Tackling a Full Bird


As summer reaches the high point, everyone is planning their remaining BBQs, parties, and outdoor dinners. If you haven’t tried it yet, serving an entire chicken (or chickens) can be a great way to feed a crowd and make a dramatic entrance at dinner time.


Let’s take a look at some different outdoor methods for taking on the whole chicken at your next cookout.



Using a smoker is a full-day event. The whole point is to cook meats at a low temperature, for a very long amount of time. This is why smokers are designed to be large enough to fit a lot of food. Smokers on the market now can fit anywhere from 6 to 10 average-sized chickens, making it a great way to get a big group covered.


You can prepare the bird with dry rubs or a marinade, and a lot of people like to soak them in a brine beforehand. The brine is primarily made of salt, sugar, and water, and it keeps everything moist.



This term actually refers to the method of cutting, rather than cooking, your chicken. You remove the backbone and flatten the chicken, allowing it to cook more evenly and quickly. The flavor profile is up to you, but a sweet, tangy sauce would make a great marinade for this style.


The cooking itself is also up to you. You can combine spatchcocking with the smoker, and ensure the wood flavors permeate every bite. You can also close the birds up in your grill. Pile your charcoal on one side and place the meat on the other side and close the lid. The indirect heat creates an outdoor oven for you, but the charcoal or wood fuel adds flavors you can’t get from cooking inside.


Under a Brick

This method can actually also be combined with the two previous styles listed above. In fact, you have to spatchcock the chicken in order to achieve the true “Under a Brick” effect. The point of the bricks is to apply pressure in order to achieve a crispy and evenly cooked meat. You can season your chicken with everything from salt, pepper, and oil to a dry rub, brine, or marinade. And you can serve it up with your favorite sides and sauce afterward.

All you need is your spatchcocked chicken and two bricks wrapped in tin foil. You cook your chicken over indirect heat or smoke by placing the bricks on either side of where the backbone was. Just make sure you reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.



The beer can method is a fun way to cook a bird and ensure it is moist all the way through. You can prepare your chicken however you like, but avoiding messy sauces until serving time is a good rule of thumb. When it’s time to cook, using indirect heat with a cover on, you place a half-full beer can on the grill. Lower the chicken’s cavity on top of it, then use the legs and can to stand it up while it gets ready and delicious.

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