I decided to participate,officially this time, in part 6 of the 'Is my blog burning' by whipping up my Spatchcocked Buttermilk Chicken with Spice rub. I didn't find out about the competition until Friday night and it was just serendipity that we were going to grill a chicken on Saturday anyway. This dish really could benefit from sitting in the marinade for at least 24 hours, but since I was running a bit behind it only sat about 8 hours in the buttermilk marinade. It still made for a juicy and tasty chicken. It figures that as soon as I finally found a spit attachment for my Weber kettle grill I started cooking spatchcocked or butterflied chickens instead. Why? Well, they only take 30 - 40 minutes tops to cook versus 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours for a whole chicken on the spit or the old stand by chicken with a beer can up it's bum. The disadvantage here is that you really need to get all of the flavours into your chicken at the start because you can't stuff the cavity with any aromatics.
I have found that there are two ways to make a chicken juicy and tender. Either soak it a brine solution or marinade it in Buttermilk. I'm guessing that the lactic acid has something to with the tenderizing part, but really you'll have to call Alton for the answer on that one.
Okay, here we go.
The Marinade: Preferably 24 hours before but at least 8 hours before.
2 ziplocs or sealable plastic bags
1 and 1/2 cups of Lowfat or Nonfat Buttermilk
1/2 cup of Extra virgin Olive Oil (or a mix of extra virgin and regular)
3 TBS. Hot sauce, I prefer Frank's Red Hot it imparts a slight Buffalo Wing tang to it.
2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1 Onion sliced pole to pole
4 - 5 cloves of garlic smashed and peeled, lightly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pour all ingredients into the ziplocs (one inserted inside the other to create a double thickness in case the first one leaks).
Insert your spathcocked/butterflied chicken. What is spathcocked you ask? We looked up the definition in various sources and found that no one really knows the source of the term. The Naked Whiz seems to cover most of the ones we found as well as provide sound bites to hear the correct pronunciation. It is a simple thing to do if you have either a good set of kitchen shears or a very sharp knife. Really all you are doing is slicing down the backbone and removing the whole structure so that you can flip the bird open allowing it to lie flat on the grill. We happen to frequent shops that have a butcher on hand so I just ask him to do it. It sometimes elicits giggles from surrounding customers when I ask him to spatchcock it. Although my requests for duck boobs gets a better giggle and sometimes a blush from the butcher.
Zip up the first zip lock, trying to remove as much air as possible as you go. Then zip up the second doing the same. Squish everything around being careful that the breast bones don't pucnture the bag.
place in the fridge. Go out and enjoy the day.
The next step in this is the compound butter which I use to rub under the skin.
For this I use one stick of unsalted butter and I mix in my Spice Rub.
I use unsalted butter because the rub has enough salt in it. The quantity of spice rub that you use depends on how spicy you like things. You could also add a bit of brown sugar if you wanted a spicy/sweet taste.
About 30 minutes before the chicken needs to start cooking we start the coals in a chimney, you could also use a gas grill for this. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on a sheet pan.
I tend to drain the onions and garlic from the marinade and cook them well until they get brown and caramalized. As long as they are cooked at a high enough heat they are quite safe to eat and incredibly yummy as well.
I rub the compund butter under the skin, sprinkle more of the spice rub on the skin and I use a few skewers to hold down the wings and legs this makes the chicken easirer to flip on the grill.
When the coals are ready I spread a fairly even fire and put on the chicken and set the timer for 20 minutes. Put on the lid with all holes open.
Set up lawnchair, mango margarita and read the latest Bon Appetit.
After 20 minutes, flip the chicken. Set timer for an additional 15 minutes. It all depends on how hot your fire is and how you like your dark meat cooked. Follow standard rules for the temperature for cooked poultry using a probe thermometer or a quick read one.
When the chicken is ready let it reast for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting.
We served with boiled corn from the farmer's market and my most secret cole slaw recipe. Maybe later.....