Welcome to the second part of my BBQ ‘series’! This post is going to focus on the food and drink itself and I’m going to leave you in the capable hands of my husband, John, to talk you through his most recent discovery for the BBQ – brick chicken – before I take the reins back to talk about side dishes and drinks (we stick to fairly traditional gender roles for our BBQs!). John is an engineer by trade, and every so often, he chooses a particular thing to try to perfect and this year it’s been this recipe, which is all kinds of amazing. It’s like a roast chicken, but so, so moist, and just packed full of flavour.
- 1 Whole Chicken (around 1.5kg for 2-3 people)
- Maldon Sea Salt Flakes
- Olive Oil
- Garlic Pepper Seasoning
- Herbes de Provence Seasoning
First, you will need to light your BBQ. Chimney Starters, such as the Weber Rapidfire take the hassle out of lighting a BBQ and pretty much guarantee you white hot coals ready to use in about 20 minutes, using only a small lump of firelighter to get things going.
As for fuel, there’s much debate over the merits of lumpwood charcoal vs briquettes; personally I find briquettes much easier to handle and they give a much more predictable level of heat and cook time. For this recipe you want the temperature to average out around 150ºC; I’ve found that around 20 briquettes generates the right amount of heat but your mileage may (and probably will) vary.
Whilst you wait for your coals to get white hot and ready for cooking with you can prepare the chicken. First off, pat your whole chicken dry with kitchen roll to remove any excess moisture. Next, spatchcock the chicken by cutting either side of the backbone and then removing it. Finally, liberally salt your bird before brushing it with olive oil and round it off with a seasonsing of pepper, garlic and herbes de provence.
Once the top coals are white hot, it’s time to arrange them for cooking. For this recipe you will want to arrange your coals around the outside of the grill so the chicken cooks using indirect heat. It’s also a good idea to place an aluminium foil tray in the middle of the bottom grate – not only does this help with coal placement but it also catches the fat that will drip from the chicken making cleanup much easier.
Last but not least (although this is optional if you can’t be bothered), I like to add some apple wood chips for smoking: these give the chicken a great flavor and add a little more spectacle to your cook. I’ve had great success with Weber Apple Wood Chips – just soak them for 30 minutes before hand in water and then place them on top of the coals – simple!
Once you’ve set up your grill you are ready to place your seasoned chicken in the middle of it, breast facing down, directly above the foil tray. Weigh it down with something heavy. As the name suggests you can either use a couple of spare bricks wrapped in tin-foil, or weigh it down with a heavy cast iron skillet. The bricks (or skillet) bring more of the meat into contact with the grill which provides the final dish with the amazing charcoal grilled effect.
You will want to hold your BBQ’s temperature at around 150ºC. Keep your top-vent open and use the bottom vent to control the heat: avoid things getting too hot otherwise your chicken could dry out. Cook for around 45 minutes with the lid on, after 45 minutes remove the bricks and flip the chicken over, cooking for an additional 20 minutes – your chicken should have reached an internal temperature of around 73ºC. Let it rest for an additional 10 minutes and it will then be ready to serve.
In my view, side dishes at a BBQ should be quick and easy to make, and suitable for vegetarians. I think they get enough of a raw deal at most BBQ’s that at least they should be able to eat all of the side dishes!
My go-to dishes are a simple potato salad (I like this one from BBC Food) and tomato, mozzarella and basil. Simple is best!
I love a cocktail and I always think whipping up a few cocktails really gives your BBQ the wow factor. A Moscow Mule is a great option to serve as the evening sets in – the spiciness of the ginger beer gives it that slight warming kick, despite it being a cold drink, which is perfect for those ‘not quite balmy’ UK summer evenings. I’ve been eyeing up Moscow Mule copper cups for ages but always thought they were a bit pricey until I found these from Rinkit – just £3.99 (and lined with stainless steel).
Moscow Mule ingredients:
120ml ginger beer
Juice of half a lime
Lime slice to garnish
What are your favourite, tried and tested BBQ recipes? We’re slowly perfecting the art of the BBQ, so we’d love to hear yours!
Disclosure: I was sent some of the items featured in this post.