Every cook has their signature recipe. It’s usually something fairly easy and packs a certain wow factor in for guests. It must be something that has a few mystery ingredients and provides an easy presentation. It’s not always necessarily something that can be whipped up in a hurry but it does need to be straightforward so that you aren’t digging for recipes.
For me, it’s whole roasted chicken on my Weber charcoal grill. Over the years I’ve developed different techniques for roasting it and it’s always delicious no matter what you do to it. But what I’m going to share with you today is decadent.
What you will need:
- A whole chicken, feathers off.
- A lemon, quartered.
- A lime, also quartered.
- A chunk of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped into one inch pieces
- One sprig of rosemary.
- Four tablespoons of peanut butter, creamy.
- Two tablespoons of soy sauce.
- One-half a tablespoon of molasses.
- One green onion, finely chopped.
- One tablespoon of duck fat, if available.
Where to get it:
Local organic chicken is available on occasion from Indigo Farms Seafood. You can also find it at the Blacksburg Farmers Market and Oasis on South Main Street. Be sure to contact them before you plan to cook to make sure it’s in stock! They are dependent on the local farms and so don’t always have it. You can get everything else from Oasis, including duck fat when is in stock. The duck fat isn’t pertinent to the recipe but adds a bit of subtle decadence.
What to do:
- Wash your bird in cool water and pat dry. Place it on the counter at room temperature and for about a half hour before grilling. This helps with even cooking – a cold bird on a hot grill will burn on the outside and remain raw in the center. If you are panicky over food safety, don’t worry. I’ve been doing this for years.
- Start your charcoal in a chimney starter. If you don’t have one, go get one. Do not use match light charcoal or starter fluid. The charcoal will not last long enough to cook the bird thoroughly and no one likes raw chicken. Except for Stubbs. But he’s a cat.
- In the meantime, mix the last four ingredients (excluding the duck fat) in a small bowl until smooth. Stuff the cavity of the bird with the ginger, lemon, rosemary and lime.
- Using your fingers, gently loosen the skin on the breast of the chicken, separating it from the underlying meat to form a pocket down the entire breast.
- Stuff about half of your peanut butter mixture under the skin, massaging it around for even coverage. Rub the rest of it all over the bird.
- Placed your chicken in a cast iron skillet – it will just fit in a w10-inch skillet.
- After the charcoal is glowing white, dump the coals from the chimney onto one side of the grill. It’s best to wear a glove and shoes during this process. Do as I say, not as I do.
- Place your chicken-in-a-skillet on the “cold” side of the grill, cover and walk away.
- After about 45 minutes, rotate the skillet to help with even cooking. Don’t worry; the cast iron is doing most of this for you.
- After an hour, baste the chicken in the duck fat and check its temperature with a meat thermometer. At this point it should be right around 140 degrees.
- After an hour and a half, your thermometer should read 165 degrees at the thigh. Remove from the grill and allow it to rest for about 15 minutes.
- Carve, plate, serve and enjoy!
We enjoy a grilled salad with baby bok choy and green Vidalia onions as a side for this dish. The benefit to placing the chicken in the cast iron is to avoid hot spots within the grill and help prevent flame-ups. The skillet also keeps the juices in contact with the bird while cooking and helps keep it from drying out. I hope you enjoy and happy grilling!