Sunday, July 18, 2010

Garlic & Herb Chicken Grilled Under a Brick

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, May 2009
Serves 4
Herb-Marinated Chicken Grilled Under a Brick
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbl thyme, chopped
1 Tbl rosemary, chopped
1 Tbl kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 tsp ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 whole chicken (3 3/4 – 4 1/4 #)
vegetable oil, for grilling
Make the garlic-herb rub: In a small sauce pan, combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and pepper flakes.  Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.  Simmer, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant but not browned.  Add the thyme and rosemary and cook about 30 seconds longer.  Turn off the heat, then strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, pushing on the solids to extract the oil, and collecting the oil in a small bowl.  Transfer the solids to a second small bowl.  Reserve both bowls.
Prep the chicken: Rinse the whole chicken, inside and out, in cool running water, then pat dry with paper towels.  Using kitchen shears, cut through the rib bones on both sides of the background, cutting straight against the backbone, along on side then the other.  Discard the backbone.  Flip the chicken over, then push down on the breasts to flatten the breastbone.  (This is called ‘butterflying’ the chicken.)  Tuck the wings back, folding the tips beneath the other wing bones. 
Running your hands over the meat and beneath the skin, loosen the skin over the breast and thighs.  Trim away any excess skin or fat.  Stir to combine 1 Tbl salt and 1 tsp pepper with garlic-herb mixture.  Spread the salt-garlic-herb mixture evenly under the skin over the breast and thigh meat.  Sprinkle another 1 tsp salt and a good pinch of pepper over the bottom side of the chicken.  Place the chicken skin-side up on a wire rack placed over a baking sheet.  Refrigerate 1-2 hours. 
Heat the grill:  Turn all burners to high.  Wrap 2 bricks tightly with foil and place them on the cooking rack.  Cover the grill with the lid and heat until very hot, about 20 minutes. 
Grill the chicken: Leave the burner on one side of the grill on high, and turn off the burner on the other side of the grill.  Place the chicken skin-side down over the cooler side of the grill, with the legs facing the fire.  Place the hot bricks length-wise over each breast.  Cover the grill and cook until the skin is lightly browned, about 22-25 minutes.  Remove the bricks.  Flip the chicken to skin-side up, with the legs again facing the fire.  (The chicken should release freely and not stick to the grates.  If it does stick, use a metal spatula to gently loosen it.)  Place the bricks over the breast, cover the grill, and continue to cook until the chicken is well browned, about 12-15 minutes.  Remove the bricks, and flip the chicken again to skin-side down, this time placing the chicken directly over the flame.   Grill until the chicken skin is browned and crispy, and a thermometer placed into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165ᵒF, about 5-10 minutes. 
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes.  Carve the chicken into 10 pieces (2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings and 2 breasts cut in half ).  Brush the pieces with the reserved flavored oil.  Serve hot.
An extra grilling tip:  I always like to have a spray bottle of water handy, whenever I grill.  As fat melts off the meat and drips into the flame, flare-ups inevitably occur, which can quickly and thoroughly burn the surface of the meat.  A few quick sprays of water takes care of any flare-up.  This little trick has been a lifesaver for me, again and again.