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Vietnamese Chicken on the Rotisserie

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You can cook this Vietnamese chicken on a rotisserie or simply over indirect heat.

I love Vietnamese chicken cooked on the barbecue on a rotisserie. Cooking it that way is fuss free and really brings out some amazing flavours. There are many Vietnamese recipes for chicken such as chicken pho and crispy fish sauce chicken wings and I intend to show you as many as I can over the next year. If you don’t have a rotisserie for your barbecue, you can also spatchcock the chicken and cook it over indirect heat. All is explained below.

Vietnamese chicken

About this Vietnamese chicken recipe

This Vietnamese chicken recipe calls for a simply but hugely popular marinade. The marinade includes lots of lemongrass that is finely chopped and really tastes amazing with the other ingredients. 

Although rotisserie chicken isn’t as common in Vietnam as it is where I live, you will get amazing results using a rotisserie.

This is a Vietnamese chicken preparation I learned while traveling around Vietnam. There the chicken was spatchcocked and cooked in a barbecue basket over the hot coals. 

What if you don’t have a rotisserie?

The reason I prefer rotisserie cooking is that in crisps the skin all around the bird, not just to where the skin is exposed. That said, you will get fantastic results cooking this Vietnamese chicken by simply spatchcocking the chicken and cooking over indirect heat.

Spatchcocking the chicken helps it cook faster and more evenly.

How do you spatchcock a chicken?

There are two ways. One is to remove the backbone. The other is to slice down between the two breasts which is my preferred method. Once you have spatchcocked your chicken, place it on a clean surface, breast side up and apply pressure with your hands. 

You should hear a few bones cracking. This too helps your Vietnamese chicken to cook evenly. 

Can you cook this Vietnamese chicken in an oven?

Yes. All you need is heat. So if using an oven, set it to 220c/430f and place the chicken on a rack in a baking tray. Then just roast the chicken until it is cooked through. Ovens tend to get a crispier skin but you will be missing that amazing smoky flavour you get when cooked over fire.

How do you cook this Vietnamese chicken on a rotisserie

Again, there are a couple of ways to do this. Either with the lid over the barbecue closed for a hotter and faster cook or with the lid open for a slower cook.

Personally, I prefer the quicker cook with the lid closed. Chicken does not need a slower cook like other meats and it takes on the smoky flavour however you cook it.

What do you serve with Vietnamese chicken?

I like to serve mine on a bed of vermicelli rice noodles with nuoc cham. That’s really all you need for a delicious meal with perhaps a green salad.

You might also enjoy Vietnamese chicken with a good starter. You will love Vietnamese grilled scallops, pork stuffed tofu, lemongrass pork skewers and also banh xeo which are crispy Vietnamese pancakes. All of these recipes can be cooked on your barbecue too. 

How do you make Nuoc cham?

That’s really easy and you will love the flavour it adds to your Vietnamese chicken!

Simply combine 70ml (1/4 cup) fish sauce, 125ml (1/2 cup) water, 3 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp white vinegar, 3 tbsp lime juice, 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped and 2 red finger chillies, thinly sliced.

Whisk it all together until the sugar dissolves and then add 2 tbsp finely chopped carrot and/or cucumber. That’s it. Done.

Which charcoal?

I use restaurant grade lumpwood charcoal from Big K. It has never let me down.

Whatever you use, be sure to seek out excellent quality charcoal that has not been ruined with lighter fluid. A good charcoal doesn’t need it.


  1. Allow your chicken to marinate as long as possible up to 24 hours.
  2. Add a couple of apple wood chunks to your fire. 
  3. Slather the skin with goose or duck fat. You will love the flavour.

Step by step photographs

Ingredients for Vietnamese chicken

Get all your ingredients together before you start. It’s easier that way.

Marinade for the chicken.

Whisk the marinade ingredients together. If you prefer a smoother marinade, pound the dry ingredients in a pestle and mortar before adding the liquids.

Separating the chicken skin from the meat.

Carefully separate the skin from the meat on the breasts, legs and thighs.

Marinating the chicken.

Rub the marinade under the skin and in the cavity. If you have a little left over, rub that over the skin. Marinate for up to 24 hours in the fridge in a large freezer bag or similar.

Chicken covered in goose fat and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Just before cooking, rub the marinade off the skin and retain it. Spread the goose or duck fat over the skin and season with salt and pepper.

Heating up the barbecue.

Light up your barbecue. You are aiming for a cooking temperature of around 220c/430f.

Getting the best results for your Vietnamese chicken on the barbecue.

I recommend placing the chicken on the rotisserie on the barbecue after you have achieved the target heat. You don’t want massive fluctuations in heat or you could produce ‘dirty smoke’ which will not benefit the flavour!

Once you barbecue is to heat, place you Vietnamese chicken on the rotisserie and start the cook. 

Placing the chicken over the barbecue on the rotisserie.

Start with the lid open until all the fat has drizzled off. This way you won’t burn the chicken. Keep an eye on it.

Vietnamese chicken

Cover the barbecue and cook. After about 60 minutes, it will look done. Keep cooking though. Be sure to baste with any retained marinade you have.

Finished chicken, carved and ready to serve.

After about 90 minutes, you will have super juicy, crispy chicken to enjoy! Allow it to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Vietnames chicken served with nuoc cham on rice vermicelli noodles.

Here it is served with rice vermicelli noodles and nuoc cham.

If you like this recipe, you might like to try some of these Vietnamese favourites too!

Shaking Beef
Vietnamese Tofu with Pork Stuffing
Beef Congee
Vietnamese Grilled Scallops
Cha Ca – Fried fish with Dill
Bo Kho – Spicy beef soup
Vietnamese Chicken Wings
Bun Cha – Grilled Pork Patties in Sauce
Chicken Pho
Beef Pho
Duck Pho
Pork on Lemongrass Skewers
Ban Xeo – Crispy Vietnamese Pancakes


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Yield: 4 - 6

Vietnamese Chicken on the Rotisserie

Vietnamese chicken
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes


  • 1 x 1.5kg (3 lb.) chicken
  • 3 tbsp melted duck or goose fat
  • 1 - 3 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, bruised and finely sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 x 2.5cm (1 inch) ginger, finely chopped
  • 6 coriander (cilantro) stalks, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp kecap manis
  • Fresh red chillies, thinly sliced to garnish


  1. Mix the marinade ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Then carefully slide your hand between the chicken skin and the meat. Apply the marinade under the skin and inside the cavity so that it gets right into the mean. If you have a little left over, you can also rub it over the skin.
  2. Allow to marinate while you set up your barbecue for indirect, rotisserie cooking or overnight. The longer the chicken marinates, the better.
  3. Build a fire on one half of you barbecue. I use about one and a half chimney starters of charcoal but how much you use will depend on your barbecue. Open both the bottom and top vents all the way and close the lid. You’re aiming for a cooking temperature of 220c/430f.
  4. When your barbecue is up to heat, secure the chicken on your rotisserie spit and rub it all over with the melted goose or duck fat, if using. This is optional but it does add a delicious flavour and helps make the skin crispy. Sprinkle the skin with the black pepper. I usually truss the chicken too to keep all that delicious flavour in and to help cook the chicken faster.
  5. Place the chicken on the rotisserie on your barbecue. Close the lid and grab a beer. The rotisserie will now do all the work. This chicken should take 90 minutes to cook and it’s ready when a meat thermometer reads 74c/165f.
  6. Once cooked, remove the chicken from your rotisserie and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before carving.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 202Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 2169mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 8g

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