Tag Archives: roasting chicken

Cook ALL the Chicken!

Okay, so I miscalculated how much time the giant package of chicken thighs and the over 7 lb roasting chicken needed to thaw in the refrigerator, and instead of it falling on two consecutive days, it arrived all at once today. Obviously, we can’t eat it all in one day, but cooking it all is not that big a deal. I simply roasted the thighs this morning with a little olive oil and salt & pepper and will remove the meat to use in some kind of casserole or pot pie, although that crispy skin might be a lunchtime snack. One future meal with the hard part done:

The roasting chicken is what I intended to cook today, so that’s going as planned. I spatchcocked the roaster and it’s sitting in a simple marinade (thank you Martha Stewart) until later this afternoon when it goes on the grill. I find the large roasters to be a little too big to work well in my Weber® chicken roasting slash beer can cooking device, so spatchcocking works best. As long as you have a good pair of kitchen shears, cutting out the backbone is easy, and that’s really the only hard part. Here’s a good video of how to do it:

Here’s what my large bird looked like after spatchcocking and then with a marinade:

Advice varies about how to place these birds on the grill and how long to cook them. Direct or indirect heat, skin side up or down? Here’s a good (and long) discussion of all the issues: http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/08/the-food-lab-how-to-grill-a-whole-chicken.html Because this is a big bird, I want to make sure the thighs are done before I turn over the skin side to get charred and crispy, so I’m using a two heat setup where the bird will cook over indirect heat until almost done, and then be flipped on the skin side over direct heat to get crispy and finish cooking. As with all whole birds, you want the dark meat done, but you don’t want the breasts overdone and dry. It’s the same dilemma you have when you oven roast a bird for the holidays. Wish me luck.

It went well, but it took longer than I thought it might because of the size of the bird. It took about 30 minutes over indirect heat for the breast to come to 110° but then it took just as long or a little longer over direct heat for both the breast and thighs to be done. Still, it all came out juicy and the skin was crispy.

You’ll notice that I did put two short skewers through the thighs, which made it easy to turn and move around, and may have helped increase the temperature in the thighs. So here are the basics of this method:

  1. Spatchcock the chicken by removing the backbone and flattening at the breastbone.
  2. Rub with a marinade and let sit, covered in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.
  3. Set up grill for two heat zones, direct and indirect. I used a full chimney of briquettes.
  4. Insert skewers through the thighs and breast end.
  5. When the grill grate is hot and cleaned, lay the chicken, skin side up, over indirect heat and close the cover. Cook for about 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your bird, checking that the breast temperature is at least 110°.
  6. Turn the chicken skin side down over the direct heat side of the grill, close the cover and cook until the breast registers about 145° and the thighs about 160°.

Most of the advice I see has you turning the bird only once, but do what you think you need to do.

Sunday Chicken on the Grill

It was really cooked on Saturday, but I never heard of a Saturday chicken, so I took poetic license with the title. Plus, I really couldn’t wait until Sunday to show off the chicken roaster accessory we bought for the grill. It comes with a removable cup for roasting a chicken with beer or whatever liquid you think might add flavor—this guy hates everything about beer can chicken and thinks it’s all a bunch of hooey. I think his ideas are worth a read.

The roaster is one of many accessories that fit into the center space on the cooking grid. You just remove the center grid and set in your accessory. The chicken roaster was on sale at the store where we were looking for something else, so it’s the first we have picked up. You can use it without the beer cup as just a vegetable roaster, or you could set any other kind of meat to roast in it.

In addition to adding beer and sliced garlic to the cup, I soaked the chicken for about 4 hours in a beer brine—just one bottle of beer and a generous teaspoon of salt. It plumped up nicely and was a terrifically moist chicken throughout. The breasts were as juicy as the thighs and none of it was dried out. We devoured all but the drumsticks, which will make a nice lunch for someone today.

Lemon Cheesecake

The next time, I will keep the vegetables away from the sides closest to the coals, as a few were caramelized perhaps a little too much—still edible, but maybe too charred for some people. We devoured the veggies too. Then we finished off the meal with this creamy, creamy lemon no-bake cheesecake, making it a meal definitely fit for a Sunday.

Sunday Chicken on the Grill

  • Servings: 1 4-6 lb chicken
  • Difficulty: easy
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Set up the grill for indirect heat at about 375°, with a drip pan in the center.

1 whole roasting chicken, about 4-6 lbs

2 bottles of beer

2 teaspoons salt

2 cloves garlic, sliced

olive oil

herb mixture—basil, chives, dill, garlic powder, for example

vegetables for roasting, whole or cut in large pieces

  1. Soak the chicken in a brine of one bottle of beer and the teaspoon of salt for at least 4 hours or overnight, turning several times, especially to brine the breasts.
  2. Add about 3/4 cup of beer and the sliced garlic to the beer cup. If using a beer can, it is preferable to use an opener that takes off the whole top of the can, to which you can add garlic, or you can make a lot of holes in the can.
  3. When the grill is up to temperature, place the chicken over the beer cup in the roaster, or over a beer can half full. I put the roaster in the grid before setting the chicken on the cup, so I didn’t have to do acrobatics carrying the whole thing to the grill.
  4. Rub the mixture of olive oil and herbs all over the chicken. don’t try to put the rub on before setting on the cup, because of all the maneuvering getting it on and standing up on it’s little legs. One advantage of this roaster over a can of beer is that it is locked into the roaster and won’t tip over, even if your chicken is lopsided. If roasting vegetables, place them around the chicken in the roaster.
  5. Roast with the lid closed for about 1 1/2 hours with the top and bottom vents open. I didn’t peek. After 1 1/2 hours, check for doneness with a thermometer. I registered from about 170° to 180° in various places on the bird. All the juices were clear.