Friday, February 17, 2012

The Best Grilled Chicken He's Ever Had (and I made it!)

We bought a new grill. Not just any grill – a Bayou Classic Cypress grill. Maybe it is my Michigan sensibilities, but the name of this makes me picture a man in denim overalls and a red trucker hat, grilling road kill as he takes in a view dank and heavy with Spanish moss. Recently it has been me in black dress and sweater, barefoot, grilling chicken as I gaze out over the rooftops of the office park next door. My high heels shoes are inside, resting haphazardly where I kicked them off under the dining room table on my way out the door with the 20 lb bag of charcoal (not just ANY charcoal – cowboy charcoal).

My friend Jennifer commented that if lightening struck our grill tomorrow, we'd still have gotten our money's worth.  In the one month we have had it, we have grilled two steaks, five chickens, one pizza, a bunch of asparagus, two racks of ribs and countless marshmallows. I even went so far as to make my own marshmallows. (I later saw in a magazine that homemade marshmallows are a rising food trend for 2012. Who knew I was trendy?). I’ve had to make the chicken five times because not only is it easy, delicious, and quick; but I’ve been determined take it from “the best chicken we’ve ever had” to “the best chicken anyone has ever had.” I obsess.

Follow the jump to read more!

On our first date, Matt ordered barbeque chicken with a side of fettuccini alfredo. It is an unusual combination that crosses continents, but it reminds me of a brighter, American version of chicken paprikash with spaetzle. Since then, I’ve made it for him several times, and this last time he told me it was the best he’d ever eaten. When Matt tells me that my version of his favorite dish is better than any other, it is like all my birthdays are occurring on Christmas day in Hawaii. It makes me that happy.

For this recipe, I recommend using a thin barbeque sauce with decent sugar content. You want it to caramelize on the crispy skin of the chicken. We’ve enjoyed success with this version.

1. Remove giblets from whole chicken.  Rinse bird in cold water and pat dry. Season generously with kosher salt and pepper.

2. Butterfly the chicken. If you aren’t comfortable butterflying the chicken, most grocery store butchers will do it for you. However, I highly recommend you butterfly it yourself. Nothing makes me feel more like a kitchen ninja than going at the backbone of a chicken with my big kitchen shears.

3. Prepare brine from olive oil and lemon juice and place in baking dish. Coat the chicken in the brine, then cover and marinate for 2-8 hrs. This is crucial. I skipped this step once because we were tired and hungry. We ate sooner, but our food looked like a burn victim.

4. Heat grill to 450. (Note: I did have one bad night where it wouldn’t get higher than 350. It worked to cook it longer, but it wasn’t the magic we had come to expect from our grilled chickens).

5. Put chicken on grill breast side down and cook just until the skin is crispy (about 15 minutes).

6. Turn and cook on back until chicken is just cooked through (20-30 minutes).

7. For ten minutes, baste with barbeque sauce every two minutes or so (or arm husband with bowl of barbeque sauce and a brush to do it while you drain the pasta and finish the alfredo sauce).

8. Place in a baking dish and cover until ready to serve. I do this with my Dutch oven, but you can also do it by covering it with aluminum foil.

The result is a chicken that is crispy but not dried out, smoky, sweet and spicy. My friend in the overalls cooking by the swamp would be proud!

P.S.  My father-in-law (in addition to decorating our house) taught me how to carve a chicken.  I read a cookbook that says, "if you don't know how to carve a chicken, don't worry; it takes time."  Time does not teach you how to carve a chicken.  I say, if you don't know how to carve a chicken, find someone who does, invite them over, cook THIS chicken, and ask them to show just exactly where that joint is on the leg that allows you to cut perfect drumsticks!

Easy Grilled BBQ Chicken


1 3lb whole chicken

½ cup of olive oil

1/8 cup of lemon juice

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Barbeque sauce – buy a quality sauce or make your own!


Season chicken with salt and pepper. Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice in a large baking dish. Add the chicken and turn to coat in oil mixture. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours. Preaheat the grill to medium (400-450). Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on the grill skin side down. Close grill and cook until the skin becomes crispy (15 minutes). Turn chicken over and continue grilling in closed grill until chicken is just cooked through (20-30 minutes). Baste chicken every two minutes for ten minutes. Remove chicken from grill and cover until ready to serve.


  1. You're making me hungry! Sounds delicious! My favorite sentence: "it is like all my birthdays are occurring on Christmas day in Hawaii." :)

    1. Thank you, Addy! I do love cooking for Matt. :)

  2. Umm, so when are you having us over? You can't tease with something like this, and then NOT follow it up with an invitation. =)

    1. Let's set a date! But first, gelato. :)

    2. This deal just keeps getting better and better!

  3. Aw, this looks so good, Liz! And makes me miss you. I liked that part about birthday's in Hawaii... Glad you got to have one!

    1. Me too, Cherie. And I'm especially glad it was with you. I miss you!


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