Whole Spice-crusted and Grilled Moroccan Chicken With Grilled Lemons

Whole Spice-crusted and Grilled Moroccan Chicken With Grilled Lemons

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  • 1 whole free-range chicken (about 5 pounds)
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (or 2 strips lemon peel, about 1/3-inch wide)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  • 2 lemons, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • Olive oil for brushing (about 1/4 cup)
  • Whole green onions for garnish


Rinse and pat dry the chicken.

Place the spices, the lemon zest or peel and salt in a spice grinder or mortar and grind to a coarse blend. Sprinkle some of the spice blend on the lemon slices and set aside. Lightly brush the entire surface of the chicken with the oil then sprinkle the spice blend evenly over the surface. Rub it in to blend with the oil.

Prepare a generous bed of hot coals and make a clearing in the center. Place an old cake pan or several layers of foil formed into a bowl shape in the center. This will act as a drip pan to prevent flare-ups. If you are using a gas grill, light the flame on one side of the grill only. (You will place the chicken on the unlighted side. This is called indirect cooking and will keep the chicken from dripping fat directly into the flame.)

Place the chicken, breast side down, on the grill. Cover the grill. Cook for 30 to 35 minutes. (At this point you may need to add a few more charcoal briquettes to the fire.) Turn the chicken over, brush with a little olive oil, and cook another 35 to 45 minutes or until it is sizzling and golden and the interior temperature at the thickest part of the thigh is 165° F. Lay the lemon slices and green onions on the grill in the last few minutes of cooking, turning once, until seared.

Allow the chicken to rest for 15 minutes before carving. Serve with the lemons and green onions on the side.

Special notes:

You may purchase the spices already ground, but it is so much more aromatic to grind your own!

You also may roast this chicken in a preheated 375° F oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the internal temp is as noted above.

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