If you're cooking with a gas grill, soak a few handfuls of wood chips in water and then wrap loosely in foil and place over the heat to create a smoky environment inside.
- 1 whole chicken, about 5 to 5 1/2 pounds
- 2 lemons
- 2 to 4 large sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves chopped, thick stems reserved
- 1/3 Cup mixed chopped fresh herbs, such as oregano, thyme, tarragon (or, better yet, a combination)
- 2 to 3 Teaspoons coarse (kosher) salt
- 1 1/2 Teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons olive oil
Place the chicken on the work surface breast side down.
Use kitchen shears to cut on either side of the backbone and remove it.
Turn the chicken over; press down hard on the breastbone to flatten the chicken somewhat.
Then use the kitchen shears to split the chicken in half through the breastbone.
Place the two chicken halves in a large, nonaluminum baking dish.
Sprinkle grated zest of both lemons and squeezed juice of 1 lemon over all sides of the chicken.
Mix chopped rosemary, 2 tablespoons of the mixed chopped herbs, salt and pepper in a small dish.
Sprinkle evenly over all sides of chicken.
Drizzle everything with the olive oil.
Let stand while you prepare the grill or refrigerate covered up to 24 hours.
Prepare a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to high.
When the coals are covered with a gray ash, arrange them on two sides of the grill, leaving the center empty.
Place a drip pan on the bottom of the grill and place the cooking grate on top.
If using a gas grill, turn off the burners in the center of the grill and turn the other burners to medium.
Transfer chicken, skin side up, to center of grill (not directly over the heat source). (Save the juices in the pan.)
Cover the grill.
Cook chicken (do not turn), 30 minutes.
Baste with any of the lemon juices and herbs in the pan.
Add the reserved rosemary sprigs to the coals or directly over the gas burners.
Then continue to grill chicken covered, without turning, until thigh juices run clear when pierced with the tip of a knife, 30-45 minutes. (Total cooking time is 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes.)
Add coals if needed after 30minutes of grilling.
Grill temperature should maintain about 325 degrees. (I use an oven thermometer to monitor temperature.)
Transfer chicken to a cutting board; tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes.
Cut chicken breast and leg apart.
Garnish with the remaining lemon, thinly sliced, and remaining chopped mixed fresh herbs.
Serve hot or at room temperature.