16 Jun Herbed Rotisserie Chicken
If you follow me on social media, you’ve seen a lot of photos with flowers, herbs, a fluffy orange tabby and the hashtag #OGBChallenge. The garden continues to bloom, the cat perpetually sheds, but the challenge starts today and lasts only a week. Every day this week, four challengers and I will be posting a barbecue recipe on our respective blogs. Ontario Gas BBQ sent us all different grill gear and specified a key ingredient and a culinary theme. Each week in July, you can vote on your favourite recipes to win a $100 gift card from our sponsor.
I know this seems a bit out of character for me. After all, I am the woman who, in an egregious BBQ safety violation, singed off her lashes, brows and bangs three weeks before walking down the aisle as her best friend’s matron of honour. But the challenge arrived just as we bought a new propane grill — complete with rotisserie feature — and I figured this would be the best way to teach myself how to use it while saving my own skin (more literally than I’d care to admit.) Since I lack a proper gauntlet, I’m throwing down the OveGlove and making rotisserie chicken my first move.
Whole chicken, French-style, using the Sauce Mop.
1. We need a new word: In the past, I lamented the lack of culinary collective nouns. Today, I realize we need a verb. And that verb should be “rotisserate.” Definition: to cook on a rotisserie. Used in a sentence: Honey, fire up the grill ‘cause tonight I’m going to rotisserate a chicken.
2. Rotisserie chicken is dead easy to cook — once you get the shelf off the barbecue and the bird trussed to the rod. I have broken nails and frightened curious squirrels removing the shelf from my grill. It’s stronger than I am, and unless I see good reason to use the grill shelf, it’s not going back. While the grill shelf wins this round, I have devised a method of skewering and tying the bird through trial and error. Forget doing this on the counter. I swear these birds still have life in them and will make a break for freedom all over your floor and shoes. Instead, thread, secure and truss it over the sink. Like this:
As you can see, I have put sauce under one breast thus far. After evenly saucing the bird, I will tie the wings and legs. With the bird suspended over the easy-to-clean sink, it’s a breeze. Is it pretty? Nope. But neither is the alternative.
3. Sometimes you leave the rotisserie on. Sometimes you turn it off: On the left, I’m basting the chicken. Leave the rotisserie motor on. On the right I’m checking the bird’s internal temperature. Turn the rotisserie motor off. Guess how I learned this?
4. The simpler the recipe, the prettier the bird. I have rotisserated three whole chickens in as many weeks. The first was sprinkled inside and out with nothing more than kosher salt. It emerged evenly golden, crisp and juicy. For the second, I stuffed herbs inside the bird and under the skin. It charred in a few spots where a tender herb burned beneath the skin (see photo on right, above). Despite the odd black patch, the meat remained juicy. For chicken three, whose recipe is posted below, the charring was more pronounced and widespread because of the oil in the basting sauce. This only encouraged my husband who gladly removed the charred bits and promptly ate them. The skin was intensely flavourful, even though its beauty was less than conventional. For those who prefer light, golden brown, the meat remained pale beneath the skin. And it was just as juicy as the previous two chickens.
I will definitely rotisserate more chickens — and beef. And lamb. And pork.
Anyone with tips, tricks and suggestions, leave ‘em in the comments.
- 1 lemon
- 1 whole head garlic
- 2 shallots, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup [60 mL] fresh herbs (a mix of any or all -- sage, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, marjoram and a pinch of lavender)
- ¼ cup [60 mL] parsley
- 2 tsp [10 mL] honey
- kosher salt
- ¼ cup [60 mL] olive oil
- 1 6-pound [2.7 kg] whole chicken
- Take shelf out of BBQ and remove the grills. Light rotisserie burner only, setting heat to medium, and close lid.
- Zest and juice the lemon. Reserve the lemon skins. Separate 1 clove from the head of garlic and chop it roughly. Cut the remaining head in half crosswise and set aside. Roughly chop the parsley and tender herbs. Strip the leaves from woody herbs, like rosemary and thyme, and roughly chop.
- In a blender or the small bowl of a food processor, put the lemon zest, lemon juice, lone chopped garlic clove, shallots, herbs, honey, and generous pinch kosher salt. Pulse to chop finely. Add the olive oil and purée to a paste.
- Sprinkle the chicken inside with kosher salt. Place one lemon half in the cavity cut side up, add the split garlic head, a few tablespoons of the sauce, and cap with the second lemon half, cut-side down. This will help secure the garlic.
- Slip your finger between the skin and flesh of the chicken, and loosen the skin from the meat. Spoon some sauce under the skin, pressing it along the breast and onto the thigh with your hand. Use half the sauce under the skin and reserve half the sauce for basting.
- Skewer the chicken with the rotisserie rod and secure to the centre of the rod with the tines. Tie the wings against the body and the legs together. Place the rod into the rotisserie motor and put a drip pan beneath the bird. Balance the weight according to manufacturer instructions. Turn the rotisserie on and baste the bird with the herb sauce. Close BBQ lid.
- Cook, basting every 30 minutes, until the bird is cooked, about 20 minutes per pound or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads at least 185°F [85°C]. When the chicken is done remove the chicken from the grill. Remove the tines and rod, and let rest 10 to 15 minutes. Carve and serve.
- Note: The sauce collected in the pan is delicious. If you can, strain off the grease, then use it as a dip or gravy.