Rotisserie Chicken – BBQ 25 by Adam Perry Lang “Style”

31 Mar

As you know if you’ve read my little blog, I’ve occasionally been cooking selections from Adam Perry Lang’s Book “BBQ 25” in an attempt to cook my way through the book over the course of this year.

Earlier in the week, I decided to cook a rotisserie chicken this weekend. I had nice 4 lb fryer in the freezer so I thawed it out and started thinking about how I wanted to season it. Then I remembered that I was trying to cook through APL’s BBQ 25 so I took a look at the chicken selections in the book and found an Adam Perry Lang recipe for Whole Spatchcocked / Butterflied chicken. Spatchcocked chicken is a whole chicken that has had the backbone removed then butterflied open so that it lays flat during cooking. It allows for a quicker whole chicken cook and for the chicken to lie flat so that the entire surface area of the chicken can contact the grill grates. I like spatchcocked chicken, but I had wanted to to a rotisserie chicken on my Weber charcoal rotisserie because I like that the chicken self-bastes as it cooks and stays very moist. The longer cooking time also allows ample time for patio-induced relaxation and a cold beverage.

I thought about my dilemma: APL spatchcocked chicken or rotisserie chicken and then I decided “both!” I have a couple of wire mesh baskets that attach to my rotisserie spit and hold the meat being cooked firmly from both sides. I decided I could spatchcock my chicken and still cook it on the rotisserie.

I brined the chicken according to BBQ 25’s instructions – a minimum of three hours in a brine of water, salt, rosemary, thyme, oregano, pepper and a little canola oil. All of this, along with the chicken, went into a 2 gallon zip lock bag and into the fridge for about 4 hours.

The Weber charcoal rotisserie ring sits between the bowl of a Weber kettle grill and the grill’s lid and has mounting hardware for a rotisserie spit. The spit is designed specifically to fit the 22.5 inch rotisserie ring.

Generally when I’m cooking on the Weber rotisserie, I’m cooking at relatively low temperatures – between 300 and 400 degrees. To maintain a Weber kettle grill in this temperature range requires surprisingly little lit charcoal. I use something of a “Minion Method” technique with my charcoal in the rotisserie. I generally use briquettes on my Weber kettles and tonight I happened to have an open bag of regular Kingsford briquettes. I poured a couple of layers of briquettes alongside and parallel to where the spit would  be placed, then lit about a quarter of a chimney of briquettes. When the lit charcoal was glowing red, I dumped it on top of the layers of unlit and adjusted the vents, top and bottom, to about half open. While the temperature was stabilizing (it takes maybe 10 minutes), I removed the chicken from the brine, rinsed and dried the bird, then set about to remove the backbone by cutting alongside either side of the backbone with a sharp knife. I then flipped the bird breast side up and pressed down on the breastbone to break the cartilage between the two breast halves and used my knife to split the bird into two pieces along the breastbone. After than, I separated the thigh quarter of each half from the breast quarter, and seasoned both sides of each piece with Mrs. Dash salt-free onion and herb seasoning (this is not in the APL recipe, but I like rub and since the bird had brined, I didn’t want to introduce any more salt). Finally, I arranged the chicken pieces in the wire mesh rotisserie basket, clamped the top on the basket as tightly as I could so that all the pieces were held firmly in place and ran the rotisserie spit through the slots in each end of the basket, clamped the basket onto the spit with a pair of thumbscrews and headed to the grill.

By this time the temperature on the kettle rotisserie was about 350, which was in my range of cooking temperature (I would have been fine with an initial temperature of anywhere between 300 and 375 since I had plenty of time to cook). I added a couple of chunks of peach wood to the coals and then slid the rotisserie spit into place, replaced the kettle lid, flipped the switch on the rotisserie motor and settled into my chair.

I figured that the chicken would take about an hour and 15 minutes at 325 degrees. As it turned out, my temperature settled closer to 375 so after about 50 minutes, the chicken was very close to done. If I had pulled the chicken and let it rest, it probably would have gotten to 165 in the breast and 170 in the thigh, but I had some baste/glaze I wanted to get on the chicken so I let it turn just a little longer.

The baste/glaze from BBQ 25 consists of a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, crushed garlic cloves, lemon juice, honey, white wine vinegar and just a dash of water. I had made the glaze earlier and the last 10 minutes or so that the chicken was on the rotisserie, I glazed both sides of the chicken every two to three minutes. Finally, when the chicken had been on the cooker for about an hour, I stopped the rotisserie, took off the flat side of the rotisserie basket and removed the four pieces of chicken to a sheet pan, then glazed the top (skin) side of each piece with the remaining glaze.

Since I had mis-timed the cooking time on the chicken, our red potatoes weren’t quite ready when the chicken came off the cooker, so I put the sheet pan of chicken in the microwave to just sit and hang out until the potatoes were ready.

For serving (it was just me since Melissa is a vegetarian and Darling Daughter #2 was “hanging out” with a friend), I split one of the breast quarters into two pieces and ate one half of the breast and a leg quarter.

The chicken had a pleasing appearance. The color was a honey gold rather than the mahogany color my rotisserie chickens usually turn. I attributed this partially to the use of the peach wood rather than pecan and the shorter cooking time for the quartered chicken as compared to a chicken cooked whole on the rotisserie. The brine left the chicken moist and tender, and the flavors in the brine, combined with the flavors in the rub and the glaze, left the chicken with multiple flavor points, all of which complimented each other quite well. There were herb tones from the brine and rub, as well as bright tones from the lemon juice and just a hint of sweetness from the honey in the glaze. I normally accompany chicken – which can be bland – with some honey mustard or Alabama white dipping sauce. However, tonight, the Alabama white sauce from Billy’s Tavern sat quietly on the table. The chicken didn’t need any additional moisture or flavor. And the skin? Well, I carved the breast with a sharp steak knife, but the skin on the leg and the first bite from the thigh were bite through (YES!). On the second bite of the thigh, the skin shifted, but I wasn’t being very careful about from which direction I bit the thigh. I’m calling the skin “bite-through” and that is what I shoot for on every piece of chicken I cook!

Summary: like the other recipes I’ve cooked from Adam Perry Lang’s BBQ 25, the meat came out quite flavorful and well-seasoned. The chicken also was tender and tasty. Also like the other recipes I’ve tried, I gave the recipe a little bit of an interpretative twist – in this case by quartering the chicken and cooking it on the charcoal rotisserie. This recipe is a winner. I know I will use the brine recipe again, and I’m sure that the glaze will be a base for adding some additional flavors to my competition-style chicken legs and thighs. The rotisserie allows the meat to self baste and just adds a bit of fun to the cooking. Good recipe – good chicken – good meal!

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One Response to “Rotisserie Chicken – BBQ 25 by Adam Perry Lang “Style””

  1. Phellepa April 1, 2012 at 7:44 am #

    Man, you need to set up a 55g drum smoker in the side of the road!!!

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