Thursday, June 23, 2011

How to : Butterfly and Grill a Whole Chicken (not for the faint of heart)

Grilling a whole chicken is a fun alternative to oven roasting.  Here I will show you step-by-step how to butterfly the chicken and grill it to crispy and moist perfection.  Warning: the following pictures are of me butchering a whole chicken...if that grosses you out, skip this post :)

1.)  After rinsing the chicken under cool water, pat it dry, lay it breast-side down, and - with a very sharp knife or good kitchen shears (shears would really be the best) - hold on to the neck and start cutting down one side of the backbone.

 2.) Cut down the other side of the backbone (yes, you will be cutting through little rib bones).  When you get close to the tail end, it will require a little more muscle.  Cut out the whole backbone.

 3.)  Lay the backbone aside and pull that chicken open.

3.)  Now you will remove the keel bone, or breast bone.  It is the long white bone (more like cartilage) running straight down the middle.  Make a small slice in the top of the bone, and run your knife down the sides to loosen it up.

4.) Run your fingers down the sides to wiggle it loose, and pull away.  It may take a little digging, but you should be able to pry it up without too much trouble (careful- it can break!)

5.) Here is the butterflied chicken with backbone and keel bone removed.

6.)  Time to season the pretty little chicken: I made a rub out of a few cloves of crushed garlic, cracked pepper, salt, lemon zest, and dried oregano.  Use whatever you like.

7.)  The rub goes under the skin to flavor the meat itself.  You should be able to easily pull the skin away from the breast meat and slide your hand inside to get the rub in there!  Access the thigh and leg meat from the outside, where my ring finger is in this picture (yeah...gross...I should have taken them off first).

8.)  Season the outside of your new friend with salt, pepper, olive oil, and a little more lemon zest if you like.


9.)  Set your grill on medium heat, and lay birdie skin-side down.  Now sprinkle the under-side with more salt and pepper.  Close her up, and cook for 15-20 minutes (watch for big flame-ups) or until she is nice and dark brown and crispy.

10.)  Flip!  Cook on the other side for another 15 minutes or so, until the thickest piece of meat reads 160 on a meat thermometer, or all juices run clear.

 11.)  Remove your beautiful grilled chicken to a carving board, and let it rest for about 10 minutes before carving.  This will keep a lot of the juices from running out.  Since you have de-boned it, the thighs and legs should pull away from the body easily, and the breasts and wings will come off together as well.

Have questions?  Post in the comments and I will get to them ASAP.  Enjoy!!

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