Barbecue-rubbed Wood-fired Rotisserie Chicken

One of my favorite capabilities of the Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire Grill is wood-fired rotisserie cooking. It is such an engaging and primal way to cook, and a great way to achieve the desirable, wood-fired flavor we love so much. It is also a simple process so I’m sure you’ll love it too.

By Russ Faulk, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet
Serves 8
Image of Barbecue-rubbed Wood-fired Rotisserie Chicken

  • Basic Barbecue Rub (about ½ cup)
  • 2 whole fryer chickens
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Butcher’s string
  • Rotisserie spit and 2 rotisserie forks
  • Hardwood firewood splits (I like oak, hickory or almond)

Truss the birds with butcher’s string to secure the legs and wings.

Mount the first rotisserie fork and use pliers to tighten the thumb screw. I recommend using pliers so that the slight vibration of the rotisserie motor does not loosen the rotisserie fork.

Slide the point of the rotisserie rod through the side of the chicken at the “waist” of the bird under the breast meat and above the thighs. Carefully maneuver the chicken down into the tines of the fork without piecing the skin.

Slide the next fork onto the spit with the tines pointing away from the first bird (see photo). Position it against the first bird and tighten the thumbscrew with pliers. Add the second bird in the same manner as the first. Use a length of butcher’s string to secure the second bird into the fork and keep it from sliding away. To do this, loop the center of the string around the open end of the spit. Run both ends of string over the back of the bird and tie it tight around the collar of the rotisserie fork.

Brush the birds with olive oil and season liberally with barbecue rub. Reserve.

Remove the grill grates from your Hybrid Fire Grill. You want to do this for 2 reasons. First, it makes it easier to manipulate the wood and manage the fire. Second, it eliminates the flare-ups that would happen as rotisserie drippings hit the hot grill grates below. 

We recommend placing a drip pan beneath the food. The juices in the drip pan can be used for basting.

Place 2 firewood split logs (hardwood only) into 2 of the channels of the Hybrid Fire Grilling Drawer, towards the front. Fire up the ignition burner and all of the main burners on HIGH to start the wood and preheat the grill. Once the logs are burning on their own, turn the main burners OFF. Leave the ignition burner running on HIGH. Using protective gloves and long grilling tongs, carefully relocate the burning logs across the front of the grilling drawer. This creates an offset fire so the chickens are not directly above the heat source. This ignition burner will help sustain the fire and supplement the heat.

Mount the rotisserie spit with the chickens into the grill and start the rotisserie motor.

The chickens will roast for about 45 minutes. When the fire is large, keep the grill lid open so the heat is not too intense. When the flames are low, close the lid. If the fire begins to die down before the chickens are completely cooked, add another small split of wood or distribute several wood chunks on top of the fire. You may need to carefully rearrange the burning wood across the front of the drawer if you see the chickens are not cooking evenly.

Begin checking the temperature of the chicken after the first 30 minutes. Use an instant-read meat thermometer (I recommend the Thermapen) to check the temperature at the base of the thigh, using care not to touch bone. Remove the chickens from the grill when the temperature reads 165°F.

Let the chicken rest on the spits on a carving board or half-sheet pan until they are cool enough to handle for carving.

Wood-fired Rotisserie Chicken