This might be one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever made. Grilled lemon brown butter chicken. Savory and charred, brushed until glistening with a lemon brown butter.
Just because summer is coming to an end doesn’t mean you have to stop grilling! This juicy, buttery, lemony chicken is a perfect lazy Sunday dinner for when you don’t want the weekend to end. There’s a tiny bit of prep upfront but once it’s on the grill it’s pretty much hands off. Incredibly impressive but still simple, this and a glass of wine will combat any case of the Sunday scaries.
The only part of this that’s hard is spatchcocking the chicken, where the backbone is removed and the chicken is pressed flat. It isn’t actually too difficult, just might be if you’re squeamish. You just take a sharp pair of kitchen scissors or a strong knife and cut through the rib bones near the spine. Then open the chicken up, cut side down, and press down a little to flatten. Horrifying, but not hard. And if you don’t want to do it yourself you can ask the person behind the meat counter to do it for you! Don’t skip this step though, because it allows for even cooking on the grill. The dark meat will cook through before the white meat dries out. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepp and let it sit while you make the lemon brown butter.
Brown the Butter
Okay, back to the easy stuff – browning the butter. To do this, melt a stick of butter in a pan over low heat. It will start to bubble and foam and the color will start to darken. Have a bowl nearby to pour the butter in once it’s ready, because it’ll overcook quickly! When the color is a toast brown and it smells nutty, remove it from the heat and pour it into the bowl to stop the cooking. Add a squeeze of lemon and stir.
Grill the Chicken
Once your butter is done, preheat your grill to a medium-high heat. Brush the grates with a little oil and place the chicken skin side down. Let it cook until it releases without a fight, about 6-8 minutes. Flip it over, close the lid, and let it cook for about 25-28 more minutes. If you’re feeling fancy, brush it with some brown butter about halfway through. Check for doneness after 25 minutes. A thermometer inserted into the thigh should read 150. If you don’t have a thermometer, first of all get one, but you can check by puncturing the meat and if the juice that runs out is clear, you’re good to go.
Remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Just before serving, drizzle the lemon brown butter over top. Hit it with a sprinkle of salt and another squeeze of lemon for good measure, pour yourself another glass of wine, and enjoy.
Grilled Lemon Brown Butter Chicken
- 1 whole chicken, 3.5-4 lbs
- 4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp pepper
- 1 stick butter (8 tbsp)
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- lemon wedges for serving
- Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper.
- Brown the butter over low heat. Once it’s golden brown and smells nutty, remove from heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl. Add the juice from half of a lemon.
- Preheat grill to medium high heat. Oil the grates. Place chicken skin side down and cook for 6-8 minutes, until it releases easily. Flip, close the lid, and cook for 25 more minutes. Check the temperature. If it’s not at 150, continue to cook until 150 is reached.
- Remove from the grill and let sit for 10 minutes before carving.
- Brush with brown butter and sprinkle with a little salt.
- Serve with additional lemon wedges.