In this whole grilled chicken recipe, the backbone is removed and the chicken is flattened then grilled under the weight of 2 bricks--which enables it to cook quickly and evenly. The homemade rub recipe makes enough to prepare 2 pounds of boneless chicken or 4 pounds of bone-in chicken, but you can easily double or triple the recipe and store the extra in an airtight container for up to 3 months so you can have it on hand throughout the grilling season.

David Bonom


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

1 hr 45 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare rub: Combine chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, salt, paprika, garlic powder, ginger and cayenne in a small bowl.

  • To prepare chicken: Remove giblets from chicken and trim any excess skin and fat. Using kitchen shears, cut the chicken down one side of the backbone, through the ribs. Make an identical cut on the opposite side to remove the backbone completely; discard. Place the chicken cut-side down and flatten with the heel of your hand. Rub the dry rub mixture under the skin onto the breast meat and leg meat and rub a little on the skin. Let stand at room temperature for at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes.

  • To grill chicken: Place 2 foil-wrapped bricks on the grill rack. Preheat a gas grill to medium-high or build a two-zone fire (coals on one side of the grill) in a charcoal grill and let it burn down to medium-high heat (about 450 degrees F).

  • If using a gas grill, turn off one burner (leaving 1 to 2 burners lit, depending on your grill). Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Wearing oven mitts, remove the hot bricks and set the chicken on the rack, skin-side down, over the unlit portion of the grill. Place one brick on each half of the chicken, close the lid and grill until the skin is well marked and golden around the edges, 28 to 30 minutes. (If using a charcoal grill, add 10 coals after the first 30 minutes to maintain the heat.)

  • Wearing oven mitts, carefully remove the bricks. Using a large spatula, carefully turn the chicken over. Replace the bricks, close the lid and grill until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F, 28 to 30 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before removing the skin and carving.


Make Ahead Tip: Store the rub, airtight, for up to 1 month.

Equipment: 2 bricks

Once the grill is heated, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the hot rack right before placing the chicken on the grill.

Nutrition Facts

232 calories; protein 32.6g; carbohydrates 5.1g; dietary fiber 1.4g; sugars 3.2g; fat 8.4g; saturated fat 2.2g; cholesterol 97.5mg; vitamin a iu 1032.1IU; vitamin c 0.1mg; folate 7.7mcg; calcium 36mg; iron 2.2mg; magnesium 32.7mg; potassium 335.9mg; sodium 754.7mg; thiamin 0.1mg; added sugar 3g.

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Rating: 5 stars
Delicious Saw this is the latest issue of Eating Well and had to try it since I happened to have some random bricks in my backyard. It was really good especially with the peach lime salsa recipe from the same issue. I will say prepping the chicken was a little barbaric. I've heard most butchers will butterfly the chicken for you if you ask nicely.:-) It has really good flavor and came out super moist. My bird was about 2.75 lbs and took 40 mins to cook. Used an instant temp thermometer and it was over the 165 mark but was still very juicy. I will definitely be using this method to cook a whole chicken again and try out some other spice rubs. Pros: Fast Easy Tasty Cons: None Read More