Do you want to learn how to BBQ a wonderfully moist chicken? The key: stuff the chicken under the skin! This simple technique imparts such a lovely moisture and flavor that is beyond delicious, especially when that stuffing is butter creamed with roasted garlic and freshly grate Parmesan cheese, seasoned with herbs. As the chicken roasts, the herb butter melts beneath the skin imparting flavor and juiciness to the meat. This chicken is an excellent main course served over mashed potatoes with gravy from the juices. This recipe can be prepared in a similar fashion in the oven or crockpot. Yum!
1 whole chicken (3 1/2 – 4 lbs)
1 head garlic
4-5 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
2 Tbsp finely chopped mixed fresh herbs, including parsley, chervil, basil, rosemary, oregano, and/or chives
3 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
coarse salt and black pepper
1. Wrap the garlic head in tin foil (or in a small covered glass oven safe pan), and place in the oven/toaster oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until softened. Allow garlic to cool to room temperature.
2. Place the butter, herbs, and Parmesan in a small mixing bowl and beat with a spoon until light and fluffy. Cut the garlic head in half through the cloves and squeeze the garlic from each half into the flavored butter. Season with salt and pepper and beat to mix.
Stuffing the Chicken:
1. Remove the giblets from the body cavity. Rinse and dry the chicken.
2. To stuff the chicken, start by working one finger under the skin at the top of the neck cavity. Carefully loosen the skin from the meat, guarding against tearing the skin, if possible. Gradually widen the gap between the skin and meat until you can fit two fingers followed by your whole hand. Loosen skin from the breast, thighs, and drumsticks.
3. Spoon the garlic butter by hand under the skin. Spread the butter all over the chicken meat by gently rubbing the skin with your fingers.
4. Dash the exterior of the chicken with rosemary, salt and pepper. Ideally, you will want to truss the chicken at this point, but up till now we have got away without it.
5. Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium. If using a charcoal grill, place a drip pan in the center. For our charcoal grill, we light the charcoal and form two heat zones by raking the coals into two piles at opposite sides of the grill. Our weber performer grill has baskets, which makes this easy to divide the coals evenly between the two, placing the drip pan between.
6. Place the chicken, breast-side up, in the center of the hot grill grate over the drip pan and away from the heat, and cover the grill. Grill until the chicken is deep golden brown and the meat is cooked through, 1 1/4- 1 1/2 hours. If using a charcoal grill, you’ll need to add 12 fresh coals per side after 1 hour. Internal temperature should be 180 degrees.
7. Transfer chicken to a platter to rest for 5 minutes. Carve as desired.
8. Pour the juices from the drip pan into a small pan on your stove top to prepare a gravy. I add arrowroot powder, salt and pepper to thicken and flavor as needed.
Recipe adapted from How to Grill by Steven Raichlen.