Saturday, 21 July 2012

Don't Be Chicken!

I had a few chickens that I was planning on roasting in my oven to make my Lemon Dill Roast Chicken, but I hadn't accounted for the fact the it could get hot in Victoria and I wouldn't want to use my oven. I haven't lived through a real summer in Victoria yet and it surprised me when summer actually arrived! 

With the heat here, all I wanted to do was turn my BBQ on let the heat from cooking the chickens stay outdoors. Normally what I would do would be to make my Dancing Chickens, but my fridge was empty of beer so that was out too.  

Then I heard about a spatchcocked chicken. After I realized that we were talking about butterflying a chicken and not about the birdies you play with during badminton (they're called shuttlecocks, not spatchcocks as I previously thought), I was excited to try this new way of barbecuing a whole chicken. 

I even decided to try cooking my newly spatchcocked, or butterflied, chicken under a brick for the first time too. I was already trying one new thing. Why not try two?

And I was surprised to find that not only is butterflying a chicken easier than I thought, but it makes for an incredibly evenly cooked bird! This technique rivals my steak technique from last summer and I will use it again and again!

Spatchcock Chicken (Under a Brick!)

1 or 2 small chickens 
Seasoning or a BBQ Sauce, my Spicy Peach BBQ Sauce would be awesome! 

1. Start with a whole chicken. Put it on a cutting board and grab a pair of sharp kitchen scissors. If there's any string tying it together, remove it. 

2. First, pull out the fat from inside the chicken. Fat is not your friend on the BBQ. If you have too much fat, you will get flames on the grill and the skin of your chicken will burn before the meat is fully cooked.

3. Use your kitchen scissors and cut all the fat from chicken off the bird's bottom opening and discard it. 

4. Now feel for the back bone on top of the chicken. You are going to need to cut it out so your chicken can be flattened. Use your kitchen scissors and cut along one side of the back bone, all the way up to the neck. Then, cut along the other side of the back bone, again all the way up to the neck, so you can remove the bone and discard it. 

5. This is what your chicken should look like now. The breasts should be separated and flap like butterfly wings.

6. Now flip the bird over and press down so that the legs and thighs flatten too.

7. That's it! You've spatchcocked a chicken! You can stop here, season it, and grill it like normal. Or you can take the next step and cook it under a brick. I promise that the hard part is done. The brick part is as simple as can be. 

8. For grilling your chicken I suggest using very little or no oil in your seasoning. Oil is fat and fat makes flames on the grill. My Spicy Peach BBQ Sauce has no fat and is a great choice for this dish, or you can do something new and rub your meat with equal parts garlic powder, turmeric, and paprika, plus a generous amount of salt and pepper on both sides.

9. Then preheat your grill to medium heat and cover stones or a brick with foil. Cooking your chicken under a brick helps to get crispy skin in an easy way. Plus, it's fun technique for a summer grilling party!

10. When your grill is heated, place your chicken skin side down on the grill and top with a foil wrapped bricked or a few foil wrapped stones. I tried both stones and a brick and they both worked great! Cook the chicken on this side for about 15 minutes. And if you don't move the chicken, you'll get great grill marks!

11. Then flip the bird and discard the foil wrapped brick / stones. Cook skin side up for an additional 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken and the heat on the grill. You won't need to touch the bird during this time, just relax and let the grill do it's job.

You want your chickens to be about 175 degrees on the thigh meat when you remove them from the grill and I use a thermometer to make sure they're cooked properly.

12. When you remove the chickens from the grill, let them rest about 10-15 minutes before serving them so they stay juicy as can be. Enjoy and if you decided to use my Spicy Peach BBQ Sauce, try serving a little extra for dipping, all my guests have loved extra so far!

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