Perfect Charcoal BBQ Chicken: Recipe

When it comes to the perfect charcoal BBQ chicken recipe, there are a lot of ideas and techniques around. Lauren and I have tried a lot of them since we purchased our Weber Kettle BBQ back in June and after some trial and error we think we’ve perfected it. Moist and juicy meat with a golden crispy, salty skin.

charcoal bbq chicken recpie

Preparation Time: 15 minutes          /          Cooking Time: 120 minutes          /          Serves 4-6


  • 1.6-1.7kg chicken
  • 1/4 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp (2.5g) table salt
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 10 sage leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3 sage leaves, torn
  • sea salt flakes
  • cracked black pepper



charcoal bbq chicken recpie

  1. Take the butter out of the fridge and split into 2 portions – 10g and 15g.
  2. Put 40 charcoal briquettes into a chimney starter and light.
  3. Wipe the outside and inside of the chicken dry with paper towels. This is important, as you don’t want any unnecessary moisture present when the chicken is cooking.
  4. Once the butter is soft, combine the 10g portion with the juice from the 1/4 lemon, the 1/4 tsp table salt, the crushed garlic and the 10 roughly chopped sage leaves.
  5. Once the above is mixed together, rub it around the inside cavity of the chicken. There will be some lemon juice left over and you can discard this.
  6. Truss the chicken.
  7. Rub the remaining 15g of butter over the chicken. You want to get an even rub of butter all over the chicken but also want clumps of soft butter as shown in the picture above. Don’t ask me why, but this seems to result in a crispier skin.
  8. Place pieces of the 3 torn sage leaves onto the clumps of butter.
  9. Sprinkle a generous amount of sea salt flakes and cracked black pepper over the top of the chicken. As you can see in the picture above, don’t be shy when it comes to the salt – make it rain.
  10. When your charcoal is ready, which should be about 25 minutes after you lit it, place one half on either side of your BBQ. It’s important to ensure that the chicken cooks using indirect heat so make sure the charcoal is not directly under the chicken.
  11. Cover the charcoal with the top cooking grate and place the chicken on top of this grate.
  12. Place the lid on top of the kettle BBQ. Make sure that the air vents are open.
  13. 2 hours later, your chicken should be ready to carve and serve. If you’re unsure, place a meat thermometer in the breast or thigh of the chicken – the temperature should be around 75 degrees Celsius/165 degrees Fahrenheit.

charcoal bbq chicken recpie


Trussing the chicken isn’t absolutely necessary, however it does promote even cooking.

The sage and lemon isn’t absolutely necessary either however it does add a nice flavour to the chicken.

Don’t open the lid while cooking the chicken as the heat will escape and the temperature will drop.

Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.


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