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?


Melissa said...

So glad you posted this! I was looking for an excuse to share this food-related link with you:

Looks tasty and fun! Perhaps something your wee ones of all ages would enjoy? And, who are we kidding, the adults, too.

Rosie said...

I wish we had a decent grill to try this, and a bug-free patio!

Crock-pot chicken (and anything in a crock pot) is really awesome for summer months too, because it doesn't heat up the house. Just stick the chicken in the pot (breast-up) with your favorite seasonings, cover, and cook on low for 7-8 hours. It's the most tender chicken in the world!

And then you can throw the bones back in the pot with vegetable ends (I save onion tops, carrot peels, and celery tops in the freezer) and another 6 cups of water, cook on low overnight, and you've got seriously good-for-you chicken stock!

Adele said...

Melissa, I love it! I am totally giving that a try... especially for Hugo, who can be a bit messy with the regular yogurt. And plus, in summer, everything is better frozen.

Adele said...

Using a crockpot in the summer is a great idea! I somehow gravitate towards mine in the winter months: must remember to use it this summer, too.

Irene said...

Adele, the chicken looks great! Have you tried "beer can chicken" on the grill? It comes out almost rotisserie style. I think you'd like it, too.

Adele said...

I haven't tried it! I think the biggest obstacle is that we generally get beer in bottles not cans... if I can just remember the next time I'm at the store to get cans, I am giving it a try.