The weather is starting to improve here in the Pacific North West and I’m craving the smoky flavors of a real charcoal grill! So I went out and got some hardwood charcoal, cleaned up the grill and started marinating the bird! It was so worth the time getting those coal just right and watching and turning and salivating over the cooking chicken!! Are you ready to start grilling?
Marinated in lime juice and tequila, then grilled over hot coals – Is your mouth watering yet?
What you need:
- 4-5 pound whole chicken
- 1 cup of Margarita mix
- ¾ cup of Tequila
- 1 Tablespoon flaked sea salt
- 2 VERY large cloves of garlic (or 3-4 small)
- 1 Tablespoon Rose’s Lime Juice
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
How to Do it:
Prepare the chicken in the morning, or the night before. It needs to marinate at least 6 hours.
Butterfly the chicken. To do that, you cut along the backbone so the chicken will lay flat. This is also referred to as spatchcock and sometimes completely removes the backbone. My husband likes that part, so I don’t remove it.
Lay the bird, breast side up, in a large container that can be covered. Mix the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Pour it all over the chicken, making sure there is enough to cover at least half way.
Cover and refrigerate. Half way through the marinating time, turn so the skin is down in the liquid.
About 2 hours before serving, start your charcoals. I prefer to use pure hardwood. You get more of a smoky flavor than with regular charcoal. Hickory is a good wood for poultry. And please, don’t use easy start or liquid charcoal starter! What you get is a chemical flavor instead of smoke. I like to use charcoal starting chimneys.
You fill the bottom with newspaper,
then in the chimney, fill about ¼ with charcoal, then a wad of paper, then the rest of the way with charcoal. For a whole chicken I use two chimneys.
Start one up and let it sit for about 10 minutes, making sure it is lit and the coals are starting to smolder. Then light the second one. It will take about twenty to thirty minutes to get the coals hot enough. Place your hand over the top. You’ll feel some pretty intense heat when they are ready to go!
Pour the first chimney into the grill, then pour the second on top. The hotter coals on the bottom will get the less hot ones on the top going. Cover the grill and let the coals continue to heat up for about 10 – 20 more minutes.
How do you know the coals are ready? They will be white hot and have stopped smoking. There will be a little ash on the outside, but most of the coal (about 2/3) will be white. At this point, spread it out around the edges making a little bit of a hole in the middle. That way the bird won’t be over direct heat and risk burning.
Now, place that fella down on the grill, skin side up, about 5-6 inches from the heat. Cover and cook for about 40 minutes, checking frequently to make sure a flame has not started!
After about 40 minutes, flip the chicken over so it’s skin side down. Cook another 25 to 30 minutes, again watching closely.
Now flip it again until it is cooked through. You can check with a meat thermometer or just make sure the juices run clear when cut.
Remove the bird from the heat and let it set for about 10 minutes on a cutting board. This is a good time to make the salad!
Carve the chicken into legs, thighs, wings and breasts. If you cut the whole breast off, you can then slice it into pretty little pieces. (And your husband can have the back pieces!)
Serves 4-6 people (depending on how hungry you are!)
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