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Old 05-31-2012, 06:38 PM   #1
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How Long to Grill Half Chickens?

I am the head chef at an upcoming outing. The person buying the chicken decided to get 40 half chicken instead of chicken breasts. How long on average does it take to cook half a chicken? I have about a 3' X 5' grill to work with. I want to have plenty of time to get all this chicken cooked.

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Old 05-31-2012, 10:32 PM   #2
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it all depends on grill, not the size of it. and then what do you mean half chickens? Is it a chicken cut in the half long way? Or the other way around? Dark meat cooks longer. Meat on the bone also cooks longer.

Did you say 3 X 5 feet? Where did you get such a monster? It is the size of my dinning room table. Is it gas charcol?
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Old 05-31-2012, 10:37 PM   #3
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I am the head chef at an upcoming outing. The person buying the chicken decided to get 40 half chicken instead of chicken breasts. How long on average does it take to cook half a chicken? I have about a 3' X 5' grill to work with. I want to have plenty of time to get all this chicken cooked.
Half the time it takes to grill a whole chicken

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Old 05-31-2012, 11:57 PM   #4
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there's nothing more annoying than a wiseguy beating you to a bad joke...
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Old 06-01-2012, 12:35 AM   #5
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If you are grilling half chickens, run a knife around the joints of the thigh/leg and also around the joint of the wing\breast. That will help to cook the half more evenly.
On a med. fire look for it to be done in about 20-30 minutes, but check with an instant thermometer.
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Old 06-01-2012, 01:50 AM   #6
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there's nothing more annoying than a wiseguy beating you to a bad joke...
Well what about "til it is done?"

You didn't think I would pass that up did you?
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Old 06-01-2012, 02:36 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by vagriller View Post
I am the head chef at an upcoming outing. The person buying the chicken decided to get 40 half chicken instead of chicken breasts. How long on average does it take to cook half a chicken? I have about a 3' X 5' grill to work with. I want to have plenty of time to get all this chicken cooked.

Instead of buying 40 boneless chicken breasts to serve 40, he bought 40 half chickens for 40?
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:26 AM   #8
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it all depends on grill, not the size of it. and then what do you mean half chickens? Is it a chicken cut in the half long way? Or the other way around? Dark meat cooks longer. Meat on the bone also cooks longer.

Did you say 3 X 5 feet? Where did you get such a monster? It is the size of my dinning room table. Is it gas charcol?
I believe they are chickens cut in half the long way, and on the bone. Yes, about 3X5 feet, charcoal or I suppose you could use wood too. It's custom built for our campsite.

PF60, not helpful but certainly funny! And that is greatly appreciated!

Caslon, yes that is correct. But we may have more than 40. But the majority of the attendees are boys. It is a Royal Rangers (like Cub Scouts) camping trip. He is getting them from the local farmers market, so I think he may be getting a special deal or something.

I really wish I had a way to get these all in a brine for a few hours, but I think that would take a whole cooler to do 40 half chickens.
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:45 AM   #9
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Congrats on helping out the Royal Rangers. I remember who they are from my childhood.
My suggestion is to bring two big aluminium pans to cover them as they cook like a lid. Maybe 3 pans would work better.
I would also go with cutting the white from the dark.
As far as how long to cook them I have no idea unl
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:49 AM   #10
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Unless you consider until they are done a idea. I would start 40 minutes out and when done remove from grill and keep pan wrapped in towel to keep it till serving time.

I have been drinking and that's why two posts.
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Old 06-01-2012, 06:20 AM   #11
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Well what about "til it is done?"
That's the only correct answer here.

As a rough estimate, it could take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. It completely depends on how hot the fire, the size of the birds, etc. There's no one-size-fits-all solution.
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Old 06-01-2012, 06:39 AM   #12
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That's the only correct answer here.

As a rough estimate, it could take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. It completely depends on how hot the fire, the size of the birds, etc. There's no one-size-fits-all solution.
I agree, till they are done is absolutely correct! I have never grilled half a chicken though and so I wanted a rough idea. I know that for dinner at 6pm I should probably get going on the wood and charcoal at 4pm at the latest. I figure even if all 40 aren't done that at least they can get going on what is done. Probably won't need to cook them all.

I have cooked a bunch of leg quarters in the past. It took forever because they needed to cook for so long over low heat. I learned my lesson with high heat on the first couple as they flared up when the fat cooked off and dripped onto the flames.
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:00 AM   #13
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Howdy!
Being from Hampton, I wonder if you have ever heard of the Olde Virgina Primitive Riflemen. We hold a couple of living history events a year near Smithfield and feed the whole camp on Saturday evening. We use a similar set up to the one in your picture, just six or seven times longer. We cook 375-400 lbs. of leg quarters and it can take quite awhile. My guess is the 1/2 chickens would likely take about twice as long.
We have a method of controlling the flare ups that works pretty good, but you will need a HOT fire. Whenever the flames get to be a problem, we sprinkle the chicken with ice from a cooler we keep nearby. It works pretty good as long as you just use enough ice to control the flames. I know I have some photos of the set up we use but I just can't seem to locate them just now. If I can find them I will post a couple.
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:17 AM   #14
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Howdy!
Being from Hampton, I wonder if you have ever heard of the Olde Virgina Primitive Riflemen. We hold a couple of living history events a year near Smithfield and feed the whole camp on Saturday evening. We use a similar set up to the one in your picture, just six or seven times longer. We cook 375-400 lbs. of leg quarters and it can take quite awhile. My guess is the 1/2 chickens would likely take about twice as long.
We have a method of controlling the flare ups that works pretty good, but you will need a HOT fire. Whenever the flames get to be a problem, we sprinkle the chicken with ice from a cooler we keep nearby. It works pretty good as long as you just use enough ice to control the flames. I know I have some photos of the set up we use but I just can't seem to locate them just now. If I can find them I will post a couple.
Never heard of them. Did the setup look like this?
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Old 06-01-2012, 08:46 AM   #15
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Yep, that is my good friend, Tim, cooking ribs for our winter encampment.
What that picture doesn't show is that there is a second even longer fire pit.
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Old 06-01-2012, 08:50 AM   #16
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That is one huge grill setup Hoot!
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:19 AM   #17
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Here is a better view. I know I have some other photos, but this here old brain of mine can't recollect where I laid 'em down at.
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:22 AM   #18
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Here is a better view. I know I have some other photos, but this here old brain of mine can't recollect where I laid 'em down at.
Do you guys use wood only, or some charcoal too?

I will be driving right through Smithfield this afternoon on the way to the campground. I love it out there!
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:25 AM   #19
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We generally use charcoal, as much as I hate to admit it. When we are cooking that much chicken and the whole camp is waiting, drooling, and chompin' at the bit, cooking with wood is a trifle counter productive timewise.
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:36 AM   #20
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We generally use charcoal, as much as I hate to admit it. When we are cooking that much chicken and the whole camp is waiting, drooling, and chompin' at the bit, cooking with wood is a trifle counter productive timewise.
That would be pretty difficult to manage with wood I bet! I might use some of both tomorrow night.
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