Eat This for Dinner: Grilled Whole Chicken and In-Season Veggies

Heat it up, rub it down, grill, baby, grill then eat your heart out. It's that easy.

I have experienced my first summer dilemma of the year – what to eat for dinner when the heat and humidity have rolled on in. I craved something quick, easy and delicious for dinner, but I’d rather have starved than crank up that oven. (Thinkin’ I’ll feel the same way on Sunday. Ninety-four degrees – yikes!)

Thankfully, after a little experimentation, I found a solution worth sharing: grilled whole chicken with a sweet and spicy rub and a side of in-season asparagus. Click through the slideshow for the fool-proof recipe, and you, too, can feast on a local meal without much fuss.

Note: This meal was adapted from a recipe on My Recipes. Read the original version here.

 

Step 1: Heat It Up

Photo from Thinkstock.

I used my ruby red Kenmore gas grill for this adventure, but you can easily use a charcoal setup by arranging the hot coals to the left and right sides, leaving an empty space in the middle of the grill.

For a gas setup, pre-heat one side of the grill to medium-high heat.

 

Step 2: Rub It Down

Photo from Thinkstock.

The most important part of this meal is the chicken, am I right? I bopped over to Baffoni’s Poultry Farm in Johnston for my lil’ roaster, and it set me back about $10 – peanuts compared to the pricey free-range, hormone-free, vegetarian-fed chickens at natural food stores.

But the second most important part is the rub. Gather these ingredients and mix them together in one bowl:

  • 1 ½ tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 ¼ tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • ½ tsp. chili powder

Shake out the giblets and neck from the chicken and throw them away (or, as I did, pass them on to a couple of pacing housecats). Then, starting at the neck cavity, loosen the skin by wiggling your fingers between the skin and meat. Use meat scissors, if necessary. Rub the spice mix under the skin, then gently press the skin to secure it.

If you have some spice mix left over, rub it over the entirety of the chicken for extra flavor.

 

Step 3: Grill, Baby, Grill

Photo from Thinkstock.

Place the whole chicken, breast side down, on a grill rack coated with cooking spray over direct heat; cover and cook for about 7 minutes.

Turn the chicken over; cook 7 more minutes over direct heat. Then move the chicken over indirect heat, cover and cook for 45 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165 degrees.

At about the 40-minute mark, place some in-season veggies (I chose asparagus) over direct heat and grill. Click here for a list of local farm stands that carry asparagus. Arugula and lettuce are in-season, too, so whip up a salad with greens from a local farm listed here.

 

Step 4: Eat Your Heart Out

Photo from Thinkstock.

If you’re already thinking of the sweet stuff, stick with the farm fresh theme and craft some dessert biscuits topped with fresh, local strawberries (listed here) and Rhode Island honey (listed here). I tested out this recipe for Father’s Day, and the most difficult part was turning on the oven. Seriously. I decreased the sugar by half – strawberries are sweet enough – and swapped the whipped cream for local honey.

 

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in June 2014.

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