New England–Style Wood Grilled Chicken

Young chickens, up to 4 pounds, tend to be sweeter and juicer than big ones, and have less fat.

Serves: 6Hands-on: 20 minutesTotal: 2 hours 35 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 6


  • Hickory or apple wood chunks and/or wood chips
  • 1 1⁄2 cups cider
  • 1⁄2 stick sweet butter
  • 1 whole chicken (4 lbs.)
  • 3⁄4 tsp. salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 medium lemons, cut in half
  • 4 thyme sprigs


  • Prepare grill with banked coals on one side, a water pan in the empty space, and presoaked chips for smoking.
  • Bring the cider to a boil and reduce to 1 cup. Add the butter. Remove from heat.
  • Sprinkle the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. Place lemon halves and thyme sprigs inside cavity of chicken.
  • Sear over hot embers. Move to indirect heat for up to 2 hours. Baste every 10 minutes with the cider/butter mixture.
  • Let the chicken rest on a warm platter for 15 minutes. Carve and serve.