Wednesday, April 11, 2007

how to prep a chicken for the grill

There are no right or wrong ways to prepare food, only methods that produce results you find aesthetically pleasing. This is the baseline way that I prepare chicken for grilling. I rarely cook it without jazzing the seasoning a bit. But not much. I may have spent the bulk of my career working in French restaurants and immersed in the alchemical wizardry of the haute cuisine, but at home I mostly cook to my Italian heritage (All of my ancestors are from Italy). So I'm mostly like "get good stuff and don't screw it up with a lot of fancy knife work and seasoning."

Typically I will put slices of garlic and fresh rosemary leaves under the skin, rub it with a bit of olive oil and shower it with freshly ground pepper. But regardless of whatever ephemeral aromatics I may choose to include, the basic algorithm is always the same: open up the bird so it will lay flat on the grill, salt it to dry out the skin and let the salt permeate the meat so it doesn't dry out, then grill it cut-side-to-the-fire so the skin doesn't burn up.

This is a Coleman "all natural" fryer. I'm not sure why it's so yellow. But I assume it was fed something with yellow carotenoid pigments to give it a color that would make me want to buy it.

Working from the business end of the chicken cut it along the back,

Flip it around and make another cut along the other side of the back from front to back,

Flip it onto the breast and make a cut in the breast bone about 1/3rd the length of the breast. This will assure that the bird lays flat on the grill.
Flip it over again and tuck the wing tips under the cut side,
Sprinkle the body cavity with coarse salt. Next, flip it over and salt the skin.

Let it sit for at least four to eight hours to give the salt time to work it's way into the meat and to dry out the skin. You don't have to refrigerate it unless you are cooking for a heath inspector. But don't be foolish and leave it in a hot place either. I don't like to add any other seasoning until just before I'm going to cook it because I'm not interested in burying the flavor of the chicken .

Here's link to the same photos in Picassa WebAlbums where you can view them as a slide show.

Pax Vobiscum

Bob dG