There's no doubt about it, chicken with the bones left in tact delivers more flavour and keeps even dry white meat succulent and juicy. But did you ever think chiropractic moves would be essential in the life of a home cook? Well, today they are.
The weather is far too hot (yay!) for turning on the oven and roasting a one hour chicken. Say good-bye to that until at least September. And yet bone-in chicken often takes too much time and heat on our trusty BBQ's, either resulting in a trip to the oven anyway to finish it off, or alternatively dried out chicken which is not so fun to devour. I prefer a couple of juicy drips running down my chin.
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind... OK, so your hair is enjoying a little breeze, your neighbours' mouths are watering, and you may be sitting on comfy patio furniture sipping on some wine. I've heard much about it, however left it to people with far less flops to account for: It's time for a little Chicken under a Brick.
The worst part most certainly is cracking the bird's breast bone after butterflying it. But there's wine on the patio, don't forget... (And thank you, Ms. Chicken, I hope you had a good life, because you are about to make mine sweet.)
Voila - can I say it again - pizza stones are a kitchen must have! Especially for the couple of bucks they cost... Next stop, large rectangle baking stone so I can grill two chickens at a time.
I would recommend a practice run before showing off to friends how amazing your new talents are. Flare ups do happen and chicken needs to be cooked to 170 F to be presentable. I started off with a smaller bird, about 2 1/2 pounds, but I am sure a larger bird will deliver even greater results.
Serves 2 - 4
1 chicken (about 3 pounds)
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt (kosher or sea salt)
1 tsp coarsely ground fresh black pepper
Cut the chicken in half down the back, using kitchen scissors, along both sides of the backbone. Discard. Cut off the outermost parts of the wingtips. Lay the chicken flat, and press down on the chicken's breast with medium pressure to crack (!) the breastbone. Using a mallet, pound the chicken gently and evenly to flatten to a uniform 1 1/2 inches.
Combine salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub all over the chicken, inside and out. Work as far under the skin as possible without tearing the skin. Cover the chicken and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. (Never, ever cook cold meat straight from the fridge!)
Fire up the grill to medium heat. Oil the grate using grape seed oil or shortening. Not too much though, or flare ups will be mighty!
Lay the chicken skin side down on the barbecue, stretching it out fully. Cover with a pizza stone or another nonflammable weight of several pounds, like a cast iron skillet. Grill the chicken with the cover open for 20 minutes. Remove the pizza stone, turn the chicken over (only once!) replacing the stone to continue cooking for another 15 - 25 minutes. The chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 170 F and it has a nice crispy, golden brown skin.
When finished, rest the chicken on a cutting board for 5 minutes. To serve, carve along the breastbone, then portion as you wish.