjoyed this I'ble, don't forget to vote!
Third Prize in the
Outdoor Cooking Contest 2017