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grilling whole chickens, new fave method

I've seen this at street fairs and finally did it at home -- cut the whole chicken along the back, and splayed it on the grill, with a weight (bacon press, or foil-wrapped brick)
Really easy, and it worked. I guess you're pressing the thicker part, so the legs and breast end up being done at the same time, and it all cooks before you char the skin to oblivion.

I did a quick marinade in a Trini hot sauce heavy on habaneros and cilantro from the unfortunately named Get Saucey book by Grace Parisi - f.a.n.t.a.s.t.i.c. and not brutally hot despite the many many chiles.

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  1. Similar to the oven broiled chicken that Julia Child has in her Way to Cook book. She skewered through hers to keep it flat, and finished with a mustard glaze

    1. That's called spatchcocked. Here's a few more recipes for that:
      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

      2 Replies
      1. re: coconutz

        Spatchcocked. It sounds like a form of verbal one-upsmanship.

        1. re: coconutz

          Aslo called "Chicken under a brick", an Italian dish going back to Roman times, I do this fairly often, usually on the stove in a large NS skillet with the brick on top, adjust burner to get a steady sputter, turn once at about 20 minutes after a golden brown is achieved on the skin. Classic marinade includes olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and sage or rosemary. As someone else mentions do your best to flatten the bird after removing the back, I leave the breast bone in place. Total cooking time seems to approach 40 minutes, sometimes I cut the chicken into pieces and finish in the oven for 10 minutes to get the red out of the joints. Use the back, neck and wingtips, extra skin and fat, heart and gizzard to start your stock which you can use to prepare risotto to serve at dinner, cooking both chicken and risotto on the stove at the same time, sometimes I run out of burners. I love this recipe but my spoiled family prefers I cook a few skinless boneless breasts in the fat after the chicken parts go in the oven.

        2. I have a hinged wire grill basket about 11" x 14", big enough to hold a butterflied bird (or butterflied leg of lamb, yum!). Clamps everything together, no monkeying with bricks or whatever, and when you want to you just grab the handle (with gloves!) and flip the whole thing over. Makes it easy to brush on more marinade or oil, too. And yes, that is one damn delicious bird!

          3 Replies
          1. re: Will Owen

            me too, and I have even removed the back bone and still put it on the rotiserrie just tied up well. I prefer this to smashing the poor thing on the grill,On the grill, mine seems to dry out if not careful.
            The flattened and basket way sure cooks evenly, and just seems that the skin, the fat, and the meat are able to cook together better and the rub or marinade permiate throughout much better.
            So many recipes, but I too use this method most of the time.

            1. re: chef chicklet

              I've also done the backbone-removed flattened and marinated chicken in the oven, both in a glass baking dish and in my iron grill pan, usually turning it once, and it always comes out wonderfully juicy and flavorful. Cleanup (AND turning it over!) is a little easier with the grill-and-basket method, but sometimes it's just not grilling weather, even in sunny SoCal.

              1. re: Will Owen

                The cooking time is quicker have you noticed that? Easiser to cut up and less waste. I haven't tried doing the oven in a glass dish, but I will. Sometimes in NoCal where I live, its too dang hot to grill. My husband loves it since I started doing this. You can still stuff it too by the way...

          2. I do the same thing using a foil wrapped flat rock and marinade of olive oil, garlic, lemon, oregano or rosemary, s&p. Comes out great every time.

            1. I use a modified chicken prep method, whereby after cutting out the backbone, I make a shallow incision into the cartilage at the top (neck end) of the breast bone, not more than maybe 1/4 to 1/8-inch deep. Slight hand pressure onto that top end frees up the breast bone from that end, and it can then be easily pulled completely out by hand. I then cut through the remaining skin joining the 2 halves, and the chicken lies much flatter with but a moment's effort. This also leaves the bird easier to cut up at serving time. Just a trick learned at Berkeley's Fourth Street Grill half a lifetime ago, back when they were hustling those Rocky JRs on and off of that searing, signature mesquite charcoal grill.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Craterellus

                My DH just made something called, Beer butt chicken, where you use an actual can of beer to hold the chicken up on the grill. It came off, moist and the skin was crispy and just perfect..he put spices in the can of beer and stuck it in the cavity of the chicken, standing it up on the grill.. We will defin try this again. Even the breast was nice and moist. There are a lot of recipes for this on the net....some call it drunken chicken.