Tuesday, 25 October 2011

015 - Spatchcock Chicken Peri Peri Style

On a recent holiday to Norfolk I found a shop that stocked some products from a local chilli farm, www.chillicompany.com. That, and the recent obsession of some my work colleagues with "Nandos" (they've just opened a new one in the city I work in), inspired the latest in the list of 100 things to BBQ... Spatchcock Chicken Peri Peri style!

The first step is to remove the back bone of the chicken. This sounds more daunting than it actually is. Some websites recommend the use of proper poultry shears - but I found that a decent pair of standard kitchen scissors did the job just fine with a little persuasion. There are plenty of Youtube videos out there which walk you through the process, but basically you cut along the length of the bird on one side of the back bone, and then the other side so that you can open the cavity. After that, place the chicken on a board facing upwards and apply small pressure downwards to break the chest bone and make the chicken sit as flat as you can.

Some methods call for skewers to be used and a fellow BBQ tweeter also recommended the use of a cage for ease of flipping. As you'll see from the photos below, it's possible without either - it just makes flipping the chicken over a little trickier. Be careful with the tongs when moving the chicken, the skin can become quite delicate after grilling and you don't want to tear it.

I coated the chicken in a little olive oil prior to adding it to the grill to protect the skin and help with the initial direct grilling. I set the BBQ up using the 50/50 configuration and placed the chicken, skin down, over the coals on a medium direct heat. Turn the chicken every few minutes for around 10 minutes, or until you've achieved the desired colour. Most importantly, don't forget to close the lid during both direct and indirect grilling stages!

After that, I moved the chicken to the indirect side, skin side up and brushed on some of the peri peri sauce (which I'd warmed on the hob) all over the skin.  I gave it another coating of the sauce after about 20 minutes to achieve a nice crust on the crispy skin. This chicken was about 1.5kg so it took about 30-45 minutes before it reached the required internal temperature of 77 degrees C in the thickest part of the thigh. Then removed it from the BBQ and left it to rest, wrapped in foil, for about half an hour.

The initial direct stage left the skin really tasty without being at all chewy, while the remaining indirect and resting stages left the meat really moist and flavourful. I served this in half portions, with a home made potato salad - yum!


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