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Grilled Five Spice Chicken

Use this dry rub blend for the juiciest and most flavorful chicken on the grill! No marinade needed.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 4
Calories: 322kcal
Author: Maggie Zhu


  • 2.5 to 3 pound (1.2 kg) whole chicken (see footnote 1)

Dry rub

  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili pepper (or paprika for less spicy dish)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns (or black pepper) (see footnote 2)


  • Combine coriander, five spice, garlic powder, cumin powder, chili pepper, and ground Sichuan peppercorns in a small bowl. Mix well.
  • Dry chicken thoroughly with a paper towel. Remove chicken wing tips and and spine by cutting along either side of it with a pair of poultry shears. Save the cut bones in a gallon bag and freeze them for making chicken stock later. Place chicken on a flat surface, skin side up. Press the breastbone with your palm to flatten the chicken. You should hear a crisp crack.
  • Grind sea salt generously on both sides of the chicken. Sprinkle about two thirds of the dry rub onto the skin side, and the rest onto the other side. Make sure to rub seasoning onto the surfaces next to the thighs and wing joints too.
    Grilled Five Spice Chicken Cooking Process
  • Light one chimney full of charcoal (*see footnote 3). When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, put on heat resistant gloves, pour the charcoal into the grill, and spread it over half of the coal grate, all on one side. If using a gas grill, set half the burners to high heat. Set the cooking grate in place, cover the grill and preheat for 5 minutes. Clean the cooking grate. Brush grate with a thin layer of oil.
  • Place chicken on the cooler side of grill with the legs facing the hotter side, skin side up. Cover grill, with top and bottom vents open. Cook until a thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the breast registers 110 F with a pair of tongs lifting the chicken (for an accurate reading), about 30 minutes. Rotate once in between to make the breast side face the hotter side, for even cooking.
    Grilled Five Spice Chicken Cooking Process
  • Grilled Five Spice Chicken Cooking Process
  • Carefully flip the chicken and place it on the hotter side of the grill, skin side down. Place a foil-lined cast iron pan on top of the chicken to ensure good contact with the grill grates (*see footnote 4). Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until the thermometer reads 145 to 150 F. If the chicken starts to burn before it’s cooked through, move it to the cooler side of grill. Cover and continue cooking until done.
    Grilled Five Spice Chicken Cooking Process
  • Grilled Five Spice Chicken Cooking Process
  • Transfer chicken onto a plate and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.


  1. You can use other cuts, such as thighs, breasts, and legs, as well.
  2. The best way to grind Sichuan peppercorns is: cook the Sichuan peppercorns in a spoonful of vegetable oil until they turn dark, let cool, and grind them. You can grind raw peppercorns as well, but they are more fragrant when cooked.
  3. You will have some leftover charcoal. I usually grill vegetables after cooking chicken, and save them for later.
  4. If you don’t have a cast iron pan, you can place a foil lined baking tray with a brick (or stone) on top of the chicken.


Serving: 232g | Calories: 322kcal | Carbohydrates: 20.1g | Protein: 36.4g | Fat: 11.7g | Saturated Fat: 1.6g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 1159mg | Potassium: 766mg | Fiber: 0.9g | Sugar: 17.7g | Vitamin A: 250IU | Vitamin C: 0.8mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 2mg