Photo by Robert Wigington


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Grilled Whole Chicken with Lemon Herb Gravy


Lightly smoked and infused with the 
fragrance of fresh herbs, lemon, and 
garlic, this roast is a winner, whether 
you are cooking a full-size turkey to 
feed a large gathering or a more modest bird for a smaller group. Bake the 
Sausage Sun-Dried Tomato Cornbread Stuffing, or your family’s favourite stuffing, in a casserole separately. Serve with simple accompaniments: garlic mashed potatoes, 
buttered Brussels sprouts, roasted 
parsnips with sweet red peppers and, 
of course, lots of gravy.

  • Serves: 6-8
  • Course: Dinner


Grilled Whole Chicken

  • 6 lb capon or roasting chicken, 
neck and giblets removed (3 kg)
  • kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lemon, cut in eighths
  • 1 head of garlic, sliced across 
the top about 1/2
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4–5 sprigs fresh rosemary, tarragon, 
or thyme
  • Herb Baste (recipe follows)

Herb Baste

  • 1/4 cup olive oil (60 ml)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary, 
tarragon, or thyme (15 ml)
  • 1 tsp paprika (5 ml)
  • 1 strip lemon zest

Lemon Herb Gravy

  • 2 tbsp butter (30 ml)
  • 2 shallots or green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cups dry white wine (500 ml)
  • 2 tsp fresh tarragon, rosemary, or thyme (10 ml)
  • 1 1/4 cups well-flavoured chicken or turkey stock (300 ml)
  • 1 tsp potato starch or cornstarch (5 tsp) mixed to a paste with 1 tbsp 
(15 ml) cold water
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Chicken

  2. Rinse bird in cold water and pat dry. Season the cavity and stuff with lemon, garlic, and herbs. Truss and brush lightly with Herb Baste.
  3. Prepare soaked apple or hickory smoking chips and arrange barbecue for cook
ing over indirect heat. Preheat barbecue to 350°F/180°C.
  4. Set bird on lightly oiled grill rack over aluminum pan. Close lid. Roast bird, basting and checking cooking temperature (adding briquettes if cooking over charcoal) every half hour until thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thigh registers 175°F/80°C.
  5. Remove bird to a warm platter, tent with foil, and allow to rest 15 minutes 
or so before carving.
  6. Tips for a perfect barbecued bird:
  7. - Use an oven thermometer to periodically check the grill temperature 
(maintain between 325°F/170°C 
and 350°F/180°C).
  8. - Make note of recommended cooking 
time (approx. 15 minutes per lb/500 g).
  9. - Baste—and add briquettes if cooking over charcoal—every half hour or so. 
We use lump charcoal, which in my experience heats up faster, rather than briquettes. For that reason, and for convenience, I don’t bother preheating them, though I am careful to only add 
a handful at a time so as not to lower the temperature inside the barbecue.
  10. - Remove the roast when the internal temperature registers 175°F/80°C; it should reach 180°F/82°C after resting.
  11. Herb Baste

  12. Combine ingredients and set aside for 
at least 30 minutes. Makes about 1/4 cup (60 ml).
  13. Lemon Herb Gravy

  14. Note: You can prepare the gravy ahead through Step 3, adding the seasoning and any juices from the grilled bird at serving time.
  15. Melt half the butter in a pan. Add shallots. Cook until soft and lightly browned.
  16. Add wine and herbs and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until reduced by half. Add stock and continue to cook until sauce is reduced by half again.
  17. Whisk in starch mixture and stir over heat until lightly thickened.
  18. Reheat and add juices from the resting bird if making ahead. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat and swirl in remaining butter. Makes about 1 1/2 cups (375 ml).
  19. Tip:
  20. - To prevent a skin from forming on top of the gravy when you prepare it ahead, melt 1 tbsp (15 ml) of butter on top of the sauce before you set it aside. Stir butter in when you reheat, before adding the seasonings.

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Jane Rodmell