02 August 2014

Weekend Cooking: The Best Grilled Chicken Ever

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This month's Bon Appetit is one of the best issues of the year. I've made a half a dozen recipes from it already, and each was a success, especially the grilled chicken.

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
Serves 4
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.)
Prepare grill for medium heat. (We kept our grill at a steady 400F.) Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place rosemary, garlic, and 1 bunch of scallions in a layer on grill.

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.


Tina 8/2/14, 7:01 AM  

You have me sold, I am off to get that copy of Bon Appetit. We grill quite a bit of chicken but I have only spatchcocked it twice. Shears definitely help!

rhapsodyinbooks 8/2/14, 7:05 AM  

The grilled bread with ricotta looks fantastic!

Tina 8/2/14, 7:16 AM  

Ok, I had to share two awesome books this week. I am on a French theme here"

Anonymous,  8/2/14, 7:57 AM  

I remember there was a similar recipe in an issue of delicious. last year but the whole spatchcock thing intimidated me. However, everything here looks mouthwatering so I think I'll be giving it a go!

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 8/2/14, 8:04 AM  

What a great word! I have done this before (but to Cornish Hen) and I think I just called it de-boning or butterflying. I'm going to pin this chicken recipe and the Ricotta and Tomato flatbread looks delicious too!

Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) 8/2/14, 8:25 AM  

This sounds delicious. Rosemary, chicken and the grill go so well together. And I could definitely make a meal out of that grilled bread. I am going to have to check out that summer issue of Bon Appetit.

Booksnyc 8/2/14, 8:41 AM  

I had a delicious grilled chicken in a restaurant last night which sounds much like this. My friends teased me for the simplicity of my choice but the simplicity is often what makes grilled chicken so good!

Apologies for the two links - the first one autopopulated and I hit enter too soon.

Karen 8/2/14, 8:55 AM  

Yum, glad it turned out so well! I've always seen recipes call for a brick too, so I'm glad to know it's not necessary. I guess it would just speed up the process somewhat.

Joy 8/2/14, 9:14 AM  

I'm going to try that! We're getting a bit bored with the way we've been grilling chicken. This will be fun.

Joy's Book Blog

Meghan 8/2/14, 9:19 AM  

I haven't spatchcocked a chicken myself, but I have purchased and roasted them before. That chicken looks absolutely amazing. Bookmarking for next summer when I will hopefully have a grill of my own!

Marg 8/2/14, 9:29 AM  

I can honestly say I have never spatchcocked a chicken but this does look really, really delicious. I am hungry just reading your post.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity 8/2/14, 9:29 AM  

But it's so intimidating!! ;) I'm almost done with Operation Grill (I'd like to do a pizza) but I might have to try this. In some research I have been hearing Bon Appetite's grilling cookbook called THE grilling cookbook to get. Sounds like this issue falls right in line!

Jackie McGuinness 8/2/14, 9:38 AM  

Spatchcocked! Can't wait to use this word!!

Helen's British Cooking Site

'Indian mode and sea fashion' adds the Victorian colonel's wife from whose cookbook this particular recipe comes. The word spatchcock comes from the dish - a happy rooster one minute and a rather flat-looking grilled chicken the next - all done with great despatch. This simple recipe was a favourite with army officers sent to India by sea, which used to entail several weeks' long voyage. Coops of chickens were kept on board and were a great treat for the bored passengers when despatched and cooked in this way.'

Esme 8/2/14, 9:59 AM  

This has been their best issue in a while. I have made so many recipes.

this may show as a comment from my spouse it is Chocolate and Croissants I am on his computer.

JoAnn 8/2/14, 10:14 AM  

I recognize the technique, not the word ;-)

Bon Appetit was the first cooking magazine I subscribed to after college and has always been a favorite. I've let all my magazine subscriptions lapse over the last few years, but should probably pick this one up again. The chicken sounds amazing.

Daryl 8/2/14, 10:36 AM  

i try not to eat meat, i am not a complete vegetarian but i won't ever eat read meat, chicken will do if there's not a fish or satisfying salad to be had .. and grilled is best .. this post got my mouth watering

SuziQoregon 8/2/14, 10:38 AM  

Sending this to The Hubster!

Mari 8/2/14, 2:41 PM  

That looks so yummy! Supposedly I need more protein in my diet. :)

bermudaonion 8/2/14, 8:01 PM  

I've never heard of spatchcocked chicken and I'm sure I couldn't do it. I usually buy boneless, skinless chicken. Your chicken looks and sounds delicious!

Melissa (Avid Reader) 8/2/14, 10:25 PM  

I have never heard of spatchcock! That garlic chicken looks incredible though.

Couscous & Consciousness 8/3/14, 1:27 AM  

Looks like a great magazine, and has me longing for summer. I often spatchcock a chicken, especially when I want to do a roast chicken mid-week and have minimal time to spare, as it will cook so much faster than the whole unflattened bird.

Unknown 8/5/14, 12:29 PM  

Looking at the grilled bread with ricotta is making me so hungry!

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