Greek-sh Grilled Half Chickens

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This was an idea from the LA Times, which turned out well.  I suspect I would like it even better spatchcocking the chicken instead of cutting it in half and removing the backbone, since spatchcocking helps the white and dark meat cook more evenly.  I also think it would work well with multiple Cornish game hens or two smaller chickens (which for some reason are hard to find in the supermarkets).

The innovative thing about this recipe is including an egg in the marinade as an emulsifier to help it stick on the chicken.  Since there is a lot of acid in the marinade, you should not marinate the chickens for more than about 4 hours or the meat will be adversely affected.

6 lb. chicken (or two 3 lb. chickens or six 1 lb. Cornish game hens)

¾ cup vegetable oil

¾ cup red wine vinegar

1 Tbs. Diamond Shamrock kosher salt (plus more)

Freshly ground black pepper

8 whole garlic cloves

2 lemons

1 large egg

Peel the two lemons

In a blender or leak-proof food processor, add the garlic cloves while running to chop them.  Add the lemon peel and chop.  Add the oil, vinegar, and salt and process to blend.  Add the egg and process to an emulsion.

Spatchcock the birds or divide them in half, removing the backbone.  Put the birds on a lasagna pan and pour over them the marinade.  Turn the birds to coat them well.  Cover with plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 3.5 hours.

About 30 minutes before grilling, remove the birds from the refrigerator to warm on the kitchen counter.

Start the barbeque grill.  I was using a 3-burner gas grill.  I heated the left and central burners for direct heat and left the right burner off to provide a place for indirect heat.

When the barbeque is heated, put the birds skin side down on the side with direct heat.  Cook them for about 15 minutes.  Then move them to be skin side up on the side with indirect heat.  Cook them there with the lid closed until the breast temperature reaches 150 degrees (and ideally the thighs are 165 degrees.)  Remove the birds from the grill to a platter and tent them with aluminum foil for 5-10 minutes of resting before cutting them up and serving them.


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