Whole Grilled Chicken with Wilted Arugula


"I don't care if you're sophisticated, with a boatload of money," says Thomas Keller, "roasted chicken makes you feel wonderful." Cooking a whole chicken on the grill can be tricky, but Keller has perfected a method that uses indirect heat; he adds rosemary sprigs to the coals to infuse the smoke and flavor the chicken. Amazing Chicken Recipes

Whole Grilled Chicken with Wilted Arugula
Photo: © Quentin Bacon
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs


  • 1 bunch of rosemary sprigs

  • One 3 1/2-pound chicken, preferably free-range

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 large bunch of arugula, large stems discarded

  • Quick Pickled Pearl Onions


  1. Light a grill using 6 pounds of charcoal briquettes or 8 pounds of hardwood charcoal. When the flames have died down and the coals are white on the outside, divide the coals in half and push to each side of the grill, leaving the center empty. Top each pile of coals with half of the rosemary sprigs.

  2. Season the chicken inside and out with a good amount of salt and pepper. Fold the wing tips under the back and tie the legs together. Set the chicken in the center of the grill, breast side up. Cover the grill and cook the chicken without turning for about 50 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh registers 160°. Transfer the chicken to a carving board and let it rest for 10 minutes.

  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the arugula and stir over moderately high heat just until wilted, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the arugula on a platter. Carve the chicken and arrange on the wilted arugula; serve with the Quick Pickled Pearl Onions.


Such a simple recipe relies on using a good quality chicken—preferably one that is antibiotic free. It is worth paying more for a pasture-raised chicken that spent time outdoors because it has the most flavor.

Suggested Pairing

One virtue of Thomas Keller's seasonally fresh menu is that red and white wines work equally well with it, so choose whichever you prefer. For a white, look for a Chardonnay from Napa Valley. If you prefer red, pick a Napa Valley Pinot Noir.

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