I'm not really sure what to call this dinner tonight. I'm using my most favorite chicken marinade, but I'm using a whole chicken splayed out in all her glory on the grill. So, "Chicken on the Grill" it is. I got a late start on dinner because we had my MOMS Club Mother's Day party this afternoon, and I was too busy gabbing with friends and feeding the baby to realize what time it was and that we needed to get our butts home to get this chicken on the grill. At least I got it marinating during naptime this afternoon.
We went to Jen B's for dinner one night last summer, and they grilled a chicken like this. My uncle has grilled chicken like this before, too, and I've wanted to try it for awhile. I'm not sure why I haven't before now. I saw a whole chicken in my freezer last week and thought I might as well try it. I wasn't sure how to season it, but I thought this marinade would be good because it's good on chicken breasts. The recipe below is a combination of the marinade recipe and what to do with the chicken. I'm blatantly copying and pasting the directions from Jen's blog. I hope she doesn't mind.
Chicken on the Grill
1 whole chicken (mine was 4 pounds)
1/2 cup oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 soy sauce
1 or 2 crushed garlic cloves
1 tsp dried ginger
salt and pepper
Remove the giblets (if there are any) from the cavity of the chicken. Flip the chicken onto its breast. Using poultry shears, cut down both sides of the backbone from tail to neck; discard backbone. Or, if you don't have shears, lay the bird on its back, insert a long heavy knife into the body cavity and press down hard with a rocking motion to cut down through both sides of the backbone. Open the bird out onto your work surface, breast side up. Make sure that the legs are turned inward. Using your fist or a mallet, wallop the bird on the breast, hard enough to dislodge the center bones and flatten out the breast. Twist the last joint of the wings up over the breast and then down behind the "shoulders," tucking them in firmly to keep them in place during grilling.
Mix together remaining ingredients. Place chicken in a 9x13 glass pan and pour marinade over the top. Marinate in fridge for a couple hours, turning chicken halfway. Heat one side of a gas grill to medium. If you have a grill with three burners, heat the outer two to medium, leaving the center one off. Or light a charcoal fire and let it burn until the charcoal is covered with white ash and about medium-hot; bank half the coals to one side of the grill, half to the other.
Lay in the center of the grill (it will not be over direct heat). Cook, without turning, basting from time to time with any remaining marinade, until the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced deeply with a fork (an instant-read thermometer should register about 160 degrees when inserted at the thickest part of the thigh), about 45 minutes. If you're cooking over charcoal, you'll want to add more charcoal to the fire after an hour or so - the internal temperature of the grill should stay at about 325 degrees. Remove the chicken to a cutting board. It will lose less juice if you cover it loosely with foil and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
I forgot to add the garlic to my marinade. I can't believe I did that after all the times I've made this. Ugh. Oh well, hopefully it won't make that much difference. I have to say, getting the chicken ready was pretty disgusting. If I hadn't shared it before, I used to have issues eating meat. If it had a bone in it, I couldn't eat it...it reminded me that once upon a time said meat was walking around. I'm slowly getting over it, but cutting out the backbone of the chicken may have made me take a couple steps back. It seemed so inhumane and gross. Jen B. assures me it gets easier to handle and that I'll get over it. We'll see.
Okay, this chicken was tasty. It was so juicy and moist and tender. Jen may be right, and I will get over the grossness of cutting the backbone out of the chicken. This was a really easy way to cook a chicken, too. I just threw it on the grill, checked on it once about halfway through, and that was it. Our grill has four burners, so I turned on the two outside burners and left the two middles ones off. Our grill has a temerature gauge on the top of it, and it stayed between 325 and 350 the whole time. My only complaint was that the marinade didn't really soak into the chicken at all. Next time I might loosen the skin a bit to see if that would help it seep under the skin and get on the meat, since we don't eat the skin (although I did take a few bites because it was super yummy!!). The husband ended up dipping his chicken in barbecue sauce, so I thought next time I might try basting it with barbecue sauce and put some under the skin before putting it on the grill. I'll definitely cook a chicken like this again!