We had a barbecue today and I cooked a whole chicken on the barbecue.
I have done this method of barbecuing a whole chicken many times now and each time, the end result has been delicious tender moist chicken full of smokey and chargrilled flavours.
The first part of the process is to spatchcock the chicken. I don’t have a pair of poultry shears so I usually use a big cook’s knife to cut out the backbone. I also don’t use skewers to secure the legs or keep it flat, but you just have to be more careful when turning the chicken when it is on the barbecue.
This time I seasoned and marinaded the chicken with garlic, salt and pepper, herbs, lemon juice, and some olive oil.
Though you can cook a spatchcocked chicken directly on the barbecue, it can be quite challenging to ensure that the chicken is properly cooked, through, without burning or overcooking the outside. Part of the issue is that it is difficult to control the temperature of the barbecue unlike a normal grill. The key process is to recreate some aspects of a “normal” oven as opposed to the usual way of using a barbecue as a grill.
As for the barbecue, the key here is to avoid cooking the chicken over a direct heat. After lighting the charcoal, once the flames have died down, and they are covered in grey ash you can start to cook. However the first thing you need to do is to move the coals to the sides of the barbecue leaving the middle empty, the chicken will be placed over this empty zone. Moving the coals can be tricky as they will be really hot, but the aim is to create a circle of hot coals around a clear area. This will allow the chicken to be cooked via in-direct heat without overcooking or burning.
The chicken is placed down on the grill carcass side down. I then use a wok lid to cover the chicken. This creates an oven effect and helps to stop the chicken drying out. You could of course if you have one use the lid on your barbecue.
Turn the chicken after 15-20 minutes and cook the skin side. Take care when turning the chicken, especially if you like me didn’t use skewers.
Actual timing will depend on the heat of the barbecue and the size of the chicken.
Re-cover with the wok lid and cook for another 15 minutes, ensuring that the chicken doesn’t burn.
Check the chicken is cooked and then remove from the barbecue.
The end result is delicious moist barbecued chicken.
I served mine with salad and bread.