Two Kooks » ALL RECIPES » Chicken and Turkey » Juicy Grilled Whole Chicken (Cedar Planked)

Juicy Grilled Whole Chicken (Cedar Planked)

Grilled whole chicken on a cedar plank is succulent, mildly smoky with crispy skin and really flavorful. Delicious summer fare with only 20 minutes hands-on time. 

Don’t let the wood plank method intimidate you. It’s much easier than you might think. Once you try it, you will be doing lots of repeats. 

whole grilled chicken on plank on grill with grill basket beside it

What is plank grilling and why it’s great

Plank grilling (or planking) is a method of grilling on wood planks to infuse food with wood flavor. Planks are just plain wood. 

The method is surprisingly easy with great results

  1. Soak the plank before using it so that it doesn’t burn too quickly.
  2. Cook the food on top of the plank right on the grill. Either:
    • Lightly toast the plank before placing the food on it for a more intense smoky flavor. OR
    • Place the plank with the food on it on a hot grill for a few minutes until it starts charring. Switch to low or indirect heat for the rest of the cooking process. I use this method.
  3. Then wait for the magic to happen. There is no need to turn the food during grilling. 

Bottom line: This full grilled chicken has a golden crispy skin, it’s moist and yummy with a light smoked flavor and it’s a lot less fuss than using the rotisserie.

Ingredient Notes – Tailor To Your Taste

whole chicken on butcher paper, salt and pepper, paprika, thyme, lemon, green onion, garlic oil
Ingredients: whole chicken, marinade includes – olive oil, green onion, lemon, garlic, thyme, paprika, salt, pepper.

Marinade

  • The simple marinade adds another layer of flavor. You can skip the marinating if you don’t have time or just marinate the chicken at room temperature for about 45 minutes. But I find that it does enhance the taste, especially with cold leftovers the next day (if you have any).
  • You can, of course, substitute any marinade you like for the chicken.

Types of wood planks (flavor)

  • These woods go well with chicken: cedar, hickory, maple, cherry, apple and oak.

How to grill whole chicken

plank soaking in water in a tray 1
Soak a cedar grilling plank for 15-30 minutes if thin for 1 hour if thicker (e.g 1/2 inch)
chicken on plank cooking on grill
Heat grill to medium-high heat. Place chicken on wooden plank directly on the grill and cook for 5-8 minutes until plank begins to char. Then lower heat to low under the chicken, keeping overall heat of gas grill to medium heat. Cook chicken for 50-60 minutes depending on size. Check doneness with meat thermometer.
grilled whole chicken resting on foil lined pan
Very important (!) – let chicken rest, loosely covered, for 15 minutes.
cut up bbq chicken on plate with grilled onions in bowl behind
Cut cooked chicken into pieces and serve with your favorite sides and condiments (see below).

Recipe FAQ

What kind of planks should I buy?

Grilling planks come in different woods which create different flavors. A cedar grilling plank is one of the most common. Other good flavors for chicken are maple, apple, cherry, oak, hickory.

Make sure to buy an untreated plank with no chemical treatments. I prefer thinner planks (1/4 inch/64 mm) as they only take 10 minutes to soak (instead of 30 minutes for 1/2 inch/1.3 cm planks) and you can toss them out after one use so no clean up.  

Where can I buy wooden planks?

Many stores carry wood planks such as hardware stores, Costco, Walmart, many grocery stores and any store that sells BBQ accessories. For newbies, it’s best to stick to store-bought, packaged planks to be safe. 

Can I reuse a plank?

If you buy planks that are ½ or ¾ inch (1.3-1.9cm), you can reuse them up to 3 times if you wash them with soap and water. I admit I’m not a fan of reusing planks. I buy thin, cheaper ones and toss them after using.

Is plank grilling healthy?

Plank grilling is a healthier option than direct grilling as the wood creates a barrier between the food and the grill. This helps avoid charring and unhealthy carcinogens. Experts suggest using hardwood planks or red cedar (which is a softwood).

Tips on cooking with cedar planks

  • Add apple juice, white wine or beer to the water for soaking to add a bit more flavor if you like.
  • There is no need to turn the food over.
  • Keep the BBQ lid closed as much as possible to keep in the smoke.
  • Keep a spray bottle or water handy in case the planks catch fire.

Shortcuts

  • Spatchcock or flatten the chicken as per our similar recipe cedar planked chicken. This will cut cooking time considerably. 
  • Buy a kosher chicken which is already brined – it will be juicier with good flavor.
  • If short on time, skip the marinating and sprinkle chicken with a dry rub from your local grocery store or with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, a touch of sugar and paprika.

Make Ahead 

  • You can make the chicken ahead and keep it in a warm oven or covered BBQ for up to an hour. The skin may not be as crispy though. This also makes delicious cold chicken for a picnic the next day.

What to serve with BBQ whole chicken

I like to take advantage of using half the grill to cook the chicken and the other half for a side dish. Sides in a grill basket are ideal because you don’t need to lift the lid as often which would affect the cooking temperature of the chicken. I do veggies in a grill basket in the last 15 minutes.

Here are a few good grilled side dishes that go well with the chicken.

Great condiments to serve with the chicken are: a lemon garlic aioli, BBQ sauce, peach chutney, grilled peaches, 5 minute herb sauce or cranberry orange relish

whole grilled chicken on plank on grill

What can you make on a cedar plank? 

If you have a smoker, try our how to smoke a brisket (step by step) recipe.

If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟in the recipe card below. And if you REALLY like it, consider a review in the comments. Thanks!

Recipe

whole grilled chicken on plank on grill
Print Recipe Pin Save Recipe

Rate this recipe here

5 from 9 votes

Juicy Grilled Whole Chicken (Cedar Planked)

Grilled whole chicken on a cedar plank is succulent, mildly smoky with crispy skin and really flavorful. Delicious summer fare with only 20 minutes hands-on time. 
Prep Time1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 20 mins
Total Time2 hrs 35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Author: Cheryl

Equipment

  • 1 wooden cedar plank, Note 1

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken, 3 1/2-4 pounds, Note 2 1.6-1.8 kg
  • salt and pepper

Marinade

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon minced green onions (mostly white part)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon minced or grated garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs (I use 1/2 oregano, 1/2 thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (regular or smoked)

Instructions

  • MARINATE CHICKEN: Combine all marinade ingredients in a large ziploc bag. Massage to mix well. Sprinkle salt and pepper in cavity of chicken. Place chicken in bag and massage marinade all over chicken including under the breast skin. Seal bag and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or up to a day. Remove chicken from fridge 45-60 minutes before cooking to bring to room temperature.
    (If you don't have time, just let chicken marinate at room temperature for 45 minutes.)
  • SOAK PLANK for 15 minutes if 1/4 inch thick or 45 – 60 minutes if 12/-3/4 inch thick. I use a baking tray with sides, filled with water, and lay something heavy on top of plank to keep it from floating. Note 3
  • HEAT GRILL to medium high heat, about 400-425F/204-218C, for 10-15 minutes.
  • GRILL CHICKEN: Pat wet plank with paper towel. Spray lightly with oil.
    ° Place chicken, breast side up, on plank and put it directly on hot grill, Close lid and cook for 4 minutes (if 1/4 inch plank) and 6-8 minutes for 1/2-3/4 inch plank. Plank will start charring and begin to give off smoke.
    ° Then turn burner under chicken to LOW. Lower other burner(s) to medium heat so that temperature of BBQ holds as steady as possible at 350-375F. Close lid. Let chicken cook undisturbed for about 50-60 minutes depending on size of chicken. Shift plank 180 degrees half way through to help with even cooking.
    ° Check internal temperature of chicken with instant meat thermometer. Chicken is ready when internal temperature reaches 155F/68C (in breast) and165F/74C (in thick part of thigh). Cook longer if needed and check every 5 minutes if close. Temp will rise further when rested. Don't over cook if you want juicy chicken.
    ° Transfer chicken to cutting board. Cover loosely with foil (don't tuck in all the edges) and let it rest for 15-20 minutes (important!). Cut chicken and serve. Discard plank.

Notes

  1. Wooden planks
    • A cedar grilling plank is one of the most common. Other good flavors for chicken are maple, apple, cherry, oak, hickory. Make sure to buy an untreated plank with no chemical treatments.
    • I prefer thinner planks (1/4 inch/64 mm) as they only take 10 minutes to soak (instead of 30 minutes for 1/2 inch/1.3 cm planks) and you can toss them out after one use so no clean up.  
  2. Chicken options: For a super juicy, flavorful chicken brine the chicken or buy a kosher chicken (already brined). 
  3. Tips on cooking with cedar planks
    • Add apple juice, white wine or beer to the water for soaking to add a bit more flavor if you like.
    • There is no need to turn the food over.
    • Keep the BBQ lid closed as much as possible to keep in the smoke.
    • Keep a spray bottle or water handy in case the planks catch fire.
  4. Shortcuts
    • Spatchcock or flatten the chicken as per our similar recipe cedar planked chicken. This will cut cooking time considerably. 
    • Buy a kosher chicken which is already brined – it will be juicier with good flavor.
    • If short on time, skip the marinating and sprinkle chicken with a dry rub from your local grocery store or with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, a touch of sugar and paprika.
  5. Make Ahead
    • You can make the chicken ahead and keep it in a warm oven or covered BBQ for up to an hour. The skin may not be as crispy though.
    • This recipe also makes delicious cold chicken for a picnic or quick lunches the next day.
  •  
 
Nutrition values are estimates based on a nutrition calculation program. 

Nutrition

Calories: 535kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 862mg | Potassium: 372mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 435IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?We’d love you to rate it above under ‘rate this recipe’ or in the comment section below. Thanks!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating