Grilling is a given for the 4th of July. My default has always been pork or beef, but after grilling brick chicken for the first time, I was instantly a fan. This method presses the chicken with bricks and cooks it in a shorter time, resulting in tender, juicy and evenly cooked meat. Don’t let the butterflied chicken intimidate you — it’s very simple to do with kitchen shears. I used my favorite barbeque rub, but the chicken would be outstanding seasoned just with salt and pepper. The only thing this chicken needs is some lime wedges and piquant grilled tomatilla salsa. Charring the salsa ingredients before blending them gives the dish so much depth of flavor. Honestly, its the perfect summer meal.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • vegetable oil
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lime wedges
  • 2 bricks, wrapped in foil
  • Optional: barbeque rub
  • 1 pound of tomatillos, husked
  • 4-5 spring onions, green tops removed
  • 1/2 a bunch of cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno

grilled brick chicken

First, prep your chicken by butterflying it. All you need are kitchen shears, however, you can also ask your butcher to do this for you.  First flip the chicken over so the breast is facing down.  Using the shears, cut down both sides of the backbone.

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Once the backbone is removed, flip the chicken over and press on the breast bone to flatten. You will hear it crack.

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Carefully separate the breast skin from the meat as well as the thigh. Slide the sliced lemon between the skin and meat on each breast and thigh. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and rub with vegetable oil.  Season liberally with salt and pepper or alternatively your favorite barbeque rub if you have one.

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Heat the grill and clean the grate.  For a charcoal grill, place coals on 1 side of the grill. For a gas grill, heat one side of the burners on high, leaving the other side off. Once the grill is very hot, rub the grate with a paper towel with vegetable oil. Place the chicken over indirect heat, skin side down and place bricks on top. Cover grill and keep closed for about 25-30 minutes, until the skin has nice grill marks on it. Flip the chicken and place bricks and cook for another 25-30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. A meat thermometer should read 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh.

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Remove from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes before carving it.

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Break apart the chicken by removing the thighs and wings and then the breasts. Serve with the grilled tomatillo salsa verde.

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Add extra limes and enjoy!

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Grilled Tomatillo Salsa

Either before or after you grill the brick chicken, heat your grill on high and when it is hot, place the tomatillos, onions and jalapeno over direct heat. Grill them until they are softened and charred, around 5-7 minutes. The tomatillos will cook faster than the onion bulbs, so remove those first as they become soft and juicy.

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Place the tomatillos and the spring onions in a food processor or blender and pulse. Slice the jalapeno in half and remove the seeds and add the jalapeno.  Add half a bunch of cilantro and a pinch of salt.  Blend again until everything is incorporated.

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Spoon over the grilled brick chicken.

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(images by HonestlyYUM)