I'm so glad grilling season is back. I plan on doing a lot of grilling this summer as long as I can dodge the rain drops. Two of my favorite things about grilling - that open-flame flavor and a clean kitchen stove since it doesn't get dirty! A friend of mine gave me a two foot sprig of fresh rosemary from her garden so I had to figure out how to use it. That's how dinners often start. How am I going to use (fill in the blank). Now if it was winter I would make French Chicken in a Pot with Fresh Herbs and 40 Cloves of Garlic. With the outdoor temperature in the high 70's who wants their oven on for over an hour? Instead, I want those flavors from the grill, with moist chicken and crispy skin. I've made this three times within two weeks. It's that good. Plus, I needed to use up that rosemary!
Tuscan Lemon and Rosemary Spatchcock Chicken on a Gas Grill
1 whole chicken, spatchcocked and brined (see below)
2 Tablespoons of rosemary, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced and smashed
zest from 1 lemon, juice from half (reserve other half of lemon)
1 teaspoon of medium grind pepper
1/2 cup each of kosher salt and sugar for the brine
1. Dry the whole chicken with paper towel so it is easier to handle and place the chicken on a cutting board breast side down with the spine facing up. Using kitchen shears cut along each side of the spine to remove.
2. Crack the breast bone about half way through with a knife in order for the chicken to lay flatter. This will help the chicken cook more evenly.
3. Run a wooden skewer through the thighs and lower part of the breast to make the bird more sturdy for the grill. I actually did this after the brining step the first time, but the next go round I did this step before I put the chicken in the brine. Reason? You are soaking the skewer in the brine rather than in another vessel, thus, condensing two steps into one. (See step 7 for placement reference)
4. Dissolve 1/2 cup each of salt and sugar in a large pot of cool water. Use just enough water to make sure the chicken is submerged about 2 to 3 quarts. Let the chicken brine in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
5. In the mean time mince the rosemary and zest of 1 lemon.
6. Mince the garlic then smash the garlic with salt.
7. Place the rosemary, lemon zest, and garlic in a small bowl. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 of lemon and add the pepper.
8. After 1 hour remove the chicken from the brine, place on cutting board and dry with paper towel. Carefully loosen the skin from the chicken with your fingers and insert the herb mixture between the skin and the chicken.
9. Prepare the grill by heating it on high for 15 minutes then clean the grates with a grill brush. Lighly oil the grates with paper towel coated with olive oil. Leave one side of the grill on high and shut the other side of the grill off. Place the chicken skin side up on the cool side of the grill with the legs towards the hot side. Leave the chicken in this position for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the chicken reaches 155 degrees.
10. When the chicken is almost cooked through at 155 degrees flip the chicken skin side down on the hot side of the grill. Also, place the remaining half of lemon cut side down on the hot side of the grill. The chicken is done when it reaches 165 degrees about 5 to 7 minutes. Let chicken rest skin side up under a loose tin foil tent for 5 minutes. Cut chicken in pieces and squeeze lemon over the chicken right before serving.