Smoky BBQ Roasted Chicken

In Auckland we have a fabulous farmer’s market which is run by the French shop La Cigale A few years ago they produced a recipe book and this neat recipe was in it , so as you can tell it looks a little bizarre basically burning a whole lot of leaves and branches but it creates a smokie depth of flavour and good fun to boot . Recipe from La Cigale


  • 50g softened butter, unsalted
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley or mixed herbs
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 whole chicken
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and halved
  • sprigs of fresh aromatic herbs (thyme, sage)
  • 500ml white wine or chicken stock, or both
  • generous amounts of herbs to place on BBQ
  • small stems of pohutukawa leaves (not branches)


  1. Mix the butter with the finely chopped herbs and crushed garlic. With your fingers, gently loosen the skin over the breast of the chicken and as far around the sides as you can. Make a small slit in the skin of each leg. Push the butter mix under the breast skin and through the slits in the legs. Massage it around so it spreads out.
  2. Dry and season the cavity of the chicken. Push in half an onion. Fill the rest of the cavity with sprigs of fresh herbs, reserving some rosemary and thyme. Finish with the remaining onion half.
  3. Preheat your BBQ to medium-high. Place the chicken in a foil roasting pan and cover with the remaining sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Pour in some of the wine or stock.
  4. Place the roasting dish on the BBQ hot plate and pull down the hood. Turn off the burner directly beneath it, and turn the next one to low. To give the smoky flavour, occasionally put stems of herbs and pohutukawa on the grill on the far side of the BBQ. They’ll smoke and burn, so if you like an immaculate barbecue this may not be for you.
  5. Don’t let the wine or stock dry out. Add more as often as needed, as this helps to keep the chicken moist.
  6. The chicken should be ready in 1 1/4 hours. If it looks too brown before that, cover it with foil. When cooked, take the chicken out, cover it and rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Drain and discard the fat off the pan juices. Season the juice if needed and keep warm while the chicken rests. Serve separately in a jug.

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