Charcoal Chicken is that delicious, reliable friend that you always have in your back pocket. Too tired to cook? On the way for a picnic? The roasted humble chook is a treat for everyone. But not all charcoal chickens are created equal, some excel above others – more succulent, crispier skin, and stuffed to perfection.
From your local chicken shop to big diners in downtown Melbourne, here’s the best charcoal chicken in Melbourne:
Super tasty rooster
A Sunday headache ritual around Fitzroy North, Super Tasty Rooster’s little store on Scotchmer Street is worth its weight in chicken salt. The neon-lit sign on the storefront leads to a small standing area with rotating chickens and a double boiler loaded with fries cooked and sprinkled with salt to perfection as well as a range of salads. Along with the chicken and fries, crowd favorites include the South Melbourne Market Dim Sims, as well as the Chicken Fillet Roll with shredded lettuce and house mayonnaise in a toasted focaccia roll – absolute bliss. .
The family charcoal chicken dynasty of New South Wales has its Victorian flagship store in Upper Camberwell. With a great focus on the neighborhood and a home-style approach to cooking, there’s a lot to love about Chargrill Charlies. Their grilled chicken rotisserie style made them very popular with locals, and their very upscale sides cemented the operation as one of Melbourne’s top charcoal chickens. Expect a rotating selection of generous salads and sides, including roasted potatoes, charred broccoli, and perfectly crispy fries.
So not a dedicated charcoal chicken shop but too good not to mention. Cook Shop on Queens Parade is the mecca of charcoal grilled meats. When cooking over charcoals over an open flame, the chicken soaks up all that smoky flavor, and as the fat drips onto the coals, it rises, enveloping the skin in a textured, extremely fragrant charcoal. With more emphasis on the chef, Cookshop’s menu is filled with seasonally inspired sides and sauces. They also have a sauce absolute, which when paired with chicken and fries is a game-changer.
A haven to have a great time, Sunshine Social’s converted industrial space is home to some of Melbourne’s best charcoal chickens. The open-air part is usually inundated with the sweet, aromatic smoke that emanates from the charcoal. The chickens are brined for 8 hours before being marinated in a special spice blend before being cooked on the charcoal to golden perfection. Great with a few beers and a raft from different sides including a dill and fennel spanking salad, grilled corn and a potato salad – a serious contender for the best charcoal chicken in the suburbs west of Melbourne.
Free range charcoal chicken
A local treasure, the Charcoal Chicken Center is tucked away among the local shops of Center Road in Bentleigh. It’s a no-frills, no-fuss place, the charcoal chicken shop we all grew up in, there’s only one difference – this one is absolutely awesome. With a devoted cult of loyal fans, the Charcoal Center has conquered its community with its Lilydale chickens marinated, cooked over charcoal and served with piping hot fries. Tip, they also make a hell of a souva.
Alimentari Smith Street
Probably not where you would expect to find some of Melbourne’s best charcoal chickens, but Alimentari’s serves very high-end poultry alongside their famous salads. Usually bustling with crowds on weekends and daily coffee catch-ups, the Alimentari rotisserie version is an organic roast chicken, served with mashed parsnip with truffles, peas and juice. There’s a lot to love about creating Smith Street deli restaurants with strong flavors and sides to balance the chicken.
House to roost
An absolute gem in the region, and the secret is well and truly unveiled on this one. Home To Roost is usually packed with lines after 5pm each night that meander along the Burke Road trail. The popularity is well deserved, owned and operated by local favorite Angelo, whose craftsmanship has led to one of Melbourne’s best charcoal chicken shops. You’ll find a range of options here, from perfectly seasoned roasted croquettes, marinated chicken burgers, gourmet salads and unbelievably good chippies. The food here is fresh, it’s not greasy and greasy, it has a healthy feel, and they even offer a range of gluten and paleo-free options.
McManos Chicken Bar
A favorite and institution of the west, the McManos Chicken Bar is everything you look for in a charcoal chicken shop. The timeless store still retains its sparkling old-world charm with old images of menu items sprawled across the walls and faux wood panels. Also famous for its critically acclaimed crinkle cut crisps, McManos’s also cooks some of Melbourne’s finest charcoal chickens. With an ultra-crunchy skin that has been crusted over by the embers, it shelters the chicken by providing perfectly juicy and succulent flesh underneath. A reliable choice with a lot of heritage.
Looking for a sweet hit? Check out Melbourne’s best donuts here.
Image credit: Home To Roost