The combination of spices here is so tasty, but if you don't have them all, don't be afraid to try dried herbs instead or even fresh herbs if you have some available.


  • 2 small chickens (about 1.1-1.4kg each)
  • for the marinade:
  • 4 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • 2 tblsp soft dark brown sugar
  • 2 tblsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • a small handbill of fresh sage leaves (roughly chopped)
  • a small handful of fresh thyme
  • 1 lemon (juice)
  • 3 tblsp (or 4) vegetable oil
  • a generous pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • The cooking time on a barbecue can be a little tricky to judge because it depends on the size of your chicken, but if you are worried it's not cooked enough, simply insert a skewer into the thickest part and if the juices run clear, the bird is ready.
  • To prepare the chicken, place the bird breast-down and, using a knife or a sharp scissors, cut along either side of the back bone to remove it. Open the bird out and flip it over breast-side up and, using your fist, push down hard on the breast to break the bone.
  • Thread a skewer diagonally through the bird from the leg to the breast and repeat on the other side. Using a sharp knife, score the bird on the legs and breasts then repeat the whole process for the second chicken. Place the chicken in a large roasting tray.
  • Put all the ingredients for the marinade in a pestle and mortar or food processor and pound or blitz until you have a rough paste. Spread the paste over the chicken until they are completely covered. Cover with foil and allow to marinate in the fridge for 30 mintures to an hour, if you have time.
  • Light a barbecue or preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas mark 6) if the weather is not up to cooking outdoors. Place the birds on the barbecue over a medium heat and cook breast side up for 25-30 minutes.
  • Turn the birds over and cook for a further 15-20 minutes or until the chickens are cooked through, if you find the chicken is blackening too much, move to the edge of the barbecue or place them on some foil until they are cooked through. Alternatively, oven roast the chickens for 50-60 minutes or until cooked through.