Whole grilled chicken with honey chipotle glaze

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Once I get in the mood to barbecue, I can’t control myself.  I absolutely love cooking outside.  If I could find a way to physically move my entire kitchen outdoors when it’s sunny I would have done it already.  Of course that’s not really necessary; plus if I dare tear up another room in the house without finishing the bathroom that I started (I won’t mention how long ago) my wife will kill me.  Actually she won’t kill me…who would fix dinner.  Check out my “About” tab if you want more details.  Oops-getting off track again.

Yesterday steaks were calling me, but today the weather was once again gorgeous and chicken seemed to fit the bill.  But, not just any chicken.  It had to be a whole chicken.  I wanted something that was impressive at the table and I wanted bold flavors.  I’ve made something similar in the past cooking the bird in the oven, but doing a whole bird on the grill can be a little tricky at times.  So I decided to spatchcock it to make sure it cooked evenly and settled on a sweet, smokey chipotle glaze that would highlight the flavors from the grill.  What’s spatchcocking you ask?  Who knows where they get these strange names but it’s simply removing the backbone from the bird then flipping it over and cracking the breastbone till it lies flat.  Well I better get on with this-got a beer calling me.  Enjoy and stay safe!

I started by removing the inards and washing the bird inside and out then patted it completely dry.

I used a sharp knife to cut out the backbone and then cut around the wishbone and yanked it out.  Kitchen shears will work just as well.  Remember, don’t be timid-just cut and rip it out of there.

I flipped it back over so the breast was facing up and using the palm of my hand, I pressed down on the breastbone until it cracked and the bird layed flat.  Once I tucked the wings back under, I had a spatchcocked chicken.

In a small bowl I mixed together 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 2 teaspoons New Mexico chile powder and 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic (garlic powder will work fine) and rubbed it on both sides of the chicken and under the skin of the breast as well.  I let it rest in the refridgerator for 2 hours to let the flavors meld.

While the chicken was marinating in the fridge, I set out making the glaze for it.  To my blender I added 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, 2 chipotle chiles from a can along with 1 teaspoon of the adobo sauce from it, 1 garlic clove, the juice from 1 lime, 2 tablespoons mango puree and 2 tablespoons honey.  I flipped on the blender until it was pulverized.  While the blender was running, I drizzled in 1/3 cup of olive oil and let it run for 30 seconds until it emulsified into a glaze then set it aside in a bowl till I was ready.


After the 2 hours, I let the chicken rest at room temperature for 20 minutes before lighting the grill and setting the temperature to medium heat.  After 15 minutes the grill was hot and I reduced the temperature on the middle two grates to low.  I placed the bird skin side up on the grill for 2 minutes to get a char then flipped it skin down for another 2 minutes to char the other side.  I turned off the middle two burners under the chicken and turned the others to low, flipped the bird back over so the breast and skin were facing up, closed the cover and cooked it for 40 minutes.  That’s a good looking bird!

The camera batteries died again so I didn’t get a picture of this.  I flipped the bird breast side down and brushed the bottom with the glaze and cooked it 10 minutes with the lid closed.  I then flipped the bird breast side up and hit it with the glaze again and let it cook for another 10 minutes before removing it from the grill.

This was so good it deserved two pictures.  We served it with the leftover glaze and everyone was licking their plates.  Enjoy!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Whole Grilled Chicken with honey chipotle glaze
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is a simple recipe that is sure to make an impression at your cookout. The sweetness from the honey and the natural smokiness from the chipotles go great with the flavors from the grill.
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 4.5 pound chicken
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons New Mexico chile powder
  • ½ teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
Honey chipotle glaze
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 chipotle chiles from a can in adobo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from the can
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 2 tablespoons mango puree-use orange juice as a substitute
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • salt to taste
  1. Wash the chicken thoroughly inside and out and pat completely dry with paper towels. To spatchcock the bird, start by placing it breast side down. With a sharp knife or kitchen shears cut along both sides of the backbone until it's loose from the carcass. Remove the backbone and cut along the wishbone at the tail and remove it as well. Flip the bird over so the breast is facing up at you and using the palm of your hand press down on the breastbone until it cracks and the bird is spread out flat. Tuck the wings under.
  2. In a small bowl mix together the salt, cumin and chile powder. Rub the mix all over both sides and under the skin of the breast. Let the bird marinate in the refridgerator for 2 hours.
  3. In a blender add all the ingredients for the glaze except the oil. Whirl it until it's well blended. With the motor running drizzle in the olive oil and blend for 30 seconds to emulsify it. Set aside in a bowl.
  4. Let the bird rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling. Heat your grill to medium then reduce two middle grates to low and sear the chicken breast side up for 2 minutes then flip and grill another 2 minutes. Turn the chicken back over and turn off the heat below the bird. You want it to cook indirectly. Close the lid and cook for 40 minutes.
  5. Flip the chicken over and coat it with the reserved glaze. Close the lid and cook 10 minutes. Flip the chicken again and glaze the other side, then cook for another 10 minutes with the lid closed. Let the bird rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!










Whole grilled chicken with honey chipotle glaze — 7 Comments

  1. I made only the honey chipotle glaze with orange juice instead of mango puree and it was superb! I cooked my chicken on a skillet and poured the glaze in the skillet to cook with the chicken. It is so very good! Definitely a keeper of a glaze! Thank you for the recipe!

  2. Husband made as is except we had to omit the chile’s (daughter doesn’t like spicy food) but followed the rest of the ingredients. I’m going to be honest and say that we like it best shredded/diced and used as a filling for tostadas, tacos, and burritos. As you said before, any cut of chicken will do. Thanks again for sharing your fantastic recipes.

  3. Thanks! My method was a bit different, but I seasoned the chicken and made the glaze just as the recipe stated. I didn’t grill a whole chicken, (we don’t like dark meat) just butterflied two breasts. While they were coming to room temp from the fridge, I put them in the glaze to marinate and then grilled them over direct heat…they were really good! My husband loved it and my daughter said they’d be good in soft tacos with some sour cream…there’s half a breast leftover, so that will probably be my lunch tomorrow!

  4. I am making this tonight…I have the chicken rubbed and the glaze made up to the point of adding the oil….but I can’t see anything in the ingredients list about oil…what kind and how much?

    • Sorry about that. I put it in the the instructions but not the actual recipe part. I just updated the recipe. It’s 1/3 cup of olive oil.

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