Being on the New York side of Lake Champlain affords us gorgeous views of the sunrise. There’s something especially magical to me when you see it over water. Every now and then though it’s equally wonderful to see a sunset.

There’s a spot not far from my parents’ house that they like to go to armed with wine, hors d’oeuvres and chairs to watch the sun go down over the majestic Adirondack Mountains. A few years ago my dad put a whole chicken on the Lake Champlain Sunsetgrill and let it cook while they were gone. They found that the time it took to cook the chicken was also the perfect amount of time to watch a sunset. As such, “Sunset” Chicken has since become a family favorite. We like to make it at home to remind us of our happy place.

Start with a fresh whole chicken – one from a farmers market or local farm is even better. Go to your garden (or store) and pick lots of fresh herbs – any will do. I used rosemary, thyme, tarragon and lavender. Chop them up (all chopped it should measure a half cup), zest a lemon, crush some garlic and add it to plain yogurt. I like to use Greek yogurt as it’s more firm so it sticks to the chicken better, but traditional yogurt works, too (especially if it’s all you have). Cover the chicken with the yogurt mixture and let it sit for a few hours. The yogurt is key to keeping the chicken moist as it cooks on the grill.

The chicken cooks directly on the grill or if you happen to have a beer can chicken roaster you can use that to stand the chicken up (minus the beer can) which is what we did. Face the breast side of the chicken towards the front of the grill. I suppose there’s no reason you couldn’t also add the beer can…

I captured this sunset waiting for the ferry in Charlotte, Vermont to take us back to the New York side of Lake Champlain. The mountains in the distance are the Adirondacks.

Sunset Chicken with Yogurt and Herbs



Sunset Chicken with Yogurt and Herbs
5.0 from 2 reviews
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 4
  • 1 whole chicken (4 to 5 pounds) with skin on
  • 10 ounces fat-free plain yogurt (Greek or traditional)
  • ½ cup chopped herbs (rosemary, thyme, tarragon, dill, lavender, etc.)
  • 1 lemon (zest and cut in half)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  1. In a medium bowl mix yogurt with herbs, lemon zest and garlic.
  2. Spread the mixture all over the chicken including some between the breast and the skin as it will help to keep the breast meat moist. Add the lemon pieces to the cavity of the chicken.
  3. Place the chicken on a platter, lightly cover it with foil (non-stick if you have it) and place in the refrigerator for a few hours.
  4. Preheat the grill to high. Place the chicken breast side up on the grill. Turn off center burner and turn side burners down to medium. You’ll want to keep the heat 325°F to 350°F. Once you’ve reached the right temperature resist the temptation to open the grill as much as possible. The chicken takes about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. It’s done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 160°F to 170°F or when thigh is pierced with a fork and juices run clear.
  5. Remove chicken to a cutting board and let sit for a few minutes before carving.
* The chicken cooks directly on the grill or if you happen to have a beer can chicken roaster you can use that to stand the chicken up (minus the beer can) which is what we did. Face the breast side of the chicken towards the front of the grill. I suppose there’s no reason you couldn’t also add the beer can.


Share on Facebook13Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest6Share on Yummly4Email this to someone
2016-08-18T13:04:10+00:00 August 14th, 2016|Categories: Main Dishes|Tags: , , , , |10 Comments


  1. Peggy Teillon August 14, 2016 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    What fun to see our accidental recipe immortalized on Riegl Palate! As a post script to our original method of cooking a whole chicken on the grill, last night we used the same marinade (and I prefer Greek yogurt for the reasons Nicole mentioned) for chicken pieces instead of a whole chicken. It worked beautifully and the grandchildren loved it. The skin was beautifully crisp and a delicious crunchy treat. Even in the winter we use this recipe, but watching the sunset over the mountains in the summer adds a flavor not easily captured by the winter sky.

    • Nicole August 18, 2016 at 1:06 pm - Reply

      Peggy – Thank your for the creation and for sharing! I updated the write up to reflect your thoughts on the yogurt. I realize that up in Willsboro the yogurt selection isn’t as vast as say Whole Foods! Love your alternatives and that the little ones loved it, too!

  2. Dad August 14, 2016 at 11:03 pm - Reply

    Thanks Nicole, this is so much one of our favorites.

    • Nicole August 18, 2016 at 1:06 pm - Reply

      Dad – Thanks for sharing!!

  3. David August 16, 2016 at 8:24 am - Reply

    I have a beer can chicken holder (shall we just call it a BCCH?) and have yet to use it. Maybe now is the time. This sounds delicious and so simple. Aren’t the simplest meals the best?

    • Nicole August 18, 2016 at 1:07 pm - Reply

      David – Yes, a BCCH – a new acronym. Absolutely try it out for this recipe. And, yes, simple = good!

  4. Susie McCawley August 22, 2016 at 9:54 am - Reply

    Wow! Delicious! I did the prep work in the morning using traditional ‘chicken’ herbs from the garden (parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme). We then went for a lovely sail. We came home and put the chicken on the grill while relaxing with the Bill Hill sunset. I really could have just eaten the crispy skin and nothing else. Yum!

    • Nicole August 22, 2016 at 9:19 pm - Reply

      Dear Susie – What a wonderful adaptation! You live in such a beautiful place and this chicken is perfect for your sail and sunset.

  5. Michele McGovern November 3, 2016 at 7:01 am - Reply

    The skin was so crisp and the meat so moist. I grilled two and they all-but disappeared. The cocktails while they cooked were a treat, too!

    • Nicole November 9, 2016 at 5:25 pm - Reply

      Michele – Love that you doubled the chicken and followed the beverage directive as well.

Leave A Comment

Rate this recipe: