How to Cook a Whole Chicken on a Campfire

The outdoors is the best place to enjoy good food. And you don’t need a whole lot of equipment to make a great meal either—just a hot campfire, a decent cast-iron pan, and some quality ingredients. Here, Wes Siler shows you his favorite method for cooking a whole chicken, and all the fixings, over an open fire.


  • One whole chicken, giblets removed
  • Potatoes
  • A bunch of parsley
  • A bunch of cilantro
  • One large jalapeño
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Real olive oil
  • Red-wine vinegar


  • A sharp knife (Wes is using an Esee CL1)
  • A cutting board
  • A one-gallon plastic bag
  • Kitchen shears (Wes is using Oxo Good Grips)
  • Aluminum foil
  • A large cast-iron pan
  • Soap, water, and hand sanitizer for cleaning
  • Gloves or a hot pad (Wes is wearing Mechanix Originals)


Get a fire going at least an hour before you want to start cooking, creating a solid bed of red-hot coals. Spatchcock your chicken, set it aside, then sanitize your cooking station. Next, make a chimichurri sauce by chopping the cilantro, parsley, and jalapeño, and adding the salt, pepper, olive oil, and vinegar to taste. Pour this mix into the plastic bag. Slice the potatoes in halves or quarters, depending on their size. Lightly oil the pan and then place the chicken in it, breast side up. Carefully arrange the thighs so the chicken is spread out evenly, then place the potatoes around it and cover the whole thing in chimichurri sauce.

Set the pan directly on the fire, tent it with aluminum foil, and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your chicken and the intensity of your fire. Check your bird after 20 minutes—you can do this by slicing into the thickest part of the breast or thigh; it’s done when the meat is evenly white throughout and the juices run clear. Add a liquid like white wine or beer if anything in the bottom of the pan is sticking. Slice, serve, and enjoy. 

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