Grilled Chicken with Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Sauce

  • To make “grilled” chicken in a broiler, preheat the broiler and cover a broiler pan with aluminum foil, spraying it lightly with nonstick spray to prevent sticking. Place the chicken pieces skin side down on the foil and broil 4 to 6 inches from the heat source for 10 minutes (without mopping with the sauce). Turn and continue broiling for 5 more minutes. Turn again and mop generously with the Sweet-and-Spicy Barbecue Sauce. 
  • Continue broiling, mopping often and turning, until the chicken reaches the desired internal temperature, 3 to 5 more minutes. Again, the breast, wings, and back will be done first.
  1. Canola oil for greasing the grill grate
  2. One 4- to 5-pound chicken, giblets and neck removed, cut into 9 pieces
  3. Sweet-and-Spicy Barbecue Sauce
  • Set up a grill for direct cooking over medium heat that is, heat a gas grill to medium heat or build a medium-hot, well-ashed coal bed in a charcoal grill.
  • Lightly oil the grill grate. Place the chicken, skin side down, 4 to 6 inches directly over the heat source or coals. Mop with the Sweet-and-Spicy Barbecue Sauce. Cover the grill and cook, turning occasionally and mopping generously with the sauce, until the sauce has caramelized and the juices from the meat run clear, and until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast without touching bone registers 160°F or 170°F, 16 to 18 minutes.
  • Since the breasts, wings, and back will be done first, move them to a cooler part of the grate, cover the grill, and continue to cook the thighs and legs for about 5 more minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone registers 165°F or 180°F. Mop generously with any remaining sauce, transfer to a carving board, and let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Sweet-and-Spicy Barbecue Sauce
  1. Consider making a double batch of this sauce, freezing half, and saving it for your next backyard barbecue. Makes about 21⁄4 cups
  2. 2⁄3 cup tomato paste
  3. 2⁄3 cup water
  4. 1⁄2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  5. 1⁄4 cup unsulfured molasses
  6. 1⁄4 cup cider vinegar
  7. 2 tablespoons chili powder
  8. 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  9. 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  10. 1 teaspoon onion powder
  11. 1 teaspoon salt
  12. 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  13. 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
  14. 1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne, or less to taste
  • Whisk the tomato paste, water, brown sugar, molasses, vinegar, chili powder, corn syrup, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, salt, ground pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne in a medium saucepan set over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer; then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened, whisking fairly often to make sure it’s not sticking, about 10 minutes.
  • Add any of the following to the sauce: 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon celery seed, and/or 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves.
  • For a more savory sauce, reduce the brown sugar to 1⁄4 cup; or omit the brown sugar altogether and add 1⁄4 cup maple syrup.

Chicken Halves Roasted over Squash

  • Substitute 2 medium leeks, halved lengthwise, cleaned, and thinly sliced, for the onion.
  • Add one 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry, with the squash.
  • Substitute any hard winter squash such as blue hubbard, butternut, or kabocha for the acorn squash.
  1. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 1 medium onion, chopped
  3. 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  4. 1 large acorn squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into very small 
  5. 1⁄2-inch cubes
  6. 1 tablespoon stemmed thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  7. 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  8. 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  9. One 4- to 5-pound chicken, giblets and neck removed, then split in half from tip to tail
  10. 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  11. 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until soft and aromatic, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the remaining tablespoon of butter, stir in the squash, and cook, stirring once in a while, until slightly oftened at the edges, about 4 minutes.
  • Stir in the thyme, salt, and pepper; cook until aromatic, about 15 seconds. Mound the mixture in the center of a 13 × 9-inch baking pan.
  • Use the two halves of the chicken to form a teepee skin side up over the vegetables. Make sure no vegetable is uncovered.
  • Whisk the mustard and maple syrup in a small bowl. Brush over the skin.
  • Bake until golden until a meat thermometer 
  • inserted in the thigh registers 165°F or 180°F, between 1 hour and 1 hour 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken halves to a cutting board; let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before carving and serving with the vegetables.

Stewed Chicken

  • Omit the celery and parsnip and add 2 large turnips, peeled and diced, or 1 large rutabaga, peeled and diced, in their stead. Substitute 1 tablespoon chopped sage leaves for the dill. Finish the cooking broth with 2 teaspoons rice vinegar or lemon juice just before serving.
  1. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  2. One 4- to 5-pound whole chicken, giblets 
  3. and neck removed, trussed with butcher’s twine
  4. 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 
  5. 2-inch pieces
  6. 2 medium leeks, white and pale green parts only, split lengthwise, the inner layers washed carefully of any sand, then sliced into 2-inch pieces
  7. 2 celery ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  8. 1 parsnip, peeled, cut into 2-inch sections, and each cut into lengthwise quarters
  9. 1 bay leaf
  10. About 6 cups chicken broth, or enough just to cover the bird in the pot
  11. 1 teaspoon salt
  12. 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  13. 4 ounces dried egg noodles
  14. 1 tablespoon chopped dill fronds
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, then the trussed chicken breast side down. Brown well for about 2 minutes, shaking and nudging to make sure the skin isn’t sticking. Turn the chicken breast side up and continue cooking until golden, turning on all sides and basting often with the pan juices, about 8 more minutes.
  • Transfer to a Dutch oven that will hold the bird snugly; it must not swim around. Add the carrots, leeks, celery, parsnip, and bay leaf, sticking the vegetables down around the chicken. Pour in the broth; add the salt and pepper. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.
  • Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook at a very slow bubble until the vegetables are tender and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 165°F (our preference) or 180°F, 50 to 65 minutes. Using large tongs to pick up the chicken and a spatula to support it from underneath, transfer to a cutting or carving board for 10 minutes before carving. If desired, skim the fat off the broth.
  • Raise the heat to high and bring the liquid in the pot to a full simmer. Add the noodles and dill, stir well, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the noodles are tender, about 5 minutes. Serve in large bowls with the broth, noodles, and vegetables ladled over the cut-up pieces of chicken.

Chicken Roasted in a Salt Crust

  • To test for doneness, push an instant-read thermometer into the chicken through the salt crust, eyeing where the thigh is through the crust itself. If you’re unsure of placement, make a little fi  nger indention in the crust as you’re shaping it to show you where to guide the thermometer in. Or use an old-fashioned, oven-safe probe. 
  • Once the chicken is covered in the leaves, insert the probe into the thickest section of the thigh through the leaves, then build the salt crust over the bird and around the probe, leaving its display sticking outside the crust, which should hold it in place while the chicken roasts.
  1. 6 pounds kosher salt
  2. 3 cups water
  3. One 16-ounce jar grape leaves, drained and rinsed
  4. 2 lemons, cut into quarters
  5. 2 bay leaves
  6. 1 tablespoon cracked black peppercorns
  7. One 4- to 5-pound chicken, giblets and neck removed
  8. Butcher’s twine
  • Position the rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Stir the salt and water in a large bowl to form a thick, doughlike paste. Place 3 cups in the bottom of a large roasting pan, patting it out to about 5 inches larger than the chicken. Pack down, then cover completely with a double layer of overlapping grape leaves (perhaps 15 in total), leaving a 1-inch border of salt at the edges.
  • Place the lemon quarters, bay leaves, and peppercorns inside the chicken, then truss the bird with butcher’s twine.
  • Place the chicken on the grape-leaf bed, then cover the chicken with the remaining grape leaves, leaving no exposed holes. Fold up any exposed leaves on the grape-leaf bed to meet those already on the chicken.
  • Gently mound the remaining salt dough onto the leaves, thereby covering the chicken but taking care not to disturb the leaves. Mold the salt mixture to the bird’s shape. Seal any and all cracks by wetting your hands and patting the salt in place.
  • Roast until a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 160°F (our preference) or 175°F, about 1 hour and 30 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. (In this case, the internal temperature will rise in the salt dome as the chicken sits.)
  • Whack the crust a couple of times with a meat mallet to break it. Carefully remove the pieces, making sure they don’t crumble into the meat. Remove and discard the grape leaves, lemon wedges, bay leaves, and peppercorns; transfer the chicken to a board for carving.

Roast Chicken

  •  Insert different herbs under the skin. Try 10 thyme sprigs (5 on each side of the breast), 8 oregano sprigs (4 on each side), 2 tablespoons rosemary leaves (1 tablespoon on each side), or a combination of oregano and rosemary. For a milder, grassier taste, add a couple of sprigs of parsley to any herb you choose. 
  • For a more aromatic bird, place 1 small onion, quartered; 2 celery ribs, cut into 3-inch pieces; and 2 bay leaves inside the large body cavity before you truss the legs. Discard these aromatics before serving.
  • For a more velvety taste, double the amount of oil or butter; put half directly on the meat under the skin of both breast halves before you slip in the herbs, then put the rest of the fat over the skin as directed.
  • For crisper skin, unwrap the chicken from its store packaging, remove the giblets and neck, and set the chicken on a large plate, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  • For a 3- to 4-pound broiler or fryer chicken, cook it breast side down for 15 minutes, then roast it breast side up at 350°F for about 45 minutes, to the desired internal temperature.
  1. One 4- to 5-pound chicken, giblets and neck removed
  2. 6 tarragon sprigs
  3. 2 tablespoons olive oil or 2 tablespoons 
  4. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  5. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  6. Butcher’s twine 
  • Position the rack in the middle of the oven (or so that there’s at least 2 inches between the top of the bird and the top of the oven); preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Slip one fi  nger between the skin and the meat on one side of the breast just above the large cavity opening. Gently work your fi  ngers into the growing pocket between the skin and meat. Take care not to stretch the skin to a dowager’s elasticity. Once you have a pocket, do the same on the other side of the breast.
  • Slip 3 tarragon spears under the skin on each side of the breast, smoothing them evenly over the meat. Pat the skin on both sides back into place.
  • Rub all the outer skin of the bird with the olive oil or softened butter, then gently massage the salt into the skin. Truss the bird with butcher’s twine.
  • Place a rack in a large roasting pan, then place the bird on the rack breast side down. Roast for 20 minutes.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Turn the bird breast side up, taking care not to let any of the hot grease inside the body scald you. Baste the bird with any pan drippings, then continue roasting until very brown, basting every 20 minutes or so with pan drippings, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°F (our preference) or 180°F, about 50 to 70 more minutes. The juices from the thigh, when pierced, should run clear. If the skin starts to brown too deeply, lightly tent the bird with aluminum foil to prevent scorching. Transfer to a cutting or carving board; let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature before carving.

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