Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Butterflied Grilled Chicken

I have always considered myself to have good mechanical skills.  I learned to take apart and grease a sewing machine when I was a kid.  I can read schematics, put together Ikea furniture.  I spent a couple years of my engineering career working on precision molds and die-sets.  But when it comes to working on things that really get your hands dirty, like cars or bikes, I have virtually no experience. There was always a brother, or husband, or mechanic who did these things. I never doubted I could do them, but self confidence only goes so far.  I recently bought a bike off of Craigslist.  I spent $45. It pretty much worked, except the front wheel didn't spin freely.  I did a little googling and determined the front hub needed to be repacked.  Then some more googling for video's on how to repack the front hub, which all looked doable.  My biggest fear is that the bolt to get the wheel off would be rusted on, but it came right off. More YouTube video's searched to figure out out to release the brake to get the wheel off.  Everything came apart as described, the bearings were in good shape, a little bit of cussing to get the ball bearings back, a short phone consult with my husband about grease, it went back together and it works!  The moral of this story is that You Tube is an amazing learning tool.  You can learn things that maybe you are too embarrassed to admit you don't know or don't have anyone around to show you.  And I'm telling you this story because there are lots of cooking techniques you can learn from YouTube.  Like how to butterfly a chicken.  

This recipe is a riff on "chicken under a brick" recipe, I have just skipped the brick.  It still comes out great. And I have included the instructions to put orange slices under the breast, but half the time I forget to do it, and the chicken still comes out good.   And most the time, I don't have all three citrus types around, so I will just use two kinds (although one is *always* lemon).

Grilled Citrus Chicken

1 large orange
Juice from 1 lemon
Juice from 1 lime  
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon paprika or ½ teaspoon mild chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

1 whole chicken, preferably 4 pounds, but this works for a typical 5 or 5 ½ lb bird.

Cut 6 thin slices from the orange.  Put into the refrigerator for later.  Make the marinade:  Juice the rest of the orange into a small bowl.  Add the other juices, oil, garlic, herbs and spices and stir. 

Butterfly the chicken:  With the breast side down, grab the chicken tail (aka the Pope’s Nose).  With scissors, cut up the side of the backbone.  It’s easy until you get to the shoulder bone, find the joint to get through.  Repeat on the other side of the backbone.    Now, cut out the breast bone. This is trickier, and not absolutely necessary.  Use a small knife to cut the cartilage at the top of breast bone, then use your fingers to pull out (check out the video to see how this is done).  If you are so inclined, put the backbone, neck, and giblets into a freezer bag and save to make broth at some later date. Remove the big chucks of fat (and if you are a real fanatic, you can render these down to make schmaltz). 

Put the chicken in a gallon zip-loc bag, add the marinade and distribute to cover all around.  Let chill for 2 – 5 hours. 

Start your grill; get to about medium (350 - 400F). Pull the chicken out of the bag, Carefully loosen the skin on the breast and insert an orange slice or two between the breast and skin.  Do the same on the thighs.  When the grill is hot, oil the grill racks (I like to put oil on a paper towel, then using tongs, rub the oily towel on the grill), then put on the chicken on the grill skin side down.  Turn the burners down to low (goal to maintain about a 350F or so, and not catch the bird on fire).  Cook for 15 or 20 minutes, until the skin is nice and brown.  Using a spatula and tongs, carefully flip over.  Cook for another 20 to 35 minutes until done (this is about 155 – 160F in the thickest parts of the bird). Let rest for 10 minutes or so, then carve and eat.

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