Sunday, August 8, 2010

butterfly chicken


Let's talk grilled chicken today.  We eat a lot of grilled chicken.  I've previously posted some yummy marinades for boneless, skinless breast or breast tenders.  But as with all meats, chicken with the bone in and the skin on is still the tastiest.  

Here's a technique I learned from my Fine Cooking magazine to butterfly a chicken.  Butterflying a chicken allows you to grill it in one nice flat piece with more even cooking now possible.  You will be removing the back bone to open up the chicken like a book.   How fun is that?   Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

Buy a nice Bell and Evans whole chicken from Marsh or Joe's Butcher shop.  This week Marsh has whole chickens for $1.49 a pound.  Try one.  So much better for you and the planet than Tyson or Perdue mass-raised chickens.

Unwrap your chicken, remove and gizzards or other parts from the cavity, rinse in cool water and pat dry.  Get your kitchen shears/scissors and a boning knife ready.   Using your sharp shears, cut parallel to the backbone about 1/2 inch from the center repeating along the other side to remove the backbone.

At the wing end, use your boning knife to cut through the cartilage in the middle of the chicken until you hit the start of the breast bone.

Score the membrane down the center of the breast bone from top to bottom.

Grab the chicken and bend the sides backward popping out the breast bone.  Pull the bone completely out (this will make it easier to cut and serve the chicken, but if you just pop it to release it and leave it there, you will be fine).  The chicken will still be connected by the skin.

Flip the chicken over, breast and skin side up.

Tuck the tips of the wings behind the breasts so they don't hang out there and overcook.

Ta da!  You now have your pretty butterflied chicken to season and grill.  I like to rub my chicken all over with olive oil, salt and pepper and sometimes use a rub (Sweet Mesquite from Costco is a favorite). For extra flavor, lift up part of the skin over the breast and get some oil and seasoning in there between breast meat and skin.

When your grill is nice and hot, lower it to medium heat and put your chicken on with the skin side up.  Grill for 10-15 minutes and then grab two wide spatulas to turn the chicken skin side down for 15-20 minutes.  Flip the chicken so it's pretty browned skin side up and continue cooking until your instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast meat reads 170 degrees.  Put the nice bird on a platter, tent with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes.   Carve, serve and enjoy!

I have some great pictures of my pretty grilled chicken, but the uploader on blogger.com has not allowed me to post pictures recently.  I'll check with my IT department (my children) and hopefully add some pictures soon.

Until then, let's try this link to a video from Fine Cooking which hopefully you can see without being a member (if you want to join, it is money well spent).
http://www.finecooking.com/videos/butterfly-chicken.aspx

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