Taking out the backbone allows the chicken to cook much more evenly, and cooking low and slow over indirect heat allows you to thoroughly cook the meat without burning the skin. Anya didn’t use one, but sometimes we like to place a brick or cast-iron pan on the chicken (with aluminum foil in between) while it cooks. It tends to speed up the cooking time and help the chicken cook more evenly.
1 (3½-pound) chicken, backbone removed
1 stick salted butter
6 cloves garlic
1 large sprig rosemary
4 lemons, cut in half
1. Remove the chicken from fridge and season generously with salt. Let sit at room temperature while you prepare the grill.
2. Light charcoal (we highly recommend a chimney) 20 to 30 minutes before you want to start cooking. When all the coals are glowing and have an ashy exterior, dump them on one side of the grill for indirect cooking.
3. Meanwhile, combine butter and garlic in a small saucepan and melt over medium heat.
4. When ready, place chicken on the cooler side of the grill, skin side up, and cook for 10 minutes, using the rosemary sprig to baste with butter/garlic mixture every 5 minutes or so. Flip and cook another 10 minutes, basting halfway through. Cook 10 more minutes on each side, basting often. At this point the chicken should be cooked through, but use a meat thermometer to confirm that the thigh meat has reached 165°F.
5. The skin should be beautifully crisp and golden, but if you’d like a bit more color, move to the hot side of the grill, skin side down, for a couple of minutes.
6. Remove the bird and let rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.
7. While the chicken rests, grill lemons over high heat until charred and juicy.
8. Squeeze grilled lemons over the carved chicken just before serving.