Grilled Chicken with Spicy-Sweet Chile Oil

Chef Paul Kahan uses garlic, lemon juice, chile and the mildly spicy Basque red pepper piment d’Espelette to flavor the oil for his chicken. He brushes half of the seasoned oil on the chicken as it cooks; the rest gets served at the table. Slideshow:  Grilled Chicken Recipes 

Grilled Chicken with Spicy-Sweet Chile Oil
Photo: © Christina Holmes
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs


  • One 3 1/2-pound whole chicken, backbone removed and chicken cut in half

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon piment d’Espelette

  • 1 Fresno or red jalapeño chile, chopped

  • 1 1/2 tablespons light brown sugar

  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Place the chicken halves skin side up on a baking sheet. Season all over with the salt, cover and refrigerate overnight.

  2. In a medium bowl, combine all of the remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour half of the chile oil into a large bowl, add the chicken and turn to coat; refrigerate for 4 hours. Reserve the remaining chile oil for serving.

  3. Light a grill and set it up for indirect grilling. Alternately, preheat the broiler and position the rack 8 to 10 inches from the heat. Remove the chicken from the bowl; reserve any chile oil remaining. Grill the chicken skin side down over indirect heat for 20 minutes, until lightly golden. Alternately, broil the chicken skin side up on a rack set over a baking sheet for 20 minutes. Baste the chicken with any remaining chile oil from the large bowl and continue grilling or broiling for 15 minutes longer; if grilling, turn occasionally. The chicken is done when the skin is deep golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thigh registers 165°. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes. Carve into 8 pieces and serve with the reserved chile oil.

Serve With

French fries.

Suggested Pairing

Juicy, medium-bodied Garnacha from Spain.

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