Growing up, his mom would barbeque chicken and leave his dad's pieces on the grill a little longer than the rest. Somewhere along the lines Jay developed a taste for the charred chicken too.
Growing up in my house, a weekly menu highlight was Mom's smoky chicken. Mom would roast a chicken, forget about it and join Claire & I in the other room to watch a movie, and the house would fill with smoke & set off the smoke detectors. Muscle memory would kick in and as if under hypnosis we would each grab our go-to pillow and positions under the detectors and fan them until they went off. That's how you know smoky chicken is done.
I wanted to find a happy balance between the crispy charred chicken Jay had growing up and avoiding (sorry mom) the dryness of smoky chicken.
The recipe starts with spatchcocking the chicken, which you only need a sturdy pair of scissors and a knife to do. Next is an overnight dry rub. For extra char to the chicken, I let it cook skin side down longer, and only needed a few minutes on the other side. A brick is used to keep the chicken flat & even contact with the grill.
Brick Chicken with Romesco Sauce
1. Using kitchen scissors, place chicken breast side down on a surface & cut along both sides of the back bone to remove it.
2. Flip the chicken over and open it like a book - locate the white cartilage/keel bone of the bird in the center.
3. With your knife, make a deep cut on the soft spot on the top of the keel bone and along sides of the keel bone.
4. Press firmly down (you will hear a crack) to flatten it - and the keel bone will be easy to remove.
1 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp salt
Lemon zest (from one lemon)
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 small, seeded dried ancho chile pepper
1/4 cup almonds
1 clove garlic
1 large red pepper seeds removed, grilled
handful of cherry tomatoes
juice of one lemon
1 tbsp sherry or red wine vinegar
1 tsp. paprika
pinch of salt
soak the chile in boiled water to soften for 5 minutes, drain. Add all ingredients, except olive oil, to a food processor/blender.While blending, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until smooth. Adjust salt.
Mix the ingredients, rub all over the chicken and refrigerate overnight (or at least 2 hours). Bring the chicken to room temperature before grilling.
Light your grill, make sure sure the grates are completely clean. Once the grill is hot, dip a paper towel in some olive oil and using metal tongs to swab the grates - this will prevent the skin from sticking. Place the bird skin side down and place a brick (can be wrapped in aluminum foil, or use a heavy cast iron skillet) across the top of the chicken. Allow to cook for about 15 - 25 minutes (depending how well done you want it). Carefully remove the brick & flip the chicken over. Add a few lemon halves, cut side down, to the grill too at this point. Cook chicken for about 10 -20 minutes, using a thermometer or check to make sure its done. Rest for 5 minutes.
Squeeze grilled lemon over the chicken & serve with romesco sauce.
Also pictured with grilled corn with miso honey butter & grilled summer squash and zucchini.