Saturday, May 14, 2011

Lemon-Herb Grilled Chicken

Earth Fare Fryer
 The Earth Fare store in Fairlawn opened this week, and one of their promotions when you sign up for their emails  is a coupon for a free dinner for four which consists of a whole fryer chicken (or a package of veggie burgers) a container of prepared mashed potatoes, and a package of organic baby carrots. 

The package said the chicken was from Springer Mountain Farms, while they aren't local, their farming practices, including an American Humane Society certification, are respectable.

Since many people are now conditioned to purchase boneless, skinless parts, a whole chicken sometimes presents a challenge.  So here is a super simple, delicious way to tackle it.

Breast Side Down, Remove Back Bone with Shears

Remove the bird from the package, fish out the neck and giblets (loose in this bird, not in a packet, so make sure you get them all.  Rinse, inside and out, then pat dry.  Put it breast side down, as shown, and use a pair of sturdy kitchen shears to cut along each side of the back bone (feel around with your fingers, you'll be able to tell where it is).

Backbone Removed

Remove the backbone. Don't throw it away! Put in a freezer bag, then add future backs and you'll have a nice basis for homemade chicken stock. (Trust me, it's easy to make and tastes better than store bought).

Flip, Flatten, Season
Fresh Herbs and Lemon

Flip the bird over and flatten it with your palm.  You have just spatchcocked (otherwise known as butterflied) the bird.  It's more fun to say spatchcocked though. Prepping it this way cuts down on the cooking time. Season generously on both sides with salt and pepper. 

Chop a big handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, and a handful of whatever other herbs you fancy - I used golden greek oregano and thyme from my garden, and a couple of big basil leaves.  Toss in a bowl, squeeze in the lemon juice (you are looking for about a half a cup - so 2-4 lemons depending on how juicy they are), then whisk in a half cup of olive oil. 

Marinade with Herbs, Lemon, Olive Oil

Pour over the chicken in a glass baking dish, and flip the chicken over and back, to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least a couple of hours; all day is fine, flipping it over a few times during the day to make sure both sides soak up the marinade.

Hot Grill

Get your grill screaming hot.  Oil the grates - I use grapeseed oil, a wadded up paper towel,  and long tongs to accomplish this, then put the chicken skin side down and cook for about 15 minutes, before turning over.  Probably about 20 minutes on the other side, but use a digital thermometer to check - the thigh, not touching any bone should register 180 degrees.   Keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn, you can move it to the cooler side of the grill to finish if the temperature doesn't come up in a half an hour so the outside doesn't overcook.

Looking good

My leg and thigh quarters came off on their own when it was done, leaving the breast and wings for carving. 

Dark meat with Roasted Fingerlings and Corn on the Cob
I know it's out of season, but I couldn't resist this nice looking ear of Southern white corn at Earth Fare.  I also roasted some fingerling potatoes tossed with olive oil and salt and pepper at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. 


  1. i need to dust my grill off, this looks tasty.

  2. My husband roasted ours. It was delicious! Juicy and flavorful. We also ate the free mashed potatoes that were included in the coupon. We had a salad with fresh greens we bought from the Farmer's Market on Saturday.

    Yours looks great! My mouth was watering just looking at the pictures!!! :P


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