Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Twin Grilled Whole Chickens

Exactly like the title says - twin whole chickens, roasted on the grill. Why not? We try to avoid running the oven for long periods of time during the summer, so we're grilling everything. This time, we wanted to make something that would stretch a few nights (and would be inexpensive, as well) so we spotted these twin-packs of ~4.5lb chickens on sale for $.99/pound! SOLD!

We determined right away that we'd try roasting them whole on the grill at the same time, using the outer burners to maintain the 350-degree temp and leaving the middle burner - over which the chickens would sit - turned off. Like most grills, ours has a thermometer that we'd be monitoring closely and adjusting those burners accordingly. Other than that, we'd treat it just like any other roasted chicken.

So.... we brined them overnight in a solution of water, salt, sugar, bay leaves, spices, hot sauce, and soy sauce. About an hour before they were to meet the grill, we took them out and rinsed them down and threw them back in the fridge. Shortly after, we went out to preheat the grill and grabbed a bunch of fresh herbs from the back deck - basil, tarragon, rosemary, lavender, and oregano are all growing happily out there.

Finally ready to go, we melted some butter and pulled the chickens out. Salt and pepper the inside and stuffed a big handful of herbs in each, then tied the legs together. Brushed on some melted butter on the outside and added the final spices - salt and pepper and smoked paprika - to the outer skin.

Grill at about 400, we popped the two chickens on (can't believe we didn't take pics of them on the grill! next time..) and shut that grill up. We could hear the skin popping and crackling as soon as they hit the hot grates! The temperature immediatly dropped to about 360, so we let that go. At about 4.5 lbs each, we'd be looking at 1.5 hours but we'd start checking the temp at 1 hour.

An hour later we opened the cover for the first time and they were happily cooking away! Took the temp and it seemed that we'd be on schedule for that 1.5 hours... sure enough, a half-hour later, all temp readings came back "ready" and the twins came off to sit under some foil for a resting period.

The chicken came out wonderfully... perfectly cooked, not uneven at all, some grilled flavor but not overly smokey, just juicy and flavorful! To accompany our twin birds (we only ate part of one, and have lots leftover!) we made a ratatouille with eggplant, tomatoes, onions, green pepper, tossed with some olive oil, dried thyme and basil, salt and pepper - and roasted that in a 400-degree oven for ~45 minutes. Delicious!


wheresmymind said...

lavender, eh? Interesting choice

Anonymous said...

Why do the legs get tied together?

I've always left mine open, because it seems that the internal temp would rise more quickly and the chicken would cook both faster and without the outer-most meat drying out. But every recipe I come across for roasted chicken says to tie the legs or pin the back end closed.

Could you explain the reason for this? and maybe where my own logic goes wrong?

Thank you

Boston Chef said...

Hey Tom -

We've done it both ways - tied and untied - as you can see at the bottom of this more recent post:

We think the reason behind the legs-tied-together-method is more to keep the legs/thighs from drying out instead of preventing the internal temp from heating up. Certainly, we've usually tied the legs so loosely that it wouldn't affect the ability for the inside to get any less hot!

What we've found is: both ways work and the difference, to us, is negligible. Maybe securing the legs helps keep them moist, but the important part is to monitor that temperature!