In my interview with Dishin' in the Kitchen, I was asked about my favorite meal. The answer? I didn't hesitate - Rotisserie Chicken. I love a lot of foods, but this one is my clear favorite. I make it once a month, to feed my chicken cravings.*
*OK, maybe every other month in the winter, when I'm forced to roast my chicken indoors.
Even though it is my favorite meal, I still want some variety in my rotisserie chicken. I am always trying out different brines, rubs and marinades. Today I'm sharing a fancier version of dry brined chicken. Fresh rosemary and lemon zest up the flavor of the dry brine, and give the chicken an Italian flavor profile that matches well with a side of pasta and some quick-sauteed chard in olive oil.
Don't have a rotisserie? That's OK - dry brine the chicken as instructed, and use the split chicken method I link to in my notes. Or, use your favorite oven roasting technique. This dry brine is too good to pass up.
Recipe: Rotisserie Chicken, Dry Brined with Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic
Adapted from: Russ Parsons: The California Cook: A more flavorful dry brined turkey [latimes.com]
- Grill with Rotisserie attachment (I use a Weber Summit with an infrared rotisserie burner. Here is the current version of my grill.)
- Aluminum foil drip pan (9“x13”, or whatever fits your grill. I use an enameled steel roasting pan.)
- Butchers twine
- Instant Read Thermometer
Rotisserie Chicken, Dry Brined with Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic
- Yield: 2 whole chickens 1x
Rotisserie Chicken, Dry Brined with Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic recipe. Crisp skin, tender meat, and a flavor-filled dry brine make a great chicken.
- Two whole chickens, about 4 pounds each
- 4 teaspoons Diamnd crystal kosher salt (about ½ teaspoon kosher salt per pound of chicken)
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary (1 teaspoon per chicken)
- Zest of 1 lemon (½ a lemon per chicken)
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced (1 clove per chicken)
- 1 whole lemon, halved (½ lemon per chicken; use the one that was zested)
- Dry brine the chicken: Make the dry brine by putting the the salt, rosemary, garlic, and lemon zest in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, and grinding until it is a fine powder. It will be kind of wet - halfway between a paste and a powder. Rub a two-finger pinch of the dry brine (about ¼ tsp) in the cavity of the bird. Next, loosen the skin from the breast meat by gently running a finger under the skin of each breast. I rub ¼ teaspoon of the dry brine on the meat of the breast, working it under the skin. Then I rub the outside of the chicken with the rest of the brine, using about ½ teaspoon per "side". I start with the breast, then I turn the chicken to one side (with the leg and wing facing up), then flip and do the other side. Finally, I salt the bottom (backbone) side of the chicken. Put ½ lemon in the cavity of the chicken. Repeat with the second chicken, then refrigerate overnight, or up to 3 days. If you are salting more than a day in advance, cover the chicken with plastic wrap, and remove the wrap the night before cooking to let the chicken skin air dry in the refrigerator.
- Truss and skewer the chicken: One hour before cooking, remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Fold the wingtips back under the chicken, then truss the chicken tightly. (Again, see the basic technique for trussing details). Skewer the chicken on the spit - get it on there tight! I like to put one set of prongs under the breast of the first chicken, then the other skewer through the thighs. Then, I put the second bird on upside down compared to the first bird. This makes the whole spit more balanced, which eases the load on the rotisserie motor. Also, it looks cool that way.*
- *Yes, I'm a cooking nerd.
- Prepare the grill: Set the grill up for rotisserie cooking at high heat. For my Weber Summit, this means removing the grates, turning the two outer burners (burners 1 and 6) to high, and turning the infrared burner to high. Then I put my drip pan in the middle, over the unlit burners, and let the grill preheat for ten to fifteen minutes.
- Cook the chicken: Put the spit on the grill, turn on the rotisserie motor, and cook with the lid closed. The cooking time will be from 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes, depending on the size of the bird. A 4 pound bird will be done in about an hour. The best way to tell if the chicken is done is to check the temperature in the thickest part of the breast meat. You want that temperature to be 160*F to 165°F, but no higher. I start checking the temperature at the 45 minute mark, and check it every 10 to 15 minutes after that.
- Serve: Remove the spit from the grill, remove the chicken from the spit, and remove the trussing string from the chicken. Let the chicken rest for at least 15 minutes, then carve and serve.
- Category: Rotisserie
- Cuisine: American
- Drip pan potatoes are a great accompaniment to this recipe. Or, try some drip pan sweet potatoes - that recipe is coming on Thursday.
- I...um...I forgot the garlic when I cooked the recipe above. It was still delicious, so the garlic is optional...
Don't have a rotisserie? Try this dry brine with my butterflied chicken technique.
Rotisserie Chicken, dry brined (and cooked on a Weber charcoal kettle)
Rotisserie Drip Pan Sweet Potatoes
Click here for my other rotisserie recipes.
Thank you to Jeff and Melanie at Brunty Farms for the chicken.
Russ Parsons: The California Cook: A more flavorful dry brined turkey [latimes.com]
|Check out my cookbook, Rotisserie Grilling.|
Everything you could ask about the rotisserie,
plus 50 (mostly) new recipes to get you cooking.
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This is fantastic once again.
We have the same exact Weber Summit Grill, and we are curious if you every have any issue with the rotisserie freezing up? Ours will often just stop rotating like the spit just popped out of the socket.
Mike Vrobel says
No, I have not had problems with the motor I have two of them, and they both keep chugging along.
Absolutely delicious! I did it exactly the first time (fantastic!); the second time I included some minced shallots in the dry brine/paste and I thought it was (if possible) slightly better.
Thanks so much for your website--I am loving my rotisserie (with a mere Weber Genesis) and it's become my go-to entertaining meal source.
I've tried this brine several times, but it seems as though when using garlic and lemon zest the moisture causes it to become a paste rather than a powder. Makes it difficult to "sprinkle" the brine on. What am I doing wrong?
I read that you had forgotten the garlic. Perhaps I should not mix the garlic in with the rest when grinding? Would you have a suggestion on adding garlic after brining?
Mike V says
Andrew, you're right - this does wind up somewhere between a paste and a powder. I have updated the description to "Rub" rather than "Sprinkle".
Ok ... thought I was messing up somewhere. Cooking mine this afternoon for family (11 people). Wish me luck!
Love your site and all your ideas and guidance. In fact, I've been recommending it to all my friends and family that have asked where I get "all these great bbq ideas!" 🙂
Mike V says
Great recipe. I basted the bird every 10-15 minutes with the drippings. Do you do that? Will the bird dry out if you don't?
Mike V says
No, I don't baste. The bird will only dry out if you overcook it. Rotisserie chicken is self basting - it rolls the juices around on the outside before they drop in the pan - that's why the skin comes out so brown and delicious.
Thank you. Excited to try for Labor Day weekend cooking this on rotisserie.
Do you have to rinse off the dry brine?
Mike V says
No! Don't rinse off the brine - it's the same amount of salt you would use if you were just salting the chicken.
Thanks. I'll let you know.
Mike V @ DadCooksDinner says
First the type of salt question:
Morton's Kosher weighs more than Diamond Crystal, which is what I use. I use a tablespoon of Diamond Crystal on a 4 pound chicken; I would use 2 teaspoons of Morton's,
Check out my Salt by Weight post for the nitty gritty details: https://www.dadcooksdinner.com/2012/02/salt-by-weight.html
The 12% broth is more worrying. That probably means it's pre-brined. I would cut back to a teaspoon of Mortons for the dry brine.
Good luck, and let me know how it goes.
I used your recipe for dry brine on my turkey breast for Thanksgiving and let me tell you that that was the best turkey I have ever had. I want to try it with chicken but I have a question first or two first. I have a chicken that is package with 12% chicken broth. Should I cut back on the salt? I have Morton Kosher salt, should I cut back on that as well? You recommended that if you were not using the same salt you normally use.
MikeV @ DadCooksDinner says
This recipe works fine with either approach. It is great Beer Can style with indirect heat; I do it that way from time to time.
For the offset smoker, it works, and I know beer can chicken came from the barbecue circuit, where offset smokers rule, but..
I prefer the crispier skin you get with indirect heat versus offset smoker style. The skin never really gets as crispy as I want it with the low-n-slow offset barbecue method. But, that's more of a style preference - if you like that style of bird, then this recipe works fine with it.
Bought a Weber Genesis II a month ago and today took the first shot at rosting a whole chicken. Came out even better than expected and the rotisserie pan potatoes where a 10/10 side dish! Can't wait to try the other recipes in the blog since this was such an awesome dish!
Mike Vrobel says
I'm glad you enjoyed it!
How would this turn out "beer-can" style with indirect heat or smoked with a side firebox? Sorry, bit I have no rotisserie as of yet.
MikeV @ DadCooksDinner says
You're welcome! I'm glad I came out on top over the supermarket rotisserie chicken. They always smell so good, but they pale in comparison to a home-roasted bird.
Mike V - This is a great technique with fabulous results. The family thought that this was the best chicken we have made at home. I am fortunate to have the same Weber with rotisserie and have rarely used it! That will change. I was wondering if this would be worth all of the work, when every good market has a decent rotisserie chicken? It definitely is and the market option offers no comparison.
I am looking forward to trying some of your other rotisserie ideas.
Thank you once again.
MikeV @ DadCooksDinner says
Argh! You're right, I didn't use the smoking wood. For this recipe, I don't use it. I removed it from the recipe.
If you wanted to use it, though, I would cook with charcoal instead of a gas grill like I do in this recipe. Toss the wood chunk on the coals right before starting the chicken on the rotisserie. It will add a nice, smoky flavor to the bird.
You list smoking wood within the ingredients, but I do not see where you reference using wood in the instructions. Do you actually use the wood in your weber for this recipe? Thank you.