Friday, June 14, 2013

You've heard of chicken under a brick, right?

Well, how about 1/2 chicken under a grill press?
Chicken under a brick isn't so much a recipe as a technique. You cook a flattened (spatchcocked) chicken in a pan and use a heated, foil-wrapped brick to weight down the chicken.

The heat of the brick helps cook the chicken on the top at the same time it's being cooked on the bottom.

The weight of the brick also keeps the chicken pressed against the pan for faster and more even cooking all the way through.

So I thought, well, gee, why not apply the same sort of technique to chicken on the grill?

I don't happen to have bricks sitting around that I want to wrap in foil. A grill press, made from cast iron and with a handle, makes more sense, anyway. It's heavy enough to weight the chicken down, and having a handle makes handling a lot easier. You try lifting a crazy hot brick.

The handle is for convenience, but isn't heat resistant, so keep that in mind. A potholder, mitt, towel, or tongs are what you need to lift the grill press once it's hot.

The grill press isn't a one trick pony. It can be used when cooking bacon to keep the strips flat, if that's your preference. I'm sure there are other uses. Like keeping a cookbook open. Or ... hmmm. I'm sure I'll think of other things.

As far as cooking chicken, I was thrilled with the results. The skin was crisp, and despite the fact that I overcooked the bird a little bit due to inattention, the chicken was juicy.

You could certainly use this technique with a whole chicken, but I bought a rather large one and I knew that it would be more than enough for the two of us. So I only cooked half.

Half-Chicken Under a Grill Press

1/2 chicken
Olive oil, as needed
Salt and pepper, to taste

Fire up the grill with the grill press over the fire to heat up.

Rub the chicken skin with olive oil ans sprinkle with salt and pepper. I used a seasoned salt and lemon pepper, but whatever you have is fine.

Place the chicken, skin-side up, on the grill and place the grill press on top of the chicken. Close the grill and cook until the chicken is done (use a meat thermometer). If you like, briefly reheat and then re-position the grill press on top of the chicken to get cross-hatched grill marks.

You can cook the chicken over direct heat, or over indirect heat. On direct heat, watch for flareups. How long it will take to cook depends on the size of the chicken and how hot your grill is. My big, fat chicken should have been done in about 45-60 minutes.

Let the chicken rest for about 15 minutes before you cut it apart.
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