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Thomas Keller’s Roast Chicken – on the Grill!

July 24, 2010

By Kath Dedon


Too hot to make Thomas Keller’s famous Roast Chicken?   Not if you have a grill! This is a great summertime meal to enjoy on the deck.

I actually had never made Thomas Keller’s Roast Chicken before; my go-to roast chicken of late has been Marcella Hazan’s version. Seeing all the raves about Keller’s chicken, however, made me put it on my “must try” list.

It’s been quite cool in Seattle lately. Yesterday it warmed up and it’s supposed to be warm for the next week or so. (Warm by Seattle standards—sunny with temperatures in the upper 70s to low 80s; not much humidity. 🙂 This is why we put up with the rainy winters!) So I bought a small chicken and thought I’d try Thomas Keller’s roast chicken before my kitchen got too warm.

When I got home, though, I wondered if I really wanted to have the oven on at 450˚ for 50 – 60 minutes. I decided I did not.

So….I thought, why not use my gas grill? Well, it worked perfectly! The chicken was fantastic served over a bed of baby Swiss chard from my garden (sautéed with a bit of garlic in olive oil). With crusty bread and a big salad made with lettuce from the garden, it was a perfect dinner.



Thomas Keller’s Roast Chicken on the Grill

(Adapted from his famous recipe which I found on epicurious)


(print the recipe)


About Indirect Grilling:  I suggest following the directions for indirect grilling for your particular grill. I have a 3-burner Weber grill. If you have a 2-burner grill, you’ll turn one burner off and put the chicken on that side. You’ll want to be sure to rotate the chicken when it’s half done so it will cook evenly. If you use charcoal, put half of the heated coals on one side, and half on the other and put the chicken in the center.

Note: times given are what worked for my 3 pound chicken and my grill; they may vary depending on your grill and the size of your chicken.


Serves 2 – 4


One 2 – 3 pound chicken

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Rinse the chicken and dry it off very well, inside and out, with paper towels.

2. Generously salt the interior of the chicken.

3. Truss the chicken (I need to improve my trussing skills. As you can see in my photos, I just sort of tied it up.) and salt and pepper the chicken all over.

4. Heat your grill on high for 10 minutes.

5. Follow the directions for your grill for Indirect Grilling. For a 3- burner gas grill: Turn off the center burner, and place the chicken directly on the grill over the turned off burner.



6. Close the grill and cook for 10 minutes. (There was quite a bit of smoke during this period, just so you know.)

7. Lower the heat on the side burners to medium and cook for another 15 minutes.

8. Rotate the chicken 180˚ so it’s facing the other way. (There is no way to know if my two burners are generating the same amount of heat; this insures even cooking.)

9. Cook another 20 – 25 minutes, or until done. Internal temperature should be 165˚.

10. Let rest, uncovered for 15 – 20 minutes and then serve.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. July 24, 2010 10:39 am

    Lovely presentation. The chicken looks awesome, and I love that you served it with sauteed baby Swiss chard.

    • July 28, 2010 7:10 am

      Thanks, Madin! The Swiss chard was quite good with the chicken. I just planted some more and it should be ready in September.

  2. July 24, 2010 11:50 am

    Food TV makes trussing look so simple…what am I missing?? Thanks for a great post!

    • July 28, 2010 7:11 am

      Boy, I don’t know Jane. My simple “tying up the chicken” worked, but I do want to learn how to properly truss a bird. 😉

  3. July 24, 2010 9:07 pm

    This is SUCH a good idea. I would use it year round (Los Angeles–we BBQ every month of the year) because I hate when my kitchen gets all hot. New BBQ being put together in the backyard as we speak!

    • July 28, 2010 7:13 am

      We actually use our grill year-round in Seattle, too. After reading about issues of smoke with Keller’s oven roasted chicken, I may stick with the BBQ.

  4. July 27, 2010 10:30 am

    Wow what a smart chicken recipe! The chicken looks so perfect and delicious. I love simple salt and pepper seasoning… just like the way my dad use to make. The grilling technique sounds interesting and clever 🙂

  5. July 27, 2010 6:16 pm

    This is just perfect – especially over the Swiss chard – how I wish I had chard in my garden. It’s fairly simple yet packed with flavor and beautifully presented. (Although my trussing is pathetic.)

    • July 28, 2010 7:15 am

      I’m really not much of a gardener, Claudia, but Swiss chard is easy to grow. I don’t think it’s too late to plant some. (I hope not, since I just planted some more!)

  6. Fiona permalink
    July 10, 2012 3:11 pm

    I am trying right now! I will let you know how it goes.

    • July 10, 2012 3:21 pm

      Hope it works as well for you as it did for me! 🙂

      • Fiona permalink
        July 10, 2012 5:01 pm

        It was wonderful. BEST RECIPE EVER!! I hate roasting chickens, I always fail..they are dry or overdone or underdone or ….this way was fantastic. no fail recipe. Wish I could post the picture I took of it.

        • July 10, 2012 5:03 pm

          I’m so glad you liked it, Fiona! It’s a great way to roast a chicken, especially on a hot summer day. 😉


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