Charcoal Chicken Recipe

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charcoal chicken recipe

World Cuisines


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Charcoal chicken, with its unique smoky flavor and tender, juicy meat, is a dish that has gained popularity in many parts of the world. This recipe provides a simple guide to making delicious charcoal chicken at home, giving you the chance to enjoy this classic dish with your friends and family.


To make charcoal chicken, you’ll need the following ingredients:

1 whole chicken (about 3-4 pounds)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for heat)


Step 1: Prepare the Chicken

Clean the Chicken: Start by cleaning the chicken, removing any excess fat or feathers. Pat it dry with paper towels to ensure the marinade sticks well.

Spatchcock the Chicken: To cook the chicken evenly, spatchcock it by cutting along the backbone and pressing it flat. This technique allows the chicken to cook more uniformly on the grill.

Step 2: Make the Marinade

In a bowl, mix together the olive oil, minced garlic, paprika, cumin, lemon juice, salt, pepper, oregano, and cayenne pepper if you like a bit of heat.

Coat the chicken evenly with the marinade, ensuring it’s well covered. You can use a brush or your hands to spread the marinade over the chicken.

Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight in the refrigerator.

This helps the flavors to penetrate the meat.

Step 3: Grill the Chicken

Prepare the Grill: Heat a charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Once the coals are hot and covered with white ash, spread them evenly to create a consistent heat source.

Place the Chicken on the Grill: Put the chicken, skin side down, on the grill. Close the lid and let it cook for about 15-20 minutes.

Flip and Continue Cooking: After the initial cooking time, flip the chicken and cook for another 20-30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (75°C). Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken is fully cooked.

Rest and Serve: Once cooked, remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a juicier dish.

Serving Suggestions

Charcoal chicken pairs well with a variety of sides, such as grilled vegetables, roasted potatoes, or a simple salad. You can also serve it with garlic sauce or a tangy yogurt dip for added flavor.

Making charcoal chicken at home is a rewarding experience, allowing you to enjoy a flavorful, smoky dish in the comfort of your own backyard. With the right marinade and grilling techniques, you can create a meal that’s sure to impress. Enjoy the process and savor the results with your favorite sides and sauces.

Tips for Perfect Charcoal Chicken

To ensure your charcoal chicken turns out perfectly, keep these tips in mind:

Tip 1: Monitor the Temperature

Maintaining a consistent temperature is key to successful grilling. If the heat is too high, the chicken might burn on the outside while remaining undercooked inside. If it’s too low, the chicken could dry out. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature and ensure it reaches 165°F (75°C).

Tip 2: Use a Charcoal Chimney Starter

A charcoal chimney starter helps you get your charcoal ready quickly and evenly. It eliminates the need for lighter fluid, which can affect the flavor of your food. Simply load the charcoal into the chimney, light it, and wait for the coals to become ashy white before spreading them on the grill.

Tip 3: Indirect Heat for Even Cooking

For large pieces of meat like whole chicken, it’s best to use indirect heat. This means placing the coals on one side of the grill and the chicken on the other, allowing the chicken to cook without direct contact with the flames. This technique reduces the risk of burning and ensures a more even cook.

Tip 4: Baste for Extra Flavor

If you want to add even more flavor, consider basting the chicken with a mixture of lemon juice and olive oil as it cooks. This helps keep the chicken moist and adds a fresh, zesty touch.

Tip 5: Let the Chicken Rest

Resting the chicken after grilling is crucial. It allows the juices to redistribute, leading to a more tender and flavorful dish. Rest the chicken on a cutting board, covered with foil, for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Variations and Additions

Charcoal chicken is a versatile dish, and you can experiment with different marinades and flavor profiles. Here are some ideas for variations:

Mediterranean Style: Use a marinade with lemon juice, garlic, oregano, and rosemary for a Mediterranean twist.

Spicy Kick: Add extra cayenne pepper or chili flakes to the marinade for those who love heat.

Asian Fusion: Try a marinade with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil for an Asian-inspired flavor.

Herb-Crusted: Add fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or sage to the marinade for a fragrant, herbaceous aroma.

Charcoal chicken is a delightful dish that’s sure to please a crowd. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or preparing a special family dinner, this recipe provides a straightforward way to achieve tender, flavorful chicken with a smoky twist. With a little preparation and attention to detail, you can create a memorable meal that everyone will love.


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