Gigantic chicken for Thanksgiving

In lieu of a turkey, I'm getting an 8-pound chicken. Yes, eight pounds. We need to use the gas grill to cook it, since the oven will be otherwise occupied. What are your suggestions as to how to cook this thing? We first thought of doing it "beer-can style" but with cider instead of beer, but with such a large chicken, it may be too tall to close the grill. What would you do?

  • Posted by: Terri
  • November 19, 2020


Terri November 21, 2020
Thanks everyone. We will investigate spatchcocking. Re y our questions about the chicken: I believe the purveyor said that the farmer who is supplying these chickens raises an extra-large breed, but I don't know what it's called, and I am pretty sure that it's not an older bird. Just a big one. We shall see.... (fingers crossed... this purveyor gets rave reviews from the community for have excellent product).
Nancy November 21, 2020
No aspersions on your chicken as old. Just used the coq au vin suggestion as analogy to Kristen's fear a large bird might be less flavorful.
Glad the supplier has good rep. Hope the whole meal is lovely.
MMH November 19, 2020
I agree with spatchcocking or buy 2 smaller birds.
Kristen W. November 19, 2020
Well, first of all I would suggest dry-brining it. Here’s a link to an excellent turkey recipe that will give you the ratio of salt per pound and method for dry brining poultry:

(I suspect that a chicken that large might tend to be a little less flavorful than a smaller chicken and could use the seasoning. Also it will help keep the meat moist.)

Second, you might try spatchcocking it (removing the backbone and flattening it). I think you can search this hotline for the term “spatchcock” and probably find a description of how to do it if you never have. A spatchcocked chicken will fit inside the grill, and the method tends to promote more even cooking.

I have honestly never heard of an 8 lb chicken - wherever did you get it?
Nancy November 19, 2020
I was also going to recommend spatchcocking the bird..that gives you at least two grilling or roasting on a closed gas grill.
You might look at one of several videos out there for easy-to-follow steps on how to cut the chicken before cooking.
Last, to address the possible lack of flavor Kristen mentions in a larger chicken.
Since you're already foregoing tradition in choice of bird, maybe also do so in cooking method.
Coq au vin was specifically designed to give old birds more flavor at table. Then there are recipes with spicy peanut sauces, beer and onions, chocolate and chilies...etc.
All can hit an American note by choice of ingredients.
Enjoy your cooking and your day.
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