Saturday, August 24, 2013

Charcoal Grill-Roasted Whole Chicken

Serves 4

If you choose not to brine, skip that part of step 1 and season the bird generously with salt inside and out before rubbing with spices. Or, better yet, use a kosher chicken (which is salted during processing). For added accuracy, place a grill thermometer in the lid vents as the chicken cooks. The temperature inside the grill should be about 375 degrees at the outset and will fall to about 300 by the time the chicken is done.

1cupkosher salt
1 whole broiler/fryer chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds)
3tablespoons spice rub (see related recipes)


1. Dissolve salt in 2 quarts cold water in large container. Immerse chicken in salted water and refrigerate until fully seasoned, about 1 hour. Remove chicken from brine and rinse inside and out with cool running water; pat dry with paper towels. Massage spice rub all over chicken, inside and out. Lift up skin over breast and rub spice rub directly onto meat, (see illustration below).

2. While chicken is brining, soak 4 medium-sized wood chunks in water to cover for 1 hour; drain. When chicken is almost done brining, fill large chimney starter two-thirds full with charcoal (about 4 quarts, or 50 briquettes) and ignite; burn until briquettes are covered with light gray ash, 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Empty coals into grill. Divide coals in half to form two piles on either side of grill; use long-handled tongs to move any stray coals into piles (see illustration 1). Nestle 2 soaked wood chunks on top of each pile (see illustration 2). Position grill rack over coals and cover grill. Heat rack for 5 minutes, then scrape clean with wire brush. Position bird, breast-side down, in middle of rack, over portion of grill without any coals. Cover, opening grill lid vents halfway. Grill-roast for 30 minutes.

4. Working quickly to prevent excessive heat loss, remove lid and, using 2 large wads of paper towels, turn chicken breast-side up. Cover and grill-roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 170 to 175 degrees, 25 to 35 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to platter or carving board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest 15 minutes. Carve and serve.

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