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Grilled chicken with lemon and garlic

Split along its backbone and pressed flat, a butterflied whole chicken grills more quickly and evenly. The technique is an easy three-step process. All you need is a paring knife or kitchen shears.

With the breast side down and the tail facing you, take a sharp paring knife and cut along one side of the backbone. Cut off and remove the tail.

Holding the chicken at the sides with both hands, open it like a book, cracking the breastbone. Flip the bird over.

Press with your palms against the breastbone to make sure the chicken is as flat as possible. You're ready to season and grill.

Serves 4

1 whole chicken (3 to 4 pounds)
1 lemon, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
4 sprigs fresh savory or rosemary (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. About 20 minutes before grilling, light the charcoal in a chimney starter. (If using a gas grill, turn all the burners to high and close the lid.)

2. Remove gizzards and any other innards from the chicken and pat dry. Follow instructions on Page C1 to butterfly the bird.

3. Using your fingers, open up pockets between the skin and flesh of the breasts and legs. Slip two or three lemon slices, the equivalent of 1 clove of garlic, and 1 sprig savory or rosemary, if using, under the skin along one breast. Do the same for the other breast and both legs, using the remaining garlic and herbs. Sprinkle the bird all over with olive oil, season generously with salt and pepper, and rub them in with your hands.

4. When the coals are covered in a white ash, pour them onto the bottom grate of a charcoal grill in a single level and put top grate on top. Clean with wadded-up aluminum foil or a brush, if necessary. (If using a gas grill, turn down to medium-high.)

5. When the fire is medium-hot (you can hold your hand above top grate for about 4 seconds), place chicken on the grill skin-side up. Grill for about 20 minutes, or until deeply browned. Turn with tongs, and grill skin-side down until the juices run clear, another 20 to 25 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees.

6. Transfer the chicken to a platter, setting it skin-side up. Cover loosely with foil, and let rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.

Joe Yonan

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