Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Last week I picked up a whole chicken at Whole Foods. Initially I planned on just roasting it, but I became more and more interested in the possibility of somehow grilling it. I turned to the wonders of social media and asked about the possibility of grilling a whole bird on Facebook. A few key responses were given, most of which involved the word 'spatchcock,' though one late reply discussed the beer in chicken method (my secondary question was whether I could grill a chicken with a can of Cheerwine inside of it). Spatchcock is a delightful word, and basically means 'cutting the backbone out of a chicken so you can grill it flat.' Or that's how I define it. My first task, after lighting the grill, was the actual spatchcocking. Thank goodness my roommate has good knives or that would have been a far messier and grizzlier process. As it was, it took about two minutes. Was it professional or perfect? No. Was it completely a mess? No. I deemed it a success. Because I was so impatient and we didn't have a lot of available space in the fridge, I opted not to brine the bird and simply dried it and then gave it a light sprinkle of salt and pepper.
I also grilled corn. One ear of which I ate that night with a little mayo, salt and lime juice ... the other three I turned into a great salad.
So the grilling went pretty well. One commenter had suggested that I could combine my spatchcocking with the Cheerwine through making a glaze kind of thing. He mentioned sherry vinegar, butter and the Cheerwine. I slapdashed something that vaguely fit that mark (red wine vinegar instead of sherry) and whenever I turned the bird, brushed on a fresh coat of the stuff.
I always take my chicken out of the oven too soon, and this grilling occasion didn't change that record. This was the first time I took it off. The breast meat was done but the dark meat - not so much. Another five or so minutes over more direct heat did the trick, though patience from the start and non-direct heat would also have worked. This is a method I hope to use again in the future. It's really easy, gives you lunch/dinner pickins for days and gives you an excuse to yell spatchcock in crowded movie theaters and at weddings.
I would, however, brine the bird next time.

1 comment:

nc catherine said...

I like having a new word: Spatchcock!!

A whole bird does nicely in the indirect lid-on method, and doesn't need brining (altho brining if an option is always a terrific choice). I love the indirect...Now onto the can of beer, I think that involves sitting the bird upright on top of an open can of beverage. As the beverage gets hot it steams the innards. I have yet to try this but in theory it sounds great!