Grilling a whole chicken can be a challenge. How do you get the skin crispy and golden brown, while making sure that the meat is cooked all the way through but not to the point that it becomes dried out?
Well, if you have a TEC Infrared Grill, you are already ahead of the game. Because our grills cook with 100% infrared energy, we eliminate the hot air that dries out your food. So that means that a whole chicken is going to stay moist and juicy with no effort. And if you have a rotisserie on your TEC Infrared Grill, then you can stop reading now! Just load up the rotisserie with your chicken (tie up those wings and legs), turn it on, and crispy skinned and moist chicken will be forthcoming in about 30 minutes.
But what about for the rest of us that don’t have a rotisserie, or even worse (gasp!), don’t have a TEC Infrared Grill? You can still successfully grill a whole juicy and crispy skinned chicken by employing some knife skills and kitchen tricks.
The key to grilling (or cooking for that matter) any meat or protein is that you want it to be uniform thickness and to cook at the same rate. This is why a chicken is so challenging because it is round in shape (so not uniform at all), and has both white and dark meat, which cook at different rates.
To tackle the first issue of uniformity, you should try a technique called “spatchcocking.” This is where you take out the backbone of the chicken, so that you can open up the chicken flat like a book.
How to spatchcock a chicken:
1. Rinse the chicken with cool water, and pat dry. Place the chicken on a cutting board, breast side down.
2. Find the backbone running the length of the chicken. Using a knife or kitchen/poultry shears, cut along both sides of the backbone and lift it out.
3. Turn the chicken over and gently press on the breast to flatten the chicken. You may need to also remove the wish bone to get the chicken to lay flat.
4. Cut off the wing tips and tuck the wings into the skin folds of the legs.
5. Rub the chicken all over with garlic oil, salt, and pepper. Now you are ready to grill it.
The second technique comes into play when you put the chicken on the grill. Weighing the chicken down with a heavy skillet and bricks helps to keep the chicken directly in contact with the grill so you get crispy skin. It also helps cook the meat more quickly and evenly so that it stays moist and juicy. And finally, this might not be scientific, but it seems like since the pan sits mostly on top of the breasts it helps to protect them from drying out, kind of like a little cast iron blanket!
How to cook chicken under a brick:
1. Preheat your grill on high heat.
2. When hot, turn the grill down to medium to medium-low.
3. Spread the chicken out across the grill breast side down, and immediately place a large cast iron skillet on top of the chicken breast. Place two bricks inside the skillet to weigh it down even more.
4. Grill the chicken until the skin is starting to crisp, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the bricks and the skillet, and carefully turn the chicken over. Put the skillet and bricks back on the chicken and grill for another 15-20 minutes. Finally, remove the skillet and bricks, and turn the chicken back over. Grill for another 5-10 minutes to crisp the skin a bit more.
5. Remove the chicken from the grill, and let rest for 10-15 minutes to keep those juices inside the chicken.
For more spatchcocked chicken ideas, check out these videos and recipes:
How to spatchcock a chicken video
Malaysian Spicy Grilled Chicken – Steven Raichlen