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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Twelve in Ten Challenge: Whole Chicken on the Grill

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For our Twelve in Ten challenge this month, we decided to tackle the goal of making a new meat. While chicken is certainly not a new meat for us to cook, neither of us had ever bought and cooked a whole chicken. Being that it's July in St. Louis, roasting a chicken in our oven sounded sweaty...so we instead opted to stick the whole thing on the grill.

I did a few searches online and decided this grilled chicken recipe from Cooking Light sounded like a winner. If we're being honest, I have to admit, this month's challenge ended up being more of Ryan's than my own. Aside from selecting the recipe and offering (unsolicited) advice, I did little by way of actually cooking the chicken. But this challenge is a means to broaden both of our skills and experiences, so I was okay with taking the backseat here...especially after I saw him actually having to manhandle the 4 lb bird!

Things started out a little shaky, with the chicken almost immediately setting fire. Thankfully the initial five minutes were not reminiscent of the rest of the experience. This turned out to be some of the best and juiciest chicken I have ever tasted. The spice rub provided flavor without being overpowering, and the five of us eating this just could not get over how moist the chicken was! Even the blackened skin was delicious! We will definitely be using this method to cook chicken again--it was a perfect summer meal paired with veggie kabobs (seasoned with Green Tea Peppercorn seasoning--thanks Aunt Ann!) and grilled corn on the cob.

Missed previous Twelve in Ten Challenges? Read what it's all about here. Then, look at our first 6 months of challenges!
January--made a new type of bread
February--enjoyed Greek food at Ari's Restaurant
March--made a lamb dish
April--fell in love with Syrian restaurant Ranoush
May--baked my first pie from scratch
June--dined on local food at Local Harvest

Grilled Spice-Rubbed Whole Chicken
from Cooking Light

-1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
-1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
-1 tsp kosher salt
-1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
-1/2 tsp paprika
-1/2 tsp thyme (I omitted, didn't have on hand)
-1/2 tsp chili powder
-1 (4 lb) whole chicken
-cooking spray

1. Prepare grill for indirect grilling. Heat one side to medium-high and leave the other side unheated.
2. Combine the first 7 ingredients (brown sugar through chili powder) and set aside.
3. Remove giblets and neck from chicken; discard. Trim excess fat from chicken. Place chicken, breast side down, on a cutting board. Cut chicken in half lengthwise along backbone- Cut to, but not through, the other side. Turn chicken oven. Starting at the neck cavity, loosen skin from the breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat.
4. Rub spice mixture under the skin and press skin back to secure.
5. Place chicken, breast side down, over direct heat on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Cover and cook for 7 minutes. Flip chicken over and grill for 7 more minutes. Move chicken over to indirect heat. Cover and cook for 45 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into meaty party of thigh registers 165F. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and allow to rest before cutting into pieces.