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Anniversary Grilled Chicken with Saffron and Preserved Lemon

Anniversary Grilled Chicken with Saffron and Preserved Lemon

  • Author: Isabelle Boucher (Crumb)
  • Total Time: 24 hours 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x


A simple grilled chicken is transformed into a special-occasion-worthy meal simply by slipping a saffron and preserved lemon butter under the skin. It emerges from the grill tender, juicy and crisply golden-skinned.


  • 1 whole chicken, spatchcocked (~3 lbs)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric (or 1 tbsp grated fresh turmeric)
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp butter, softened
  • ½ preserved lemon, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp saffron, crumbled


  1. The night before, pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season all over with salt, turmeric and pepper. Transfer to a large zip-top plastic bag, and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 6 hours (but preferably overnight).
  2. The next day, heat a lightly oiled gas or charcoal grill using medium-high heat.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the softened butter, preserved lemon and saffron until well combined.
  4. Using one or two fingers, gently separate the chicken skin from the breast and thighs, creating a small pocket and doing your best to keep the skin whole. Slide the preserved lemon butter into the pocket and gently spread to fill the space over the breast and onto the thighs.
  5. Place the chicken, breast side up, onto the preheated grill over indirect heat. Grill with the lid down for 40-50 minutes, or until juices run clear and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers a temperature of 160F.
  6. Move the chicken to direct heat and flip over skin side down. Grill with the lid closed for another 5 minutes to crisp the skin. Remove from heat and let rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Prep Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Category: Main