|Our Cooked Spatchcock Chicken with Fresh Curry|
Spatchcock Chicken– One of the questions I field the most is how do you keep chicken moist when you grill?
Today’s feature is intended to answer that question with both method of preparation to allow the chicken to cook evenly and method of wood firing to get exceptional wood flavoring yet be able to walk away from the grill. I’ll be offering my version of spatchcock chicken with a curry flavor cooked two-zone set up on a gas grill. Once you try this method of cooking, you’ll want to grill chicken this way all the time, even during the coldest months of the year. And it will come out perfectly moist and cooked evenly every time.
Go pick up your ideal whole chicken, preferably fresh, and let’s learn the simplest method of cooking and flavoring whole chicken.
Flatten to Even Cooking
Spatchcocking, by definition, is the removal of the backbone in a chicken so you can flatten it for cooking. This ensures an even cooking of dark and white meat in the bird, while also guaranteeing moisture is maintained.
To start, you’ll need a whole chicken with the organs and neck removed. Turn the chicken so the breast is down on the cutting board. Locate the backbone and cut along one side of the bone with kitchen shears. Then cut along the other side until the entire backbone is removed. Turn the chicken back around so the breast is facing up.
With the backbone removed, I prepare a sheet pan lined with foil for cooking. I place the palm of my hand on the breastbone of the chicken and push downward to break the cartilage. The chicken will now lie completely flat. I remove the chicken from the cutting board and place on my prepared sheet pan breast side up. Be sure to wash all cutting tools and boards at this stage to remove any contamination of the raw poultry. Let’s get ready to make our curry sauce for the spatchcock chicken.
Tasting Notes: If fresh whole chicken is not available, you may substitute frozen whole chicken. Just be sure it is completely defrosted and pat dried before starting this recipe.
Curry Sauce & Wood Infusion
Although I’m referring to this as a Curry Chicken recipe, note this is not a recipe that cooks for hours like a traditional Indian Curry. It is fast but highly flavorful. It all starts with 1 stick of butter melted in a saucepan over medium heat. To that I add about 2-3 tablespoons of curry powder. Then 3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard and 3 tablespoons of honey. Whisk until well combined ensuring the butter does not separate. I then remove from the heat and grind fresh black pepper into the mix. I also have fresh curry on hand that I will be topping my sauced chicken with for added fresh curry flavor.
Time to take our great sauce and begin coating our spatchcocked chicken. Using a basting brush, add a liberal amount of sauce to the entire chicken, ensuring you get under the wings and legs. Be sure all crevices are coated. Then top with fresh curry leaves. While I’m completing the sauce step, I’ve been preheating my grill to 300°F using burners on only one side of the grill. On that hot side, I’ve added a smoker box that contains four wood chunks. I’ve used a combination of hardwoods including cherry, maple and ash. With the grill hot and the wood chunks smoking, it’s time to grill!
Tasting Notes: Fresh curry can be difficult to find so feel free to eliminate this step if it’s not available. Remember, when two-zone cooking on a grill, the total number of burners will determine how many to turn on. If the unit is only a three burner, just turn one burner on. For a four-burner grill, turn on just two burners.
Ready in a Flash!
With our prepared spatchcock curry chicken readied, the sheet pan is added to the grill and the lid is closed. I leave this to cook on its own for about an hour before returning to rotate the pan and coat on some additional sauce. I also change out the wood chunks as you’ll find that they have completely charred, which means they no longer are giving off smoke flavor. I only add 2 new wood chunks to finish the grilling. Another 20-30 minutes and this should be cooked to 165°F internal temperature. I then remove from the grill and begin carving.
I remove the leg quarters first, then the wings. Then I slice the breast meat and serve everything on a platter. You’ll find a small amount of meat will clings and become pulled chicken. That’s it! I like to serve mine with rice using the residual juices as flavor for the rice. This is absolutely a full proof way to get moist flavorful chicken from the grill in a relatively short period of time.
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