How to prepare a rotisserie chicken
I've always loved rotisserie chicken and have wanted to make it for a long time. I never took the step of purchasing the attachment for any of the gas grills that I've owned, but I finally purchased the Weber 2290 22" rotisserie for charcoal grills. I wanted to share with you how to prepare a rotisserie chicken.
The first thing that I have to say is that the add-on of the rotisserie actually cost about the same that the grill itself cost me. As you'll see below, I've got a 22" original kettle premium that I do my charcoal and fire cooking on (for information or to purchase on amazon...).
Below are the steps on how to prepare a rotisserie chicken on my weber kettle grill. I thought the results were fantastic, but in this pass, I didn't get a great finish on the skin. It was a little crispy in spots, but I'll add in the recommendations to help crisp up the skin more than I achieved. The meat was juicy. The temperature and doneness of the chicken was really perfect.
How to Make Rotisserie Chicken on a Weber Kettle
Prepare Your Chicken
The actual preparation of your chicken can take up to 24 hours. Don't worry, you're not actually doing anything for this time. First, take your chickens out of their packaging and pat it or them dry using paper towels and separate the skin from the meat using your fingers. Place the chickens on a cookie sheet or a couple of plates, uncovered in your refrigerator. You can do this as much as 24 hours ahead of putting the chickens on the grill. You should at least do this over night so that the skin has plenty of time to dry. This will help make your skin crispy.
Right before I start your coals, I start to do the final preparation of the chickens. I put my rub of choice on the chicken and i cut up either a lemon or orange and I place them inside the chicken cavity. Once I've done that, I tie the fold the wings back under the body and tie the legs together.
Once the chicken is properly tied, it's time to put the chickens on the skewer. I put both chickens on the same skewer. A placed the chickens with the breast pointing to the pins and the legs in the center facing each other. This allowed me to place the pins into a meaty part of the chicken for the best hold.
Now we are ready to cook
Set up your grill for Indirect Cooking
The next step is to start your charcoal and set your grill up for indirect cooking. This just means that on each side of the grill, you'll place your charcoal (split evenly) and in the middle you'll want to place drip pans.
After I dump my hot coals into the coal baskets, I typically add some more coal to fill the baskets up. I then place the attachment into the grill and cover the grill. While the coals are burning, I'm adjusting the vents so that I am able to control the temperature. I'm going for a temperature of around 375 degrees (F). This should be hot enough to really crisp up the skin and cook (in this case) my two chickens nicely in about an hour and half to an hour and 45 minutes.
Just remember - we want to cook the chicken to 165-170 degrees, we don't grill by the clock.
Cooking Your Rotisserie Chicken
This is really the second best part of grilling is hanging out, smelling the smoke and having a couple of cocktails while the meat is cooking. First things, first. Place the skewered chickens onto your grill and baste the birds, if you are going to baste them. Place the cover on the grill and turn on the rotisserie motor.
While we don't recommend opening the grill cover a lot because you'll lose heat, but i wanted to share a couple of pictures of the progress during the cook. The picture below was taken roughly a half-hour into the cook. Note the color beginning to appear on the birds. [This is also a good illustration of what your grill should look like when it's properly set for indirect cooking.]
The picture below is what the birds looked like right before they came to temperature. After about an hour and a 15 minutes into the cook, you should take your first temperature reading. Since the birds were spinning around, I was using an instant-read thermometer. Your target temperature for chicken is to look in both the thickest part of the thigh as well as the breast -- you want a temperature between 165 and 170 degrees F. This is the recommended temperature for health reasons.