Recipe courtesy of Paul Kahan

The Publican Grilled Whole Chicken

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 days 1 hr 20 min
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 4 servings
This chicken recipe has been on the menu at The Publican since it opened, and it's one of the signature dishes. You'll learn how to debone a whole chicken while leaving the skin intact, and how to grill it so it has a perfect char on the outside while the meat stays juicy on the inside. This is a can't-miss hit for summertime.



  1. Debone and pre-salt the chicken: First, stand the chicken up on its neck and cut down both sides of the backbone to remove it. Trim away the loose fat at the tail end. Make a slit at the breastplate, clear away the membranes on either side with your finger, and pop the breastplate out; remove it in one piece. Slice away the ribcage on both sides. Make a slit on either side of the thigh bone, tuck the knife underneath the bone, scrape the meat to the knee joint, pop the bone out and remove, as well as any cartilage remaining from the backbone.Repeat with other side. Finally, remove the wishbone. Tuck the wings under the chicken. Salt the chicken on both sides with 2 teaspoons kosher salt and refrigerate for 24 hours. (Reserve bones and trimmings for stock.)
  2. Marinade: Sprinkle remaining teaspoon of salt over coarsely chopped garlic on a cutting board. Chop together until the garlic is minced, then transfer to a bowl. Add black pepper, Espelette pepper, oregano, olive oil, and lemon juice; whisk to combine. Pour the marinade over the chicken and make sure the entire chicken is coated. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  3. Heat one side of your grill to medium-high, the other to medium-low. For a charcoal grill, use a chimney stuffed loosely with paper at the bottom; place the charcoal on top, and light the paper. Allow the coals to heat for about 20 minutes before pouring them onto one side of the grill. Replace the grill grate and allow it to heat up for 5 minutes.
  4. The grill should be very hot. Allow excess marinade to drip off the chicken; then, quickly and carefully place the chicken skin-side down over direct heat and allow to cook for several minutes. (If flames flare up, move the chicken away from the coals.) When the skin is golden and lightly charred, move the chicken to the cooler side of the grill. Keep the breasts furthest from the heat, as the leg and thighs take longer to cook. Cover the grill; control the temperature by using the vents on the lid and under the grill. They should both be open halfway. Continue cooking, 3–4 minutes.
  5. Check on the chicken and adjust placement as needed to control heat exposure; cover grill and continue cooking, 5–7 minutes. Once the skin is charred golden-brown, flip the chicken and finish cooking over indirect heat with the grill covered, about 10–12 minutes. The chicken is done when it registers 165 degrees F, or the juices from the drumstick run clear.
  6. Remove chicken from the grill. Rest the chicken prior to carving, 5–7 minutes. Carve the chicken: Cut each breast into two pieces, and separate the legs from the thighs. Arrange on a platter and dress with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice before serving.