Grilled Butterflied Brown Sugar Chicken



Bubbling Brown Sugar — with butter, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and a bit of apricot jam is used as both the basting sauce and serving sauce for this recipe. The chicken is basted on the grill as you turn it until it is browned and caramelized. I have to caution against using tongs to turn the chicken. It can cause the skin or meat to tear and moisture can be lost. The author of this recipe suggests that you use two large, round spatulas to turn the bird over. We used tongs and had a hard time keeping the skin intact. Once the meat has rested, it is again basted with the reserved sauce before serving. Very tasty — a bit sweet, a bit sour, and a bit savory. Served here with Stir-Fried Boy Choy and Garlic Mushroom Kabobs.

Grilled Butterflied Brown Sugar Chicken (Serves 4-6)


  • 1 (3 1/2 – 4 pound) whole chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Canola Oil
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons apricot jam
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika


  1. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, remove the backbone from the chicken and trim any excess fat or skin from the cavity.  Turn the chicken skin side up and press the breastbone with the heel of your hand to flatten the chicken.  Cover the chicken with plastic wrap and use a meat mallet to lightly pound the breast to the same thickness as the legs and thighs.  Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and transfer to a rack set over a baking sheet.  Refrigerate the chicken, uncovered, for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the butter, sugar, lemon juice, jam, mustard, and paprika.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is thick.  Transfer half of the sauce to a small bowl for basting and keep the remaining sauce warm over low heat until ready to serve.
  3. Prepare a charcoal grill using a chimney starter and lump hardwood coals. Spread the hot coals on one side of the grill bottom (indirect heat) and place an aluminum drip pan opposite the coals.  Cover the grill, open the vents, and allow the grates to heat until hot, about 5 minutes.
  4. Brush the skin of the chicken with the canola oil and season both sides with  with salt and pepper.  Clean and oil the grill grates.  Place the chicken skin side down over the drip pan with the chicken legs closer to the hotter side of the grill.  Cover the grill and cook until skin is lightly browned, about 30-35 minutes.  Using a basting brush, brush the flesh side of the chicken with some of the sauce.  Cover and cook for another 5 minutes.  Carefully turn the chicken skin side up and brush the entire chicken with more sauce.  Cover and cook for another 5 minutes.  Turn the chicken skin side down and gently slide the chicken directly over the coals to cook for another 5-10 minutes; checking to make sure that the sauce isn’t caramelizing to quickly.  If so, move the chicken to the cooler part of the grill.  Cook until the breasts registers 150º F and the thighs register 160º F. (The temperature will continue to rise as the chicken rests).  Transfer the chicken to a carving board, brush with additional sauce, and cover loosely with aluminum foil.  Allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.  Serve with the reserved warm sauce.

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About Worth Stopping By . . .

I am a blogger who would rather talk than write. I enjoy traveling, family time, friends and food/fine dining. I have made some real efforts in the kitchen lately, and I blog in order to document and motivate myself to: 1.) fully use all of the fresh ingredients in my kitchen and 2.) cook healthy, creative meals.

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