I’ve heard of using bricks to flatten chicken on the grill, so was interested to give it a try. The official terminology is “Spatchcocking” (a.k.a. butterflying the chicken), which presents the main challenge. I had to cut out the backbone using a sharp chef’s knife, since I don’t have kitchen sheers.
The recipe for Italian-Style Charcoal-Grilled Chicken is here. Mix salt, pepper and herbs together to create the rub. Butterfly the chicken by removing the backbone, then use your palm to break the breast bone so that the chicken lays flat. Working your hands under the skin, free the skin from the breasts and thighs. Spread the herb rub evenly under the skin, and put in refrigerator 2 hours (I only had time for 1 hour).
Light 5 quarts of charcoal and put all on one side of grill; forming a hot and cool zone. Preheat the bricks for 5 minutes. Cook the chicken on the cool side for 30 minutes, skin side down with the legs pointing towards the hot side; placing the bricks on the breasts so that the chicken lays flat. Flip the chicken and place on hot side for 20 minutes. The legs should still point to the hot side, and replace bricks. Finally, give the breast side another 5-to-10 minutes to crisp the skin. Let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Results: 4-stars. The meat was very evenly cooked. After an hour on the grill the chicken was still very moist, and had nice flavor. The sauce was super-easy to make; really a by-product of making the herb rub; but added a nice bright flavor.
- I should have started at 3pm or 4pm. Because I started at 5pm, I could only let spice mixture sit for 1 hour, not 2 hours. And we didn’t eat until 8pm.
- While the recipe calls for a 3 3/4- to 4 1/4-pound chicken, I used 5-1/4 pound bird. I wanted leftovers for lunch tomorrow. However after removing the backbone and discarding neck/organs, I only had 4 1/4-pounds of bone-in chicken; hardly any leftovers.
- Because I used a 5-1/4 pound chicken, the cooking times were too low; needed an extra 5 to 10 minutes per side to get crisp.
- I didn’t have kitchen sheers, so had to remove the backbone with a sharp chefs knife.
- I forgot to use the remaining salt/pepper mixture on the reverse side of the chicken. So I used it at the table instead.
Rating: 4 stars.
How much work? Small.
How big of a mess? Medium. Too many dishes considering your cooking on the grill.
Start time 5:00 PM. Dinner time 8:00 PM