The sun is shining, the weather is warm and the last thing you want to do is cook inside, this is the perfect meal for you.

Chicken is so insanely versatile and we eat it almost every other day. We toggle between boneless skinless breast and thighs to bone in breasts and thighs and we love cooking a whole chicken. Not to mention, whole chickens tend to go on sale frequently and when that happens, I buy a few at a time and freeze them.

As a word to the wise, when any meat goes on sale, you should pick up at least a couple of trays. Even if you are not planning on cooking it all within a few days, freezing it for another time is smart. Meat is expensive and when you don’t buy it on sale, it is even more so. In fact, if you are a carnivorous family, there is a very strong chance that 70% of your grocery bill is on meat. So when you see cuts you like that are on sale, pick up extra and freeze for another day.

But back to our Lemon Chicken, don’t shy away from cooking a whole chicken-this recipe is one the easiest and it uses ingredients that you probably already have in your home: lemons, an onion and vegetable oil. The skin comes out crispy and the meat is juicy.

We made roasted potatoes as a side and quite frankly, I enjoy raw veggies and Ranch dressing when it is hot outside-and that is exactly what I did to accompany this Chicken dish.

Whole BBQ lemon Chicken

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American


  • 1 4 lb Chicken
  • 1 small Onion quartered, skin removed
  • 2 Lemons
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil


  • Remove any giblets from the cavity.
  • Rinse the chicken inside and out. Pat the outside of the chicken with a paper towel.
  • Place quartered onion and half of 1 lemon in the cavity of the chicken.
  • Grate 1 lemon until you have 2 tsp of the rind. This part of the lemon has the most flavor. Squeeze the juice from the 1.5 lemons you have-you should get about 1/4 cup of lemon juice.
  • Stir together the lemon rind, juice and vegetable oil in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Prepare your BBQ for indirect cooking. This means that you are turning half of the burners of your BBQ onto medium. Close the lid and make sure the temp of the inside of the BBQ does not fall below 350 degrees.
  • Grease the grill that does not have the burner on and set the whole chicken on the greased grill. Brush with 1/3 of the mixture you just created. Close the lid and grill for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, lift the grill lid and brush the chicken with half of the remaining mixture. Close the lid and grill for another 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, lift the grill lid and brush the chicken with the remaining mixture. Close the lid and grill for 60 minutes until a thermometer registers 185 degrees F.


I don’t have a thermometer, so, I cook the chicken for 60 minute and place it on a cutting board, and tent it. You will see juices coming out of the chicken and if they are clear, you are good to go. If there is pink or red juices, you need to put the chicken back on the BBQ and check every 15 minutes.
This recipe was adapted from Canadian Living, Let’s BBQ, Summer 2004.
Keyword BBQ, chicken, lemons