top of page

Smoked Chicken-in-a-Basket Rotisserie Chicken Breasts

Mesquite smoked chicken breasts stay moist and tender as they cook over lump charcoal  in Primo Grill’s Rotisserie 3-sided basket. The bone-in chicken has an infusion of lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and lime or use your favorite  marinade. Grilling chicken in a rotisserie 3-sided basket grilling has definitely made me a believer that chicken breasts can retain moisture while being infused with smoky flavor on a grill!  Check out my tips! 


A Primo Grill is in the background with a platter of smoked sliced chicken breasts in front. The platter has an array of broccoli, lime slices, and asparagus.
Mesquite Smoked Chicken Breasts are so fun to make in Primo's 3-sided rotisserie basket!

This post is a collaboration with Primo Ceramic Grills. I receive compensation, but all opinions are my own. You all know by now that I adore my Primo Oval XL 400 and find it super easy to operate! 

A Primo Grill with its lid down and a pair of grill gloves near by!
Everyone needs a HERO mine so happens to be my Primo Grill!

Let’s face it, smoking chicken breasts can be a little tricky! After all, grilled chicken breasts are notorious for being flavorless and dry! But those days can be over, simply marinate or brine chicken breasts and smoke in Primo’s 3-sided rotisserie basket! 

A three sided basket filled with golden brown chicken breasts is in a grill with hot coals.
Smoking chicken breasts in Primo Grill's Rotisserie 3-sided basket is ideal!


Do you marinade or brine chicken? There is always a debate on which is the preferred method so I will give you ideas for both! All you do is pick a marinade or a brine and let the chicken soak in it for at least an hour. Expert Tip: Do not let chicken sit in a marinade with a lot of acid overnight (citrus juice or vinegar will toughen chicken). 


I made today’s chicken marinade **recipe at the end of the week. When deciding what flavor to take the marinade I looked in my veggie bin, refusing to go to the store, and grabbed any aromatics. Subsequently, the marinade is made with lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and lim, and it  turned out sooo delicious. In the end, the smoked chicken was moist and bright with flavor. If you like to chew on the chicken rib bones you are in for a real treat. Super flavorful! 



Pickle Juice Brine: Save all of your pickle juice and pepperoncini juice and use it as a brine. Brine for one hour then pat dry, and season chicken on both sides. 


One of my grilling girlfriends, who is a champion in BBQ, teaches that brining chicken is best. Christie Vanover from Girls Can Grill states, “When the chicken breast is introduced to a salt water bath, the proteins begin to break down and relax while the meat absorbs the liquid.” 


Brine Recipe: 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon chicken rub. (Primo Grill has a chicken rub. Christie does too!) Mix the brine ingredients, add chicken, and set on the countertop for one hour. Pat dry, season, and brush with oil.

A grill with a 3-sided basket is in the background with a bowl of chicken smothered in a blended greenish yellow thick marinade is in front.
Yes, the marinade is ugly but gives a powerful punch of flavor to chicken breasts.

A grill and 3-sided basket are in the background. In the front are the ingredients for a grilled chicken marinade. The ingredients include leeks, lemongrass, limes, mint, and garlic.
Gather you marinade ingredients, you can even change them up a bit!


It’s Simple! Bone-In Skin-on Chicken Breasts have more flavor, and stay moist when grilling! The bone allows the meat to stay tightly in place and juices are trapped, making for a tender, moist, flavorful bite of chicken. Plus, the bone conducts heat to help cook the chicken throughout. In addition, the bone increases the cook time so that smoke has longer to infuse the meat. Lastly, bone-in chicken is cheaper! 


Check out my other bone-in chicken breast recipe: 3-Herbs Lemon Garlic Grilled Bone-In Chicken Breasts.

A photo to show the Rotisserie Kit for the Primo Grill Oval 400.
Primo Grill's Rotisserie Kit is easy to assemble and mount onto a Primo Grill.


Throughout my grilling days, rotisserie grilling always produces a moist piece of beef, pork, or poultry. Now couple that with the Primo Grill’s capability to hold long low heat and you have a culinary masterpiece! Furthermore, rotisserie food is not only pleasing to the eye but palate too. I am so thrilled that I can now do rotisserie smoking and grilling on my Primo. There is no comparison between my Primo Grill Rotisserie and my Propane Gas Grill Rotisserie! My Primo Grill wins every time!


I love that the Primo Grill is made in America and truly is designed and constructed with the highest quality. I’ve had my Primo XL Oval 400 for over 2 years now, and the smoking and grilling adventure never tires. I love the overall beauty of the look of my Primo Grill shining with all its capabilities on the back porch. And I swear the Primo Grill is magical and has talents of its own! Every time I think I’ve blown a recipe the Primo magic comes in and makes the food moist and delicious. It is all about the well designed vent design and how easy it is to operate. 

An open grill with chicken breasts and shishito peppers in the 3-sided basket.
The Primo Grill Rotisserie 3-sided basket can hold up to 6 bone-in chicken breasts.


THE 3-sided basket is one of Primo Grills’ latest rotisserie attachments. As you see in the photos, there are 3 compartment baskets. So instead of jumbling food together in the wing basket you have the ability to have 3 different baskets. If needed, open one basket and empty before finishing the cook in the other baskets. In today’s cook, I did just that! The shishito pepper skewer came out of the basket long before the chicken did.


I will admit that the basket’s individual compartments are a bit hard to open and close. After a few tries I was able to fasten it much better. Now when it comes to placing the spit rod through the basket, and tightening the screws, it was with ease. Lastly, inserting the rotisserie rod into the motor with the 3-sided basket was no problem for Grilling Grandma! LoL 


Subsequently, any hiccups I found in operating the Primo Rotisserie 3-sided basket was well worth the effort by the end of each cook because this method produces AMAZING MOIST FLAVORFUL DISHES!

Shishito Peppers are strung onto a skewer so they won't fall through the openings in a metal 3-sided basket.
Shishito Peppers are small enough to fall through the cage therefore string them onto a skewer!


Primo Grills’ 3-sided basket has 3 separate compartments. The height within an individual basket is 2-inches, and the length is 13.5 inches. The width in the basket is 4.5 inches. So with this in mind, I cut corn-on-the-cob in 4-inch long pieces and placed 4 or 5 cobs side by side. It seemed brilliant until the cage lid would not close. Note to self: When you use the 3-sided basket make sure food is not over 2-inches high. 


The measurement of Primo’s Rotisserie 3-sided basket makes smoking steaks, meatballs, chicken thighs, fish steaks, whole trout, mushrooms, peppers, carrots, parsnips, and turnip slices simply dreamy!


And as far as small vegetables like baby carrots and shishitos peppers that will fall through the holes, I have a solution. I strung shishitos peppers on a skewer and placed it into the basket; a perfect solution. 

A close up view of a smoked chicken breast that has been plated before it is sliced.
The skin was so flavorful. Smoked Chicken Breasts are so tasty!


It’s all about constant steady rotating heat! Rotisserie cooking is basically indirect cooking. Whatever is in the basket is going to get cooked evenly throughout. Just don’t over crowd the basket and you will experience an absolutely delish meal. 


Moreover, one of the selling points of the Primo Ceramic Grill is the ability to hold and smoke with low heat. So after smoking remove the par-cooked dish, and increase the heat, for what I call a fire finish. It’s all about an efficient two-way vent system! In addition, the thick ceramic walls act as an insulator to retain heat for hours. 

A 3-sided grill basket filled with golden brown and crispy chicken thighs.
Chicken thighs are a great choice when you have a Primo Grill Rotisserie 3-sided Basket!


Whatever cut of meat is small enough to fit in Primo Grill’s Rotisserie 3-Sided Basket can be smoked or grilled to perfection. For example: 2 (6oz) pork chops per basket. You can do the math, smoke 6 (oz) steaks of any kind. As long as that hunk of meat is not over 2-inches in height and 13-inches long you are good to go! The 3-sided basket is fabulous for fish. In addition, I grilled the most fabulous crispy skin bone-in chicken thighs in the rotisserie 3-sided basket! 


A 3-sided basket is on the grill filled with garlic, mushrooms, and peppers.
From steaks to veggies the ideas are endless in what can be tucked into a Primo Rotisserie 3-sided Basket!

Check out my other 3-sided basket recipe: 

Golden Brown Smoked Chicken Breasts are ready to be sliced. Garnishes of lime slices and broccoli can be seen.
Golden Brown Smoked Chicken Breasts are ready to be sliced.


Leftover chicken can be stored in a sealable container for 3-4 days. Our favorite way to use cold smoked chicken to buy a bag of Southwestern or Asian Salad Kit, and to simply chop the chicken and add it to salad. A quick quesadilla or burrito is great too. If you want to heat the chicken, as is, then place a moist paper towel over it and heat in the microwave at 50% power, for 20 to 30 seconds. 



A 3-sided rotisserie basket sits in front of a Primo Grill. The basket holds chicken breasts.
Add any marinade you want to chicken breasts and place in Primo Grills 3-sided rotisserie basket.You will love the results!

Chicken is in a grill basket and is golden brown.
Chicken breasts can be turned to the rib bone side to protect over browning the skin.

1 Recipe Smoked Chicken-in-a-Basket Rotisserie Chicken Breasts
Download PDF • 52KB

Smoked Chicken-In-A-Basket Rotisserie Chicken Breasts 

The Ingredients: 

4 (4-inch) lemongrass sticks

1 cup tender greens of leeks or 4-5 chopped green onions

1 loose cup fresh mint, cilantro, or basil, or combination

1-inch peeled ginger root

5 garlic cloves

1/2 cup canola or avocado oil

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup fish sauce

1/2 tablespoon soy sauce

3 limes, remove zest and juice

1/2 cup liquid, white wine, water, apple juice, chicken broth 

4 large bone-in chicken breasts, leave on skin, trim anything dangling if necessary

Note: A total of 6 chicken breasts can be cooked in the 3-sided basket at one time. 


Garnish: fresh herb leaves and lime slices 

Side Suggestions: Sautéed Cabbage and Broccoli Medley, Charred Shishitos Peppers, Smoked Mushrooms, Grilled Asparagus 


Smoke source: 

Primo Grill Lump Charcoal

QuickLights Fire Starters

2 mesquite wood chunk 


Cooking method: 

Direct heat zone 


Equipment : 

Primo Grill Rotisserie Kit 

Primo Grill Rotisserie 3-Sided Basket   



Serves:      4 -6

Prep Time  1 hour marination

Grill Time    40 minutes  

Seasons     All

Category    Chicken


Preparation Instructions

  1. Make the marinade 45 minutes before preparing the grill.

  2. In a blender, blend roughly chopped lemongrass, leeks or green onions, fresh herbs, ginger root, garlic, oil, brown sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, 2 tablespoons lime zest, 3 tablespoon lime juice, until it is uniform in texture. Add liquid, only if needed, to make a paste similar in texture to chimichurri sauce.

  3. Poke 8 small holes, with a knife, into the skin of each chicken breast, trying not to puncture flesh. Combine chicken and marinade in a bowl, and stir to sufficiently coat chicken. Cover the bowl, and leave on the countertop for an hour.


Cooking Instructions

  1. Fill the grill half-way with Primo lump charcoal. After 5 minutes, add 2 mesquite smoking chunks, and close the lid. 

  2. Heat the Primo Grill to 375°F degrees, adjust vents as needed.

  3. Remove chicken from the marinade, and wipe off most of the marinade. Stretch the skin to cover as much meat as possible. Lightly season chicken with salt. 

  4. Arrange 2 chicken breasts per basket. Optional: evenly arrange vegetables in the remaining basket. Tighten the screws at each end of the basket to secure on to the rotisserie rod. 

  5. Once there is blue smoke versus gray smoke drifting from the grill mount the rotisserie frame and the motor. Insert the motor's plug into the electrical socket but do not turn it on yet. Note: There will be some smoke that escapes when the Primo Rotisserie frame is in position. No worries, simply adjust the vents to hold the desired temperature which means to decrease vent holes. 

  6. Insert the rotisserie rod, with the 3-sided chicken basket, into the Primo Rotisserie motor, and turn the motor on.

  7. Smoke the chicken breasts on the rotisserie for 30-40 minutes, or until the center of each chicken breast reaches 160°F.

  8. Remove chicken basket from grill. Using grill gloves, free the chicken from the basket, and onto a cutting board. Rest chicken for 10 minutes before slicing. By this time, the chicken will reach 165°F which is the USDA safety standard for cooked chicken.

  9. Slice the smoked chicken, and serve on a bed of vegetables. Garnish chicken platter with herbs and citrus slices. 

Chef’s Tip: When I prepare the grill, I let my grill get to 500°F cuz I am always so occupied with busyness.. It was tricky to cool the grill to 375°F so I grilled at a slightly higher heat. When my chicken was in jeopardy of over-browning, I removed the rod with the basket from the motor. Over a large cookie sheet, I opened the basket with grill gloves, and flipped the back side of the chicken to the front. I then continued cooking until the chicken reached 160°F. Perfect solution. 

Hindsight Tip: Next time, I want to try smoking the chicken breasts with the back side forward in the basket for 20 minutes to protect the skin. I will then turn the chicken over so that the chicken skin is on the outside and can brown up in the last 20 minutes.

A platter of grilled chicken, lime slices, asparagus, and broccoli are in front of a Primo Grill.
The 3-sided basket allows chicken to brown over hot coals yet not burn due to the constant rotation and distance from the heat.

A platter with 1 whole grilled chicken breasts and 2 sliced chicken breasts. It's plated pretty on a round black platter.
Time for dinner! Oh yum Rotisserie Smoked Chicken Breasts!



Congrats! You’re subscribed

bottom of page