Gather around the grill this Labour Day long weekend and enjoy this crispy and citrusy chicken recipe.
A simple home-made marinade with lemon, garlic, and rosemary enhances the natural flavour of bone-in and skin-on chicken breasts. Grill lemon halves next to the chicken until they are charred and caramelized, and squeeze over the cooked chicken for a unique smoky citrus flavour.
I’ve been using this faithful marinade recipe for years, and recently tweaked it to include the grilled lemon halves. I love lemons and I use them for as many recipes as I can! This addition really makes this recipe special.
Give the chicken time to marinade: a few hours to overnight should do it. For best results, use free-range bone-in and skin-on chicken breasts. You can use two large whole double breasts (often available at butcher shops), or four split chicken breast halves. If you have a whole spatchcocked chicken, this marinade will work great with that as well. Just adjust the cooking times based on the type of chicken you’re using.
Bone-in and skin-on chicken breasts require a slower cook time on the grill so the outside doesn’t burn before the inside is fully cooked. For best results, use the indirect heat cooking method provided in my recipe. Start cooking the chicken over direct heat to brown the outside and crisp the skin, and then move the chicken to a cooler part of the grill where no burner is on, close the lid, and complete the cook time with indirect heat. Allow about 5 minutes for the cooked chicken to sit under foil before squeezing the grilled lemons on the chicken.
- 2 whole double bone-in, skin on chicken breasts (or 4 chicken breasts halves)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons liquid honey
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons whole grain (grainy) Dijon mustard
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Rosemary, plus more for garnish
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 additional lemons, halved and coated with 1 teaspoon olive oil
- In a shallow baking dish combine the marinade ingredients: olive oil, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, 2 tablespoons Rosemary, salt and pepper. Add chicken breasts and toss to coat all sides. Cover and refrigerate for at least for 6 - 8 hours or overnight.
- Slice the 2 additional lemons in half and brush the exposed parts with olive oil, set aside.
- Preheat the BBQ grill to medium-high. Place the chicken pieces (reserving the excess marinade and the lemon halves) over the direct heat on the grill and grill until the skin is crisped, about 5 minutes per side.
- Turn off half of the burners and reduce the heat to medium on the remaining burners. Move the chicken, skin side up, to the cooler zone of the grill where no burners are on. Close the lid and cook the chicken slowly, while brushing occasionally with the remaining marinade.
- About half-way through the cooking time, place the lemon halves cut side down on the lit side of the grill. Grill the lemons (without squeezing) until they are completely charred and caramelized.
- Cook the chicken over the indirect heat until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast meat reads 165 degrees F. The chicken is fully cooked when no pink juices run and is springy when pressed. Actual grilling time will depend on the size of the breasts and the temperature which the grill retains.
- Remove the chicken breasts and lemons to a platter and tent with foil. Let rest for 5 minutes. Just before serving squeeze the juice from the grilled lemons (use tongs to squeeze the lemons as they will be hot) overtop of the chicken pieces and sprinkle with additional Rosemary.