American Butter Chicken

April 22, 2013
0 Ratings
  • Makes one whole chicken
Author Notes

No garam masala here. This American Butter Chicken relies on a simple recipe of salt, pepper, lemons, herbs and - you guessed it - butter. I use a kamado-style outdoor cooker (Big Green Egg), but with a reliable set-up for indirect cooking any charcoal grill will get the job done. Best of all, you get a tasty, butter-soaked bird without being forced to go to all the trouble of basting, brining or an overnight marinade. And while many chicken recipes for the grill require lots of ingredients and tedious preparation, this straightforward approach delivers a ton of flavor with a minimum of effort. Prep can easily be accomplished in 20 minutes. —DirectHeat

What You'll Need
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • some herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 vertical or upright chicken roaster, which holds a beverage can if possible
  1. Prepare a charcoal grill for indirect cooking at medium heat, with plenty of coals piled to one side of the grill or with a ceramic grill plate between the coals below and the cooking area above. Set up the chicken roaster with 6 oz. (½ can full) of water, fruit juice, beer or wine. Place on a pan for transport to the grill later.
  2. Dry the chicken thoroughly with paper towels, inside and out.
  3. With a knife, remove any excess skin around the cavity (to help the chicken fit onto the roaster). If you don'€™t have a roaster which holds a can, skip this step and stuff the excess skin into the cavity right before sitting the bird on your roaster to help hold in the lemons and herbs.
  4. Work your fingers under the breast-side skin, loosening the skin over the breast and all the way down to the thighs.
  5. Liberally salt and pepper the chicken outside as well as under the skin, and inside the cavity.
  6. Finely chop some of your herbs and rub them on the breast meat under the skin.
  7. Tuck pieces of butter under the skin around the neck of the chicken, so that when the chicken is upright on the roaster and the butter melts it will run down the breast meat and into the thighs. (Sometimes the chicken skin may rip during this or previous steps; I just pin it back together with a toothpick or two.)
  8. Stuff the cavity with 3-4 lemon quarters and whole herbs, leaving room for the chicken to sit atop the roaster.
  9. Place the chicken on the roaster, inserting one or two more lemon pieces in the neck opening to seal it as well as possible. I squeeze these last lemon wedges over the chicken as well.
  10. Roast to 165 degrees at medium heat -- I usually cook at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, using a probe thermometer inserted in the deepest part of the thigh to tell me the chicken is done.
  11. Rest chicken for 10-15 minutes, remove from roaster, carve and serve.
  12. Remember, the drippings you will collect as the chicken rests and as you carve it are pretty much salt, chicken jus, fat and butter. It makes an excellent sauce.

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2 Reviews

Marti April 29, 2015
The only thing I omitted was the butter...
Marti April 29, 2015
I changed this a bit, but the cooking directions made our dinner wonderful! Even the breast meat was juicy and flavorful and the skin was amazing!!!! I will be doing this again for sure.