Tuscan-Style Chicken Under a Brick
Serves 4 to 6
The first time you try this classic Italian recipe—where a whole chicken is butterflied and then marinated and grilled with the weight of a very hot foil-covered brick pressing down on the skin—you might just think it’s the best chicken you’ve ever eaten. The skin gets crispy, the meat stays juicy and flavorful, and the overall effect is something like, “Why can’t all chicken taste like this?”
Give the chicken a few hours to marinate in the herbs and garlic and oil. The actual grilling time is less than an hour. Serve with an orzo salad; a tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad; and a crusty Italian ciabatta.
You Will Need
Place the butteflied chicken in a nonreactive pan or bowl and sprinkle with the oil, thyme, rosemary, garlic, salt, zest, pepper, and a generous sprinkling of paprika. Flip the chicken over and make sure it’s coated well with the marinade on both sides. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. Bring the chicken to room temperature before grilling.
Preheat the grill for high indirect heat, about 425 degrees F.
Cover 2 clean bricks with aluminum foil and place them over the heat. (If you don’t have access to bricks use a heavy, ovenproof skillet.) Let the bricks warm up for about 3 minutes, or until very hot.
Remove the chicken from the pan and let the excess oil drip off. You can also blot it dry with a paper towel on both sides. Place the chicken, spread flat and skin-side up, on the hottest part of the grill. Cook for 2 minutes. Using a spatula or tongs, gently flip the chicken over and grill skin-side down for 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken, skin-side down, to the part of the grill that has the lower heat, and place the hot bricks on top of the chicken. Cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and the juices run yellow and not pink when tested with a small, sharp knife. Remove from the grill and serve with the lemon wedges and sprigs of thyme and rosemary.
Butterflying a chicken is much like butterflying a leg of lamb, where the center bone is removed creating two sides to the meat that open up and resemble a butterfly. In this case you needn to ask the butcher to remove the backbone and breastbone (or try it yourself) so the chicken can be spread out flat on the grill, ensuring even cooking.