The thought of cooking any part of the chicken that wasn’t the breast used to intimidate me until last winter when my husband, who was sick of sliced white chicken topping every other entree, suggested we try roasting a whole bird. He was craving a mid-winter Thanksgiving meal and I could reason in my head that a whole chicken was just like a mini-turkey and if I could cook a regular turkey at thanksgiving, I can certainly cook a chicken. Not having a deep roasting pan at the time, we cooked it our Crockpot with some root veggies and it was phenomenal.
So now I preach purchasing and cooking the whole chicken every time. I can usually find a 3-4 lb chicken for about 5 dollars at our grocer and Jay and I can always get a few meals from it. With grilling season nearing an end, I thought I’d try butterflying the chicken and throwing it on the grill. I also wanted to brine the chicken to ensure it didn’t dry out on me.
I had never attempted to butterfly a chicken before and consequently won’t show you the photos of how the inside of mine turned out. However, you can find a great tutorial at rachaelray.com. Had I followed these steps, the underside of my chicken would have not looked like a slasher-film victim. Despite the massacre, it was still a pretty easy process and my chicken was still in one piece. Ta da!
Pro-tip: You can probably ask your butcher to do this for you, too.
I threw it in a brine for about an hour before cooking. If you’ve never brined before, it’s a great technique for infusing meat with flavor and keeping it super moist. It is, by far, my favorite method for marinating.
This was also my first attempt at a brick chicken. Placing a brick on the chicken while it’s cooking will ensure a crispy skin and quick cooking since more of the surface area of the bird is in contact with direct heat. We didn’t have a brick, so we used a rock wrapped in tin foil and placed on a cast iron skillet but since there’s no such thing as ‘rock-skillet chicken’ I’m calling it brick chicken.
The chicken came out very tender, falling off the bones thanks to the brine. The skin also developed some nice char marks and came out perfectly crispy. I threw some yukon gold potatoes in a foil packet while the bird was going and placed it on the grill until they were fork tender. A perfect ‘goodbye grilling season’ meal.
Brined Brick Chicken with Yukon Gold Potatoes
For the chicken
- 3-4 Lb Butterflied Chicken (get instructions)
- Favorite BBQ Sauce
For the Brine
- 4 Cups Water
- 1/4 Cup Salt
- 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
For the Potatoes
- 8-10 Small Yukon Gold
- 1/2 Onion, Chopped
- Salt and Pepper
- Lemon Juice from Half of a Lemon
An hour before you plan on grilling, mix the brine in a non-reactive bowl. Glass or ceramic will work fine. Submerge the chicken in the brine, ensuring the whole bird is covered.
Meanwhile, quarter the potatoes and toss them with onion, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Create a packet of aluminum foil and seal the potatoes inside.
When you’re ready to grill, pull the bird from the brine and pat dry. Season with salt, pepper, and any other spice of your choice on both sides of the chicken. We like a little garlic and paprika.
Heat the grill to medium and get the potatoes on one side. Next, place the chicken skin side down and cover with a piece of aluminum. Place your brick or skillet or rock (we used a rock in a skillet) on top of the bird and close the grill. After about 10 minutes, flip the chicken. At this point, baste the chicken with the BBQ sauce and cover with the aluminum and weights. Close the lid and let it go for another 10 minutes.
Check the temperature of the chicken by inserting a thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh. Temperature should be 165. If it reaches 160, you’ll be ok to remove it since it will continue to cook once it’s removed.
Insert a fork in the potatoes and make sure they’re tender. Remove and serve alongside chicken and your favorite BBQ sauce.