FB Plugin

Friday, May 17, 2013

Faux-grilled Alabama Chicken

I love how food tastes when it's been grilled over charcoal.  I hate how much time and cleanup a charcoal grill takes though (not to mention what a PITA it is to control temperature for longer than 15 minutes' worth of cooking), and lately even thinking about it makes me want to order a pizza.

So I've been fiddling around with using a cast iron grill pan in the oven to get the same kind of char you get from grilling without the grill.  I've had some dud attempts and some successes, and I think I've found a method that makes me happy.

Please note I'm using small whole chickens, 3 to 4 lbs each.  If you've got a bigger bird, or chicken pieces, the cooking times will of course be different.

The trick seems to be preheating the cast iron pan in the oven to a screaming high heat, leaving the heat up for a part of the cooking time, turning it down to a regular roasting temperature for the bulk of the cooking, flipping the chicken halfway through and bumping the temperature back up (to make up for the heat lost by opening the oven door while you flip the bird) and finishing with a quick broil if desired.

It sounds fussy, but it's a kind of fussy that I prefer over the fussy of the grill.

This particular recipe is adapted from Cook's Illustrated.  I'm less and less a fan of sugary, dark barbecue sauces.  This subtly sweet-and-spicy mayonnaise-based sauce is a new one for me and I quite liked it.

Alabama Grilled Chicken
Makes 3-4 servings

1 3-4 lb. chicken
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
6 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1/4 tsp horseradish
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne

Cut along both sides of chicken backbone with kitchen shears and discard or reserve for stock.  Using shears or a large knife, cut lengthwise through the breastbone of the chicken to halve it.

Mix together 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1/4 tsp cayenne and rub on chicken halves.  Fridge for at least an hour, up to overnight.

Whisk together mayo, cider vinegar, sugar, liquid smoke, horseradish, salt and peppers.  Fridge (do NOT freeze this mixture...mayo does not freeze well at all) until ready to cook.

Preheat oven to 450F with cast iron grill pan on the lowest rack.  Place chicken skin-side down on hot grill pan and roast 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350F and cook 25-30 minutes.  Flip chicken and raise heat to 400F.  Cook 20-25 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.  Remove chicken from oven and brush with about 1/3 of the mayo-horseradish sauce.

Heat broiler to high.  Broil 5 minutes to crisp skin. Brush with another 1/3 of the sauce.  Tent with foil and let chicken rest about 10 minutes, then brush with remaining sauce.

To recap the cooking process:

  • Preheat oven and grill pan to 450F
  • Roast chicken...
    • ...10 minutes at 450F
    • ...25-30 minutes at 350F
    • ...20-25 minutes at 400F (until cooked through)
    • ...5 minutes under the broiler
Pin It

No comments:

Post a Comment