Split chicken is cut right through the middle so that each half is composed of a breast, a thigh, and a leg and is very easy to grill. Lay the halves skin side down over the hot fire and then, using tongs, turn them several times as they cook so that they pick up attractive grill marks. We grill relatively small chickens and expect a half chicken to be one serving, but you might prefer to cut the grilled chicken into breasts and dark meat for smaller portions.
2 (3 lb.) Whole Fryer Chickens, split or 4 (1 1/4 lb.) All-Natural Cornish Game Hens, split
1 small lemon, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup packed, coarsley chopped fresh oregano leaves
2 tbsp. grated lemon zest
2 tbsp. roughly chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Vegetable oil cooking spray
Lemon slices, for garnish
Rosemary sprigs, for garnish
Divide the chicken (or hen) halves between two large, resealable plastic bags or shallow glass or ceramic dishes.
In a medium bowl, stir together the olive oil, lemon slices, lemon juice, oregano, lemon zest, rosemary, salt, red pepper, and pepper. Rub the marinade into the poultry and under the skin. Seal the bags closed or cover the dishes and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 6 hours, letting the chicken come to room temperature before grilling.
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill: Lightly spray the grill rack with vegetable oil cooking spray. Light the coals or heating elements, and let them burn or heat until moderately hot.
Lift the poultry from the dish, allowing the herbs to cling to the meat. Discard the marinade and lemon slices.
Grill the poultry halves, skin side down to start, and turning several times, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer registers 180°F in the thickest part of the thigh.
Serve garnished with the fresh lemon slices and rosemary sprigs.