Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lemon Pepper Chicken

The mail man has been one of my favorite people for the past week. I got two jars of Billy Bones Competition rub (Thanks Carson!), a jar of grey salt (Thanks Scott & Carson!), and a bottle of Chok' On Dis Blaz' N Glaze that I bought after reading a review on Hot Sauce Daily.

Scott mentioned the grey salt to me when he and Carson where here for a visit this summer. I told him that I had never tried it, so they sent me a jar. So what is "grey salt"? According to Saltworks:

Grey Salt is a “moist” unrefined sea salt usually found on the coastal areas of France. Its light grey, almost light purple color comes from the clay found in the salt flats. The salt is collected by hand using traditional Celtic methods. Grey Salt has gained great fame in the mainstream culinary world in the last few years and is considered by many to be the best quality salt available. It is available in coarse, stone ground fine and extra fine grain.

Grey salt reminds me that I'm at the point in cooking where I know enough to do well but I am also having a blast because there's so much for me to still learn. It is a big difference from kosher coarse salt. I can't wait to try it in different ways. I used it tonight when I roasted a lemon pepper chicken.

Chris' Lemon Pepper Chicken
1 ea whole chicken, spatchcocked
1 teaspoon grey salt (or sub coarse Kosher)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon parsley, fresh chopped
2 ea lemons, one sliced thinly and one juiced
1/4 cup olive oil

Season the chicken with the salt, garlic powder, black pepper, and parsley.

Slide four or six slices of the lemon underneath the skin of the chicken at the breasts and thighs.

Roast at 300-350f either on a grill using indirect heat or in an oven. I used the Big Green Egg with some lump and apple wood tonight.

Whisk the oil into the lemon juice. Baste the chicken about every 15 minutes after it hits 100f internal.

Roast until an instant read thermometer registers 180f deep in the thigh or 160f in the breast (it should be both). It took a little over an hour tonight.

See? Things were going fine in the picture above but then I had a blow out in the right thigh.

And then the left.

Let the bird rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Wanna know how much the blow outs affect the taste? None! The chicken had a crisp skin and the flavors played well together like two best new friends meeting on a playground. I think the lemon juice/oil baste really added to the layers of flavor.

How you cut it is up to you. For a "hearty serving", I quarter the chicken. For smaller servings, I cut it into legs, thighs, and then cut each breast in half.

Here's my question to you cooks and chefs: My chicken's skin broke through on the thighs where the lemon was stuffed. How do you stuff citrus under the skin of poultry without it ripping later in the roasting process? I've seen others do it so I know it can be done.