Juicy and golden, rotisserie chicken is the best of hands-off summer grilling. Never tried this easy cooking method? Here's my step-by-step guide on how to rotisserie chicken. Do it yourself and enjoy the mouth watering aromas in your own backyard. This works for both a gas grill and a wood-fired pellet grill with attachment.
Rotisserie Chicken Versus Oven Roasted Chicken
Both provide delicious results, and both are a roasting method, just different tools. In chilly weather I oven roast a whole chicken weekly. Oven roast chicken takes about an hour.
Rotisserie roast chicken takes about 1 ½-2 hours. Put the chicken on the grill and walk away, but check occasionally. Before long you will have a gorgeous bronze bird for dinner.
Rotisserie Chicken for a Gas Grill or Pellet Grill
I originally wrote this post for my gas grill, but now have a wood-fired pellet grill. This works for both.
If you have a pellet grill with rotisserie attachment, the only change is this: smear the bird with a light coating of mayonnaise instead of olive oil. I know that sounds strange, but trust me, it works. Season the chicken well and proceed. Set your temperature at 400°F and be sure the hopper is full of good hardwood pellets.
What is Rotisserie Chicken
Rotisserie is a style of roasting. It’s easy to do at home on a grill with a rotisserie attachment. The whole chicken is skewered onto a spit (a long metal rod) and secured with prongs, then roasted while the bird slowly rotates. The rotation provides even, gentle cooking and self-basting. The skin turns a deep, golden bronze and the meat stays juicy and tender.
How to Season Rotisserie Chicken
To season rotisserie chicken you can simply use salt, pepper and granulated garlic. I rub the bird with olive oil and coat with a generous application of my dry rub recipe. Lemon pepper works well too.
Option: Stuffing the Chicken
I stuff the chicken cavity with things that add flavor and moisture. Use half of a small onion, cut in half, a lemon wedge, sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary, a crushed garlic clove or two, and a bay leaf. If a little falls out during the rotation, don't worry. If you don't have all of this, use what you have or skip stuffing.
Step by Step for How to Prep a Rotisserie Chicken
I usually buy a 4 – 4 ½ pound organic chicken. This size will serve four to five for dinner. For us two it means dinner plus great leftovers for lunch through the week.
Ready The Chicken
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 1 hour prior to roasting to get the chill off.
- Discard any little bag of innards, rinse the bird inside and out and dry with paper towels. See post on safely handling raw chicken.
- Remove any extra fat around the neck cavity and bend wing tips back under the bird.
Season and Flavor the Chicken
- Season the inside of the bird with a sprinkle of the seasoning you plan to use on the outside of the bird.
- Stuff the cavity with half a chopped onion, a few peeled and crushed garlic cloves and a few sprigs fresh thyme, rosemary and a bay leaf. A wedge of lemon or orange is nice too.
- Rub the outside with olive oil and sprinkle generously with your seasoning, turning the bird to coat evenly.
Truss the Chicken and Position the Spit
- Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. This keeps the chicken in a nice shape for even roasting and rotation.
- Center the chicken on the spit (rotisserie rod) so the weight is evenly distributed. Slide the meats forks onto each side of the rod pushing them into the chicken to secure. Tighten the screws. Do this on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any raw juices and keep things clean and it allows for easy transport to the grill.
- Place the rod with the chicken into the rotisserie and turn on the motor to be sure it is turning. Add extra rub if you have any bare spots.
Temperature and Timing for Rotisserie Chicken
- For a gas grill, there may not be a temperature setting. If there is, set it for 400°F as you would for a pellet grill.
- Roast for approximately 2 hours or until the inner thigh reaches 165º – 170º degrees tested with a digital thermometer. The chicken should be a deep golden brown. Peak in and check on the rotisserie occasionally to be sure it is turning.
- Remove chicken from the rotisserie and allow chicken to stand for about 15 minutes before carving.
Rotisserie chicken nutrition is basically the same as an oven roasted chicken. See the nutrition numbers at the end of the recipe.
Leftover Rotisserie Chicken Recipes
Try these recipes for leftover rotisserie chicken:
- Chinese chicken salad with ginger vinaigrette
- Mexican chicken tortilla soup
- Grilled chicken salad with blueberry vinaigrette
- Use it for tacos or quesadillas
How To Rotisserie Chicken (gas grill and pellet grill)
- Rotisserie attachment for outdoor grill
- Rimmed baking sheet
- Kitchen twine
- Digital thermometer
Basic Rotisserie Chicken
- 4 ½ pound whole organic chicken
- 2 teaspoons olive oil OR mayo for pellet grill
- seasonings of choice see notes below
Options for Stuffing the Chicken
- ½ small onion, quartered
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ small lemon, quartered
- Remove chicken from the refrigerator 1 hour ahead to get the chill off. Remove and bag of innards, discard, and carefully rinse the bird inside and out and dry with paper towels. Remove extra fat around the neck cavity. Bend the wing tips back under the bird.
- Rub the bird with olive oil (or mayo) then season the inside with a sprinkle of the seasoning you plan to use on the outside of the bird. If stuffing with aromatics, do it now, then tie the legs together with kitchen twine. This keeps the chicken in a nice shape for even roasting and rotation.
- Place one pronged holder on the steel rod with prongs facing in. Skewer the chicken through the cavity and tail end. Add the other pronged holder and center the bird. Be sure the chicken is tight between the prongs. Use pliers to tighten down the screws if needed. I do this on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any raw juices and keep things clean.
- Place the rod with the chicken into the rotisserie and turn on the motor to be sure it is turning. Season the outside of the chicken while on the spit as it turns to get it evenly coated or do it in the kitchen.
- Roast for 1 ½- 2 hours or until the inner thigh reaches 165º – 170º degrees when tested with a digital thermometer. The chicken should be a deep golden brown. Peak in and check the rotisserie occasionally to be sure it is turning.
- Remove from the rotisserie and allow chicken to stand for about 15 minutes before carving.
- Salt, ground black pepper, granulated garlic
- Southwestern taco seasoning
- My all-purpose dry rub
- Lemon pepper