One of the classic grilling recipes is good, old-fashioned grilled chicken. Some may say it’s been done to death, but if you’ve had chicken grilled to perfection, you know that it can make an amazing meal. And one way to spice up this recipe, no pun intended, is to use a rather unconventional grilling method. This one involves placing a brick (or grill press if you’re fresh out of bricks) on top of the chicken while you grill it. This will cut your cooking time in half, make sure it cooks evenly, and as a bonus, you’ll get wonderfully crispy skin on your bird. Happy grilling!
Tuscan Style Chicken Under a Brick (by Steven Raichlen)
- 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus the remainder of the bunch for serving (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves, plus the remainder of the bunch for serving (optional)
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup coarse salt (kosher or sea)
- 2 whole chickens (each 3 1/2 to 4 pounds) or 4 whole baby chickens, poussins, or game hens (each 1 to 1 1/4 pounds)
- 1/2 cup best quality extra virgin olive oil
- 2 lemons, cut into wedges
- 2 to 4 aluminum foil-wrapped bricks or metal grill presses
- Place the garlic, chopped rosemary and sage, and pepper in a food processor with a metal chopping blade, and pulse until finely chopped. Add the salt and process to mix. Transfer the rub to a jar with a tight fitting lid. This yields about 3/4 cup of herbed salt rub, more than you’ll need for this recipe. The leftover rub can be used for veal, pork, and pheasant, and will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.
- Remove and discard the fat just inside the neck and body cavities of the chickens. Remove the packages of giblets and set aside. Rinse the chickens, inside and out, under cold running water, then drain and blot dry, inside and out, with paper towels.
- Spatchcock the chickens by removing their spines and sternums and flattening them out. Generously season the birds on both sides with the herbed salt rub.
- For indirect cooking instructions, skip to step 7. If you are using the direct method of grilling, set up the grill and preheat it to medium. Leave one section of the grill bare for a safety zone. Brush and oil your cooking grate when the grill is hot.
- Arrange the birds skin side down on the hot grate at a diagonal to the bars. Place the bricks or grill presses on top of the birds.
- Grill the chickens until they are crisp and golden brown on the bottom, 12 to 20 minutes per side for full-size chickens, 8 to 12 minutes per side for baby chickens. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to test for doneness, inserting it into the thickest part of a thigh but not so that it touches a bone. The internal temperature should be about 170°F. Give each bird a quarter turn after 4 minutes on each side to create a crosshatch of grill marks.
- If you are using the indirect method, set up the grill for indirect grilling, place a drip pan in the center, and preheat the grill to medium.
- Arrange the birds skin side up in the center of the grate over the drip pan and away from the heat, and place the bricks or grill presses on top. Cover the grill and cook the birds until golden brown and cooked through, 40 minutes to 1 hour for full-size chickens, 30 to 40 minutes for baby chickens.
- Line a platter or plates with the remaining rosemary and sage sprigs (optional). Place the grilled birds on top, generously drizzle olive oil over them, and serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy!