Wednesday, May 9, 2012
How to Grill a Whole Chicken
When I saw a recipe for a whole grilled chicken, I knew I had to give it a try! Chicken is definitely a mainstay of this family, a meal that every single person enjoys. We have a roast chicken every week, and in the winter months I will roast it over the afternoon and the kitchen stays warm and aromatic. Up until these last few weeks when Hugo has started making us a "whole chicken family" we would have roast chicken one night, and a meal built around chicken leftovers such as salad with chicken or chicken quesadillas. But in the summer months, heating up the house isn't worth it, so whole grilled chicken sounded perfect. But could we really grill a chicken properly in a reasonable amount of time? I started out a skeptic.
Well, here's what you do. Take a whole chicken, and cut out the backbone. This is best done with some sturdy kitchen shears and should be pretty quick and easy if you're cutting at the right spot. Simply cut along bot sides of the backbone and remove it. Now, pull the chicken open. This is called "butterflying" a chicken, and it is the secret to grilling a whole chicken.
I suggest doing some simple seasoning (I got a little fancy and made a rub from pureed olive oil, shallots, and spices, which I then rubbed under the breast skin) made from your favorite spices or what you have on hand and a little oil. Barbecue sauce is also fine, but you will want to apply this later so as not to burn the chicken.
Heat your grill to medium high and place your chicken breast down for ten to fifteen minutes, until it is charred (if you have little kids, you might want to flip a bit earlier... the toddlers weren't crazy about the charred skin it turns out). Flip the chicken and cook on medium heat or an additional 30 to 40 minutes, until the internal temperature at the thickest part of the breast reads 165. (If you're twiddling your thumbs during this time, you might fry up the liver with a little oil: did you know that liver meat is the most healthful part of the animal to eat? Vitamin rich and very tasty with a bit of salt.) Apply additional rub, sauce, or marinade to your grilled chicken (if using barbecue sauce, add it about 5 minutes before you're done).
I must confess, I loved it! It cooked evenly, and had wonderful flavor. Serve with a potato salad, or just plain green beans if your guests are 3.
What changes do you make to your cooking in the summer months?