Cook’s Illustrated is one of the best magazines for cooking. They include the scientific aspect that many chefs gloss over. Recipe Testing is basic science. There are hypothesis’ and variables and constants. Not only do they test the mess out of their recipes, they explain in full detail why they change the variables they change and what the results are.
But like any other chef/home cook you will even personalize their recipes to fit you and your taste buds. I can probably count on 1 hand the number of recipes I found where I ALWAYS follow it word for word with no changes or substitutions.
THIS IS ONE OF THEM.
This recipe incorporates three of my favorite flavors (garlic, lemon and thyme), my second favorite way to cook (grilling) and crispy chicken skin!
And check out our video of how I make this amazing recipe.
Italian Grilled Chicken
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 8 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 1 teaspoon grated zest plus 2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 3 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 3 3/4- to 4 1/4-pound whole chicken
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- Vegetable oil for cooking grate
- In a small saucepan, combine the oil, garlic, lemon zest and pepper flakes.
- Simmer and stir frequently over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes.
- As soon as it reaches a simmer, add 3 teaspoons thyme and 2 teaspoons rosemary.
- Cook for 30 seconds more.
- Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl, making sure to push the solids with a spatula to remove all the oil.
- Transfer the solids to another bowl and set both aside.
- Spatchcock or Butterfly the chicken and flatten the breastbone.
- Loosen the skin on the breast and thighs, being sure to remove any fat.
- Mix together 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
- Mix 3 teaspoons of that salt mixture with the cooled garlic mixture.
- Spread the salt and garlic mixture under the skin that you loosened earlier.
- Sprinkle the rest of the salt mixture on the underside of the chicken.
- Put a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet and the chicken on the rack.
- Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
- Light 4 1/2 quarts briquettes on one side of a grill, leaving the other side empty.
- When the grill is medium-hot, scrape the grates clean.
- Put the chicken skin side down over the side without the coals and lay the bricks over the chicken’s breasts.
- Cover the grill and cook for 22-25 minutes, until the skin is lightly brown and there are faint grill marks.
- Take the bricks off the chicken.
- Carefully flip the chicken over on to the side with the coals using tongs or a towel.
- Place the bricks back over the chicken.
- Cover the grill and cook for an additional 12-15 minutes, until the chicken is well browned.
- Remove the bricks.
- Flip the chicken over again, so the skin side is down, on the hot side of the grill.
- Cook until the chicken skin is nice and crisp and an instant read thermometer registers 165, an additional 5-10 minutes.
- Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk the lemon juice and remaining thyme and rosemary into the reserved oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve the chicken with the sauce separately.
- You can grab two bricks from any home improvement store for a couple of bucks but if you don't have any or can't get them use a very heavy pan (like cast iron). You need a good deal of weight to weigh down the chicken.
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Summer Grilling 2011
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Summer Grilling 2011
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You say tomato…
Every year my now 88 year old grandfather grows tons of his favorite vegetables (and fruits) in his garden in Philadelphia. You can always find a tomato, tons of lima beans, string beans, cabbage or collards. He was raised on a farm in North Carolina during the 1930s & 1940s a time when many families had to grow their own food to survive.
Today the farm to table movement is booming with a whole new generation leading the charge.
Tomatoes have long been considered as a beginner gardeners friend, especially grape and cherry tomatoes. In fact, when I was in the 3rd grade one of our projects was to grow cherry tomatoes (luckily, my grandfather was able to revive my almost dead plant before it was due). And even though my gardening skills leave much to be desired, there are numerous farmers around the country with tons of tomatoes this time of year.
And such a versatile fruit that is treated like a vegetable deserves a box.
Eating them raw in salads and gazpacho or roasted in a hot soup or tomato sauce, tomatoes are great for large dishes that you can freeze or can.
All the recipes this month may call for a specific type of tomatoes but feel free to swap out your favorites or what is abundant at the markets. Maybe even branch out and try the many heirloom varieties easily found these days.
It’s HOT out there!
The month of July is a great one in America. There’s an abundance of red, white, and blue spirit, baseball, and laid back Saturdays at the park along with grilling burgers and hot dogs with your family.
While growing up in Philly, we had a lot of block parties. Kids would play in the fire hydrants (local Fire Department approved) and Independence Day would mean sparklers, late nights, and fireworks.
July was amazing!
And in my family, July was filled with TONS of seafood, so much that I started a fish market about a decade ago. It’s the perfect summer meal option. It’s healthy and you can cook a lot at one time, invite family and friends over, turn the radio up loud, and a party will ensue.
And there are so many wonderful family owned small businesses making great seafood seasonings. One of our favorites is JO Spice. If you’ve ever had steamed blue crabs at a restaurant in the Maryland area more than likely they use JO Spice.
Great shellfish is messy and social. So this month, we’re encouraging you to lay out the newspapers, roll up your sleeves, and chow down on some amazing local seafood. #unlockhomemade.
Food Road Trips
America’s favorite past time isn’t baseball. I totally believe it’s food road trips. After the surge in shows like Diners, Drive-ins & Dives, Southern Food Road Trip and Man Vs Food, people everywhere are hopping in the car and driving miles out of their way just to try the “best fried chicken in the country” or the “juiciest brisket this side of the Mississippi” or whatever.
And I am a proud food road tripper! When my husband took a job in Texas and we had to move him from Connecticut, we could have flown and had our stuff shipped. But then how would we get a chance to try the fried chicken at Gus’s World Famous Friday Chicken in Tennessee or compare it to Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken 20 minutes away? So we opted to drive 28 hours and stop in Tennessee cause honestly we didn’t know another time when we’d get the chance (or want to).
And when it was time for me to move from Connecticut to Texas I spent the last 3 months in Connecticut taking mini food road trips to try and hit as many of the “50 best dishes to try before you die in Connecticut” as I could. I also snuck in a quick road trip to Newport, Rhode Island which has some amazing food as well.
While I didn’t get a chance to eat all 50 dishes. I did spend some memorable weekends with friends trying new places and tasting new dishes. I had the best pasta of my life, incredible lamb sausage and jalapeño bacon and way too many Connecticut style lobster rolls to count!
That was 6 years ago and today I’m going to recreate a small part of that with my daughter.
We’re flying into my hometown of Philadelphia there we’ll eat cheesesteaks, have real soft pretzels that don’t cost $3 each and overindulge on water ice our all time summer favorite.
And after spending a few days with my grandfather we’re renting a car and heading north. We’ll end in Rhode Island and turn back around. Stopping in Beacon NY, New York City, Boston Massachusetts, New Haven, Guilford, & Bridgeport Connecticut and Rhode Island, Although my daughter is only 4 and won’t fully appreciate all the food we COULD have on this trip she is serious about her favorite foods. So I’ll taylor the trip more around her tastebuds than mine (this time).
But I figure if I get her started early she will learn to love the all-american food road trip as much as me and her dad. Because I already have our next one planned in my mind.