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Rotisserie Chicken

Rosemary and thyme lend this spit-roasted chicken a distinctive Mediterranean flavor, but you can vary the herbs, depending on what you have available or growing in the garden. 

Ingredients:

  • 10 to 12 fresh rosemary sprigs 
  • 10 to 12 fresh thyme sprigs 
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt, plus more, to taste 
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly cracked pepper, plus more, to taste 
  • 1 chicken, 3 to 3 1/2 lb., neck and giblets removed 
  • 2 lb. wood chips, soaked in water for 30 minutes 

Directions:

Strip the leaves from half of the rosemary and thyme sprigs and roughly chop. In a small bowl, stir together the chopped herbs, the 1 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper.

Generously season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. Using your fingers, carefully loosen the skin from the breast and legs and massage the herb mixture under the skin. Stuff the remaining herb sprigs into the cavity of the bird.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for rotisserie grilling over medium-high heat.

For a charcoal grill: Rake the coals to the sides of the grill and place a drip pan with 1/2 inch water in the fire bed. Sprinkle half of the soaked wood chips over the coals. Thread the chicken onto the rotisserie spit and secure it over the grill according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Turn on the motor, cover the grill, and spit-roast until the skin is browned and the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced with a knife, 45 to 75 minutes. Replenish the coals and wood chips every 20 minutes to maintain constant temperature and smoke.

For a gas grill: Increase one burner to high. Heat a smoker box half full of soaked wood chips until smoking, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Thread the chicken onto the rotisserie spit and secure it over the grill according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Turn on the motor, cover the grill, and spit-roast until the skin is browned and the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced with a knife, 45 to 75 minutes. Replenish the wood chips every 20 minutes to maintain constant smoke.

To test for doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, away from the bone; it should register 170°F. The temperature will rise several more degrees while the chicken is resting.

Transfer the chicken to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve the chicken, arrange on a warmed platter and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma On the Grill, by Willie Cooper (Oxmoor House, 2009).