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Let me ask you a question: Do you ever spatchcock your chicken? Don't be offended--this is a real culinary word, though Bon Appetit didn't use the term. Spatchcocking is the technique of removing the chicken's backbone and then pressing the bird open so that you have a whole, flat chicken for easier cooking.
I use (clean!) pruning shears to cut out the bone. Here's what you do: Cut through the skin, meat, and ribs from neck to bottom along each side of the backbone and then press the bird flat (skin-side up). Or (much easier) just ask your butcher to do the whole process for you. I haven't made a spatchcocked chicken in a few years, and many of the recipes I've tried call for grilling the chicken with a foil-wrapped brick or two on top to keep it flat. The Bon Appetit recipe made no mention of bricks, and the result was the best grilled chicken ever. Seriously.
I had meant to take photos, but a sudden major thunderstorm had me scrambling to carry things under cover, including my nicely prepared photo set. Oh well, I'm not that great at food photography anyway. All the photos here came from the magazine. My notes are in boldface.
Garlic-and-Rosemary Grilled Chicken
From Bon Appetit
- One 3½–4-lb. chicken, backbone removed (Our chicken was slightly over 4 lb.)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 2 heads of garlic, halved crosswise
- 2 bunches red scallions (I used white)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon onion or chive blossoms (optional) (I didn't do this.)
Place chicken, skin side up, on top of aromatics. Cover grill and cook until chicken is nearly cooked through, 35–40 minutes (aromatics will be thoroughly charred). (Our chicken was ready to turn at 35 minutes.)
Brush chicken with 1 Tbsp. oil (We didn't measure.) and place skin side down, directly onto grates (you can discard aromatics at this point). Grill until chicken is cooked through and skin is crisp, 10–15 minutes longer. (Our chicken took the full 15 minutes.) Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes before cutting into pieces. (Don't tent or the chicken will lose it's crispness.)
Meanwhile, toss remaining bunch of scallions with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet and grill until tender and lightly charred, about 5 minutes. (We didn't do this.)
Serve chicken with grilled scallions alongside, topped with onion blossoms, if desired.
Two other fabulous recipes were the Garlicky Runner Beans (we used fancy beans from the farmers' market) and the Grilled Bread with Ricotta. Click on the links for the recipes over at Bon Appetit. We had the grilled bread with wine for dinner one night (yes, it's supposed to be an appetizer), and I served the beans with Cajun-spiced grilled lamb chops. We also liked the tomato and chile pasta, the kasha and squash salad, and the corn and zucchini salad. And we haven't even tapped the peach and melon recipes!
If you grill nothing else this summer, give the spatchcocked chicken a try. You won't be sorry.