Cooking a whole chicken is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about how consumers are finding ways to stretch out their dollar. In truth, it is one of the best ways to save money and still have a delicious meal. Many of us are hesitant to do so because it seems like a lot of work and preparation. After all, the breasts, thighs, and drumsticks all require different cooking times. However, cooking a whole chicken can be the easiest way to prepare a bird and the most flavourful because of the natural juices that marinate the bird when cooked. Saving those extra dollars makes it that much sweeter! Leftovers from the bird can be used the day after or frozen for a future meal. But the real question is… how do we make sure that the bird is cooked properly? As Olivia Ware discusses in her “The Blender” blog, the key is indirect heat. It consists of using low heat and a cover to surround the bird on all sides with a consistent temperature. Think of it as transforming your grill into an oven. Sounds easy? It is!
With summer approaching, cooking a whole chicken is the perfect way to make the most out of your grill. Rather than grilling hotdogs or burgers, impress your friends with a whole grilled chicken! The aromatic scents circulate in the grill and infuse the chicken with distinct hints of smoke. Each bite into the tender meat will release an array of juices that will make you weak in the knees and wanting more. The skin, a golden brown colour that even the Kernel would be proud of (even though it’s not fried chicken). Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. The people at Williams-Sonoma Kitchen have created a simple Classic Grilled Whole Chicken recipe, an easy-to-make recipe ideal for summer grilling. For those who want to add a hint of hickory or mesquite, try this recipe with Encore Woodland Liquid Smoke (use a few drops and brush lightly onto chicken before grilling)! Here’s the recipe:
- 2 chickens, each about 4 lb., neck and giblets removed
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 Tbs. dried oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Prepare the chickens
Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for indirect grilling over high heat.
Brush the outside of each chicken with the olive oil and sprinkle with the oregano. In a small bowl, stir together the salt and pepper, and season the chickens inside and out with the mixture. Let stand while the grill heats.
Grill the chickens
Lightly oil the grill rack. Place the chickens on the rack over the drip pan and cover the grill. Cook for 45 minutes, rotating the chickens occasionally to ensure even browning. (If using a charcoal grill, add 12 more briquettes at this point to keep the fire hot.) Continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh, away from the bone, registers 170°F, about 30 minutes more.
Transfer the chickens to a carving board and let stand for 10 minutes. Carve 1 chicken and serve immediately. Reserve the remaining chicken for another meal (see note above). Makes 2 chickens total; serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Grilling, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2007).