This is a favorite of our winemaker and is a great summer treat that turns an ordinary chicken into a tasty delight. The bricks aid in flattening the chicken to a uniform thickness for easy, flawless grilling. And, the garlic, lemon, and rosemary flavors make a savory treat that pairs well with a citrus flavored wine like Fenn Valley Dry Riesling or True Chardonnay.
1/8 tsp dried red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp minced lemon zest
3 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp ground rosemary
1 Tbsp dried thyme
4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
3¾-4½ Lb whole chicken
2 “fire” bricks (no holes)
Use a de-boning shears to cut along each side of the chicken back bone. Turn the chicken breast side up. Place the palm of one hand on the breast and press down while spreading the back wide open. Flatten the chicken with the “knees” of the legs pointing inward and the drumsticks angling outward. Cut off the extra fat and use a large serving spoon to loosen the skin from the meat by sliding it under the skin until the skin is detached from the meat.
Combine the pepper flakes, lemon zest, garlic and olive oil in a small sauce pan. Simmer gently for 3 minutes or until the garlic begins to darken. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Mix the salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add the rosemary and thyme to the garlic mixture and stir. Add all but 1 tsp of the salt mixture to the garlic mixture and stir until everything is thoroughly mixed.
Spread the garlic and herb mixture evenly under the chicken skin. Turn the chicken over and spread the remaining 1 tsp of the salt and pepper mixture on the bone side of the chicken. Place a wire rack on a rimmed baking pan, place the chicken, skin side up, on the wire rack and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
Wrap two bricks on two layers of aluminum foil. Light 75-80 charcoal briquettes on one side of a kettle grill. Allow to burn until all the briquettes are covered with a white ash. Spread the coals over ½ of the kettle, place the grill and the two foil covered bricks over the coals. Cover with the lower vent open ¾ and the top vent open ½. Pre-heat the bricks for 5-10 minutes. Use hot pads to remove the bricks. Apply olive oil to a paper towel, grip with tongs, and wipe the grill.
Place the chicken, skin side down, over the cool side of the grill with the legs pointing toward the coals. Place the bricks on the chicken to hold it flat. Cover and adjust the vents so that the top vent is opened ½ and the bottom vent is opened ¾. Grill for 22-25 minutes or until grill marks are evident on the skin and the skin is a light brown color.
Flip the chicken to the hot side of the grill with the skin up and the breast pointed toward the center of the grill. Apply the bricks, cover, and grill for 12-15 minutes.
Remove the cover and the bricks, and flip the chicken with the skin down over the hot side of the grill. Close the bottom vent to ½ open and grill uncovered for 5-10 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 165° when inserted into the thickest part of the chicken. Remove and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Serve 4-6.