Harissa Grilled Chicken

As the sunny and hot days wind down, and people start moving indoors to do their cooking, it is wise to remember that grilling still produces some of the tastiest meals imaginable. And really, unless it’s minus 10 outside you can still get the grill fired up for steaks, chops, or in this case, a semi-boneless half chicken. I use a technique here where I weigh the chicken down while cooking with the skin side down. The result is a slightly charred and crispy bird that is moist and flavourful. Serve with some roasted vegetables and a refreshing salad.

Serves 4


¾ tbsp                   harissa paste
½ tbsp                   ground cumin
½ tbsp                   ground coriander
½ tbsp                   ground fennel
½ tbsp                   lemon juice
4 cloves                garlic, minced finely
½ tbsp                   salt
1 tbsp                    olive oil to blend 
1                            whole chicken, split in half, spine, rib bones, and thigh bone removed
to serve               lemon wedges and olive oil


  1. In a work bowl, mix all of the ingredients (other than the chicken) together. Spread the marinade over the two halves of chicken and place in a dish, cover, and refrigerate for 8 hours, or up to two days.
  2. Preheat your grill on a medium high heat. If using charcoal, set the coals in the center of the grill so the heat distributes evenly.
  3. Place the chickens skin side down in the center of the grill. Cover with a sheet or two of aluminum foil, then place a baking sheet or roasting pan on top. Fill up a couple of pots of water to use as weights and sit them on top of the baking sheet. Cook for 45-60 minutes, or until an internal thermometer plunged into the thick area of the drum read 165°F.
  4. Remove the weights, baking sheet, and aluminum foil. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, skin side up. Slice the meat into 1” slices and place on a platter. Serve with lemon wedges and an extra drizzle of olive oil.

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