Saturday, August 3, 2013

Balsamic-Basted Lemon Chicken on the Grill

Recently we got a brand new sexy charcoal grill with cast iron grates. It's been inspiring me to dream up dishes and actually cook them with more and more frequency. Often the results of my new grill enthusiasm are snapped up too fast for decent photos to be taken and this incredibly moist chicken with crackling-crisp skin would have gone the same way had I not finally had an epiphany: shoot the frikkin' food on the frikkin' grill! No one can eat it if it isn't fully cooked! That won't work with everything, but this chicken looked quite tasty well before my thermometer told me it had reached the right internal temp. The taste of balsamic and cayenne was really only present on the skin and I might consider pouring the vinegar on in time to actually allow it to marinate next time. I tried parsley stuffed up into the top of the cavity and I don't think it lent anything, aside from perhaps a bit of extra moisture. The lemon I pierced and placed into the cavity was a whole other story, adding definite moisture as well as an unmistakeable tart citrus flavor. Since it was a huge chicken we ended up with leftovers, which made a perfect sloppy-joe's style sandwich after I shredded it and simmered it in some tangy barbeque sauce. I roasted the chicken whole on my charcoal grill using a beer-can-chicken frame (I stuffed the lemon and parsley inside the well of the frame and placed the chicken over it--you can sort of see what I mean in the pic). If you don't have a beer-can-chicken frame I'd suggest roasting this chicken in the oven. You probably won't get such crispy skin but I don't know how easy it is to get a cheap one (ours was bought at a chef's store in an outlet mall and it was the on sale item of the day; since we were on a new grill high we said yes pretty easily). I served this chicken alongside chilled tortellini with homemade pesto and balsamic glazed grilled squash.

Balsamic-Basted Lemon Chicken on the Grill

1 lemon

1 whole chicken, washed and patted dry (size will determine cooking time)

1 tsp olive oil

1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tsp Cayenne powder

Salt, to taste

Fresh Ground pepper, to taste

4 sprigs flat parsley or 3 sprigs curly parsley (optional and I recommend flat or italian parsley, as it seems to me to have much more flavor)

1. Wash lemon with gentle soap and pat dry. Whap onto clean counter top and roll backwards and forwards a couple of times, pushing it downward with your palm (to help loosen the juices inside). With a fork pierce a line of holes down the side of the lemon. Repeat four even times across the lemon (every quarter of the fruit score another line).
2. Place the stand in a large bowl and the lemon in the well of the stand, toward the bottom; place the parsley above in the well. Cover with the chicken and douse with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and rub well all over skin.
3. Put stand with chicken onto grill and cook with the lid closed over medium hot coals for approximately 15 minutes per pound of chicken, or until meat thermometer reads 180 when stuck into the breast. Baste with liquid from the bottom of the prep bowl every 10 or so minutes, being sure to moisten the darkest/driest parts.
4. Serve alongside veggies, salad or pasta and enjoy.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and I welcome your feedback!