Mexi-Spiced Grill-Roasted Chicken

Paula: Skillet-grilling has become my go-to method for capturing the best of two worlds: the seductive aromas of cooking over fire, and delicious pan drippings created during oven roasting. Why forfeit those flavorful juices to the fire? This chicken is a perfect example, as the fat renders over the heat, the sultry red spices and sizzling herb sprigs infuse the drippings with awesome flavor.

Scott: Yes. I have a cast iron skillet that I love to use on the grill. The combination of live fire cooking and cast iron is so alluring and when it comes to chicken, the skin and tasty bits scraped from the bottom of the pan are almost the best part. Love those tasty bits...

Paula: Drizzling the chicken with a little olive oil helps you achieve that crispy, flavorful skin. If you want to add a bit more moisture to the skillet, pour in a splash of dry white wine for the last 15 minutes of cooking time. Once the chicken rests, you’ll want a slather of a spicy sauce, like Tupelo 2-Step, and plenty of grilled bread to sop up every drop of goodness.

Mexi-Spiced Grill-Roasted Chicken

  • 3 tablespoons Texican or Wicked Winona
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) spatchcocked chicken (backbone removed so chicken lays flat)
  • 6 to 8 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling 
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Tupelo 2-Step BBQ Sauce
  • Thick slices of grilled country-style bread or steamed rice, for serving

Combine the spices and vinegar in a bowl and stir to combine. Using your hands, slather the entire surface of the chicken with the spice paste. Place the rosemary sprigs in a large cast iron skillet, then place the chicken, skin-side up, over the herbs. Drizzle the top of the chicken with olive oil, top with a generous amount of freshly ground pepper and allow the chicken to marinate at room temperature while you prepare the grill. (Alternately, the chicken can be marinated in a baking dish or in a sealable plastic bag for up to 12 hours in advance; remove from the fridge an hour before grilling).

Prepare a charcoal grill for two-zone cooking and build a medium-high fire, or heat a gas grill to high. Clean and oil the grill grates. When the coals are glowing red and covered with a fine gray ash, place the skillet with chicken over direct heat, close grill, vent for smoking and cook for 10 minutes. Open the grill, move the skillet to indirect heat and rotate it 180°F. Close the grill, and continue roasting until bird’s juices run clear when skin is pierced with a knife and the skin is crispy, about 25-30 minutes longer.

Remove from heat and let chicken rest for at least 10 minutes (or up to 30). While the chicken rests, grill the bread (if desired) over direct heat until lightly charred on both sides. Carve and serve the chicken (discarding rosemary sprigs) over toasted bread, with the delicious pan drippings and Tupelo 2-Step drizzled over the meat.


Grill-side banter provided by food writer, cookbook author and grilling enthusiast, Paula Disbrowe, and infamous grill nerd and co-owner of PK Grills, Scott Moody.

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