Prepare the grill:
Prepare a gas or charcoal grill fire for indirect grilling over medium-high heat (400°F).
If using a charcoal grill, bank the coals against opposite sides of the grill, parallel to the spit. Put a 9x13-inch foil drip pan on the charcoal grate between the banked coals and fill it halfway with water.
If using a gas grill, remove the grill grates, put a 9x13-inch foil drip pan on the inactive burner(s) and fill it halfway with water.
Set up the rotisserie attachment according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Make a tarragon butter:
In a small bowl, mix the butter, chopped tarragon, lemon zest and juice, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper with a fork until well combined.
Prepare and grill the chicken:
Tip:Before you attach a whole chicken to the spit, be sure to tie the legs
together for a compact shape. This helps the bird cook and brown more
evenly and prevents the legs from flopping around with every turn.
Remove the giblets from the chicken and discard or save for another use. Remove and discard any fat inside the body and neck cavities. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
Starting at the neck cavity, carefully work your fingers under the skin to separate it from the breast meat without tearing the skin. Continue to separate the skin from the thighs; you may need to reach in with your whole hand. Measure 4 Tbs. of the tarragon butter into a small bowl. Using your fingers, spread the butter butter evenly under the skin of the breast and thighs. Arrange a sprig of tarragon under the skin of each breast. Pat the skin back into place, then gently massage the chicken to distribute the butter. Tie the legs together with twine and tuck the wings behind the neck.
In a small saucepan, melt 2 Tbs. of the remaining tarragon butter over low heat. Secure the chicken on the spit, making sure it’s balanced. Brush the chicken with the melted butter and then season it with salt and pepper.
Attach the spit to the motor and turn on the motor. Make sure the drip pan is directly under the chicken. Cover the grill and spit-roast the chicken until the skin is deep golden-brown and the thickest part of the thigh registers 170°F on an instant-read thermometer, 40 to 60 minutes.
Carefully remove the chicken from the spit and transfer to a carving board or platter. Let rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the remaining 2 Tbs. tarragon butter.
Carve the chicken, arrange on a platter, drizzle with the melted butter, and serve.
Start the meal off with a fresh Heirloom Cherry Tomato, Fennel & Arugula Salad, and serve with French-Style Potato Salad on the side. Angel Food Cake with Strawberries & Whipped Cream makes for a simple but sweet end to the meal.
nutrition information (per serving):
Photo: Scott Phillips