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whole grilled chicken on plank on grill
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5 from 13 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 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time2 hours 35 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings (change as needed): 4
Author: Cheryl


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


  • 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)


  • 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.


  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. 
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