I’ve always thought that cooking whole chickens and turkeys is one of the most economical ways to procure and prepare meat. These days, you can buy a whole chicken for less than the price of a standard pack of three breasts. So not only do you get more meat for the money, but you get the means to make a nice stock with the bones.
My in-laws recently gave me a rotisserie attachment for my propane grill, so I’ve been roasting up a storm. My favorite dish to make is lemon-pepper chicken. It’s an incredibly easy rub and roast process that gets rave reviews.
Lemon Pepper Chicken Rub
- 2 lemons, zested
- The juice from 1½ lemons
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
Crush the peppercorns, salt, and lemon zest into a paste using a mortar and pestle.
Next, toss the paste into a bowl with the lemon juice and oil and whisk until emulsified. Herbes de provence, or any of its singular components, make good additions as well.
Then rub the mixture all over and under the chicken skin. Finally, shove the spent lemons into the cavity and truss the bird tight.
This is how you truss the bird for the rotisserie. Even if you’re just going to roast your chicken in your oven, trussing is a good way to ensure even cooking. I had to truss mine a little differently because I ripped the back skin and needed to secure it.
Here’s my rotisserie in action. I use a pan to catch drippings for gravy, but remove the pan for the last 20 minutes and cook over direct heat to get crispier skin.
When the chicken is almost done, I squeeze the last half-lemon over the chicken as it rotates on the rotisserie.
When the thickest part of the thigh hits 160°, remove the chicken to a plate, tent it with foil, and let it rest for 15 minutes. When the juices have redistributed, carve up your bird. I usually slice off one of the breasts and the wife and I eat it with roasted vegetables and/or salad.
Rotisserie roasting chicken is actually a relatively low-fat preparation. While healthiness is a great side benefit, the best thing about cooking whole chickens is the leftovers. And my favorite way to use leftover rotisserie chicken is to make soup.