Thursday, October 8, 2009

Rick Bayless Grilled Roadside Whole Chicken

I had something else planned for dinner tonight, but I realized we'd be eating dinner around the boys' bedtime if I went with it. We have somewhere to go at 3:30, and I'm guessing we won't be home until 5:00-ish. The cooking time on the other whole chicken recipe I was going to make was 65 minutes, and I figured it would be 15-20 prep time. So I needed a new plan. I figured I'd check my friend Jen B's blog for ideas. As I was waiting for her blog to load I thought of this method of grilling chicken, which made me think of this recipe. She made it one time when we went over for dinner, and it was super yummy. Plus you can't go wrong with a Rick Bayless recipe!

Rick Bayless Grilled Roadside Whole Chicken

For the marinade:
1-1/2 tablespoons ground Ancho chile powder
1 tsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican
A big pinch of ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, preferably Mexican
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped or crushed through a garlic press
3 tablespoons vinegar (apple cider vinegar gives a Mexican flavor)
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp salt

1 large (3 lb) chicken (sometimes called a large frying chicken, or a small roasting chicken)
About 1 cup roasted Tomatillo Salsa, for serving

In a small bowl, mix together all the marinade ingredients.
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.

While the grill is heating, 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.

Smear both sides of the chicken with the marinade. 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. Cut the chicken into quarters (or smaller pieces). Transfer a portion to each of four dinner plates and you're ready to serve. Pass the salsa separately.


The only thing I'm missing is orange juice. I can't decide if I'll use something else in its place or maybe stop somewhere real fast on our way home from our friend's house. I'm not entirely sure what we'll have for a side. I was going to make orzo with the other chicken recipe, but I don't think that would work as well with this. I might do skillet roasted potatoes, and I promised the boy we could have peas with dinner tonight. This should be a yummy dinner, and we should be able to eat right on time (assuming I don't lollygag at our friend's house!).

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