Grilled brick chicken makes for a speedy way to barbecue a whole chicken with very juicy and flavorful results! Grilling or roasting a chicken under a brick originated in Tuscany and Eastern Europe. Weighing down the chicken helps traps the moisture and ensure even cooking. Preparing the chicken for brick grilling uses a technique called spatchcocking (also known as “spattlecocking”). Using this technique, you cut out the back bone of the chicken so it can be flattened out for even cooking.
In this recipe, I will take you through the step by step photo tutorial on how to spatchcock a chicken. You too can become a professional spatchcocker! The benefits of spatchcocking allows you to cook a whole chicken in half the normal cooking time, the skin is crispier while the meat is nice and juicy! It is also much easier to rub the oil and spices all over the chicken.
Since an oil rub is going to be used on the chicken, I will walk you through an indirect cooking method on the grill. If you want to cook directly on grill grates, then you would need to use a dry rub with no oil or butter. Since I did not have a brick handy, I used a cast iron pan on top of the chicken to keep it flattened while cooking. You could also use a large heavy rock wrapped in foil. As long as the chicken is weighted down. It was difficult to not tear some of the skin once the chicken was done cooking, so you will see I strategically placed my knife over the torn skin in the finished picture. Ah well! Can’t be perfect all the time and the chicken was still delicious!
Smoked Rosemary Garlic Rub mixture (see recipe below) 1 (3 1/2 to 4 pounds) whole chicken 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 1 whole lemon, cut in half 3 to 4 cups of small red potatoes, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks 1 teaspoon coarse salt or sea salt 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 1 teaspoon garlic powder Barbecue Sauce (see recipe below)*
* Can substitute your favorite barbecue sauce, if desired.
Preheat grill to a medium heat (about 300 to 350 degrees F.) for indirect cooking (just heat one side of grill). Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking oil.
Prepare the Smoked Rosemary Garlic Rub mixture; set aside until ready to use.
Preparing and Spatchcocking the Chicken: Cut off all the fat from the body and neck openings as you want the cavity free and clear; remove the giblets and discard. Rinse out the chicken and pat dry.
Follow the steps below to spatchcock the chicken:
Step 1: Place Chicken breast side down on cutting surface.
Step 2: Starting at thigh end of chicken, use kitchen shears to cut all the way up the back bone.
Step 3: Rotate chicken around and cut along other site of backbone.
Step 4: Remove backbone and discard (or save to make chicken broth)
Step 5: Flip chicken on the other side with breast side facing up and wings on top. Push firmly down on breast bone with your hand until you hear the ribs crack.
Step 6: Trim off the tips of the chicken wings and discard.
Coat the spatchcocked chicken with the prepared Smoked Rosemary Garlic Rub mixture all over, including inside the cavity. Lay the chicken flat on the prepared baking sheet with breast side up (thighs should appear to be pointing in). Squeeze lemon juice over the top of the chicken.
Preparing the Potatoes: Place potatoes in re-sealable plastic bag and pour in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, smoked paprika, and garlic powder. Seal the bag and shake the potatoes with oil and seasonings until evening coated. Set aside until ready to use.
Grilling the Chicken: Preheat the grill. Place the baking sheet with the chicken and potatoes on the grill. Try to slide baking sheet so the chicken is sitting above the side of the grill where there are no direct flames underneath. Place the covered brick or cast iron pan on top of the chicken so it keeps it flattened out while cooking. This will also help the chicken cook evenly. Close the grill lid and open any vents.
Warning- Do not directly place chicken on grill grates or the chicken will catch fire from the oil drippings! If you want to cook directly on grill grates, then you would need to use a dry rub with no oil or butter. Since I did not have a brick handy I used a cast iron pan on top of the chicken to keep it flattened while cooking. You could also use a large heavy rock wrapped in foil. As long as the chicken is weighted down.
Depending on the size of the chicken, total cooking time could take from 60 to 90 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. (juices will run clear when cut with the tip of a knife).
This is the type of cooking and meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the right. To learn more about this excellent thermometer and to also purchase one (if you desire), just click on the underlined: Thermapen Thermometer.
After 20 minutes of grilling, open the grill lid and baste the chicken with Prepared Barbecue Sauce. Close the lid and let grill for another 10 minutes. Open the grill lid and carefully remove the brick. Flip over the chicken on the other side with breast side down. Baste the side facing up with barbecue sauce.
Open the bag of potatoes and arrange around the chicken on the baking sheet. Place the brick back on top of chicken and close the grill. Continue cooking the chicken for another 30 to 40 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F.
While the chicken is cooking on the grill, start preparing the barbecue sauce.
Watch the potatoes toward the end of the cooking time and flip to help them crisp up evenly. Potatoes are done when golden and crispy and interior is soft. Remove potatoes from heat if they are done before the chicken, cover with foil to keep warm until ready to serve.
Once the chicken is removed from the heat, flip it back to breast side up and coat with a finishing baste of barbecue sauce and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before carving to serve.
Makes 3 to 4 servings.
Smoked Rosemary Garlic Rub Mixture:
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped 1 teaspoon coarse salt 1 teaspoon red peppercorns 2 teaspoons smoked paprika 2 to 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
In a small bowl mix together rosemary, salt, peppercorns, smoked paprika and garlic. Slowly add in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil or enough until it forms a thick paste.
1/2 cup ketchup 1/4 onion, diced 2 cloves of garlic, minced 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 2 tablespoons brown sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper flakes (optional)
While chicken is cooking on the grill, prepare the barbecue sauce. This makes about 1 cup of sauce. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add ketchup, onion, garlic, cider vinegar, brown sugar, salt, pepper and cayenne. Stir together until ingredients are combined. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes.
Taste the sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Add a teaspoon at a time of brown sugar if you want a sweeter sauce.
Store any unused barbecue sauce in airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.