Earlier this week, we read an interesting article by a food scientist who was debunking that American icon: Beer-Butt grilled chicken.
Now we're fans of that particular kind of weirdness and even have one of those little stands to make it easier, but the article made some compelling points about how the steam doesn't really help the chicken and the uneven thermal mass actually drys out the chicken and makes it cook unevenly. The better way, they said, was to spatchcock the chicken and grill it without flipping it. So, in the name of science (and awesome chicken), we gave it a try.
And yup. Better. Much. Better.
So here's how:
Get yourself a whole chicken and rinse and pat it dry. Grab some good kitchen shears and turn the chicken over and snip along both sides of the backbone, cutting the bone free. Chuck or freeze the bone (if you save that sort of thing for stock). Turn the chicken over, spread it out and then place your palms on the breast and "lean in". You want you put enough pressure on it so you break the breast bone. Now your chicken is pretty flat.
We season the skin with salt, pepper and some lemon pepper seasoning. We also melt a few tablespoons of butter for basting. Don't forget to fold under the wings.
Heat your grill, and get it ready for indirect heat. Put the chicken on the grill, breast side up (with the breast pointing towards the heat). Baste the skin with butter, cover the grill and let it cook. We shoot for a grill temperature of 425-450 and cook until the breast hits about 155 degrees (it'll hit 160 when resting). Baste with butter a few times. No need to flip it or move it.
It'll take about 40 minutes and wow... is it amazing! Moist with crispy skin and an awesome flavor. I think we're sold. Give it a try! If you have a hard time giving up the beer, just chug down an ice-cold can and call it good.