This juicy orangey red–hued chicken looks similar to the barbecue-spiced rotisserie chickens sold at most supermarkets. Its flavor, though, is more complex and intriguing thanks to the splendid and aromatic spice rub you make yourself. Feel free to experiment with the ingredients in the rub; for example, if you like its smoky taste, use smoked paprika instead of the regular (sweet) paprika used in this recipe. Like things spicy? Double the amount of cayenne. This rub recipe makes 2⁄3 cup (160 mL), which is more than you need for one 3-pound (1.5 kg) chicken, but it keeps well in an airtight container.
- 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) chili powder
- 3 Tbsp (45 mL) ground cumin
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) ground oregano
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) paprika
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) sea or kosher salt
- 2 tsp (10 mL) ground sage
- 2 tsp (10 mL) freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp (5 mL) onion powder
- 1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) garlic powder
- 1⁄4 tsp (1 mL) cayenne pepper
Traditional barbecued chicken
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- 2 large garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 whole chicken, 3 lb/1.5 kg
- 4 tsp (20 mL) olive oil
- 3 to 4 tsp (15 to 20 mL) Traditional Rub (see above), or to taste
- For the Traditional Rub, combine all ingredients in a bowl until well mixed, then transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature. This rub will keep up to 6 months.
- Stuff the onions and garlic into the cavity of the chicken, then truss it and set it on a wide plate (see Preparing Chicken for the Spit, page 11).
- Brush and coat the outside of the chicken with the olive oil. Sprinkle the bird with the rub and, using your hands, rub it into the skin, ensuring it reaches deep into the areas between the breasts and legs and the tucked parts of each wing.
- Preheat the barbecue to 400˚f (200˚c). While the barbecue heats up, slide the chicken onto one end of the rotisserie spit and secure it.
- Place the spit on the barbecue and set a heat-proof pan under the chicken to catch the tasty juices seeping from the bird. Add a little water to the pan so the first drips don’t scorch it. Turn the rotisserie motor on.
- Close the lid on the barbecue and turn off the heat directly under the chicken. Leave the other side of the barbecue between medium and medium-high. Cook the chicken, brushing it occasionally with the pan juices, for 75 to 90 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the thigh, not touching the bone, registers 170˚f (77˚c). As the chicken cooks, adjust the flame as needed to maintain a constant temperature of 400˚f (200˚c).
- Remove the chicken from the spit, set it on a plate, loosely tent it with aluminum foil, and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.