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.


  1. LMAO @ blow outs...ok, so is that a common "grilling" term among you men? I learned 2 things...what spatchcocked is (i've done it, but didn't know it was called that) and what grey salt is. I've never stuff citrus under the skin so I don't have an answer for you, but maybe an idea? what peeled the lemon and inserted the "pulpy" parts and flat skins separately? that way the edge of the lemon rind from the lemon ring won't put pressure against the shrinking skin?

  2. What a deliciously moist looking chicken! It's making my mouth water just read your post.

  3. Can't help you on the skin, I have that same problem when I make lemon breasts on my beer butt chicken (only time I stuff with lemons)

    but that looks incredible. Great presentation mouth watering photos (you have the best photos on the web)

  4. That looks so great, and it's only 8:30 am!! You are the grill MASTER!

  5. This looks wonderful. I don't know about the citrus stuffing question. I wonder if the lemon slice could be softened up abit before stuffing? A few seconds in the microwave after sliced?

  6. That is one good looking chicken blowouts or not! What a bounty you have received through the mail.

    Brush the chicken with the olive oil before seasining it to avoid the blow outs. The skin cracked and separated because it became dry. I know your were basting throughout the cooking process and even though the skin is fat, it needs the initital coating with the olive oil to keep the skin from from cracking. Hope this helps.

  7. You may want to try blanching the lemon slices first, but add fresh lemon juice in the slit before- I wasn't there, but they may be rehydrating a bit while cooking and split the skin- just a guess..

  8. I always think of roasted chicken when the weather cools. My new grill has a rotisserie function and I've been hinting to the spouse that it would be AWESOME to have that option. This looks wonderful, and I can almost smell it.

  9. Don't know what else to say cept you do chicken right - looks great

  10. I have some grey sea salt that I picked up at Marshall's. I really like the softer flavor of it.

    Chicken looks fabulous, blow-outs or not!

  11. Lemon chicken is a great use for your "sel gris". It add a certain minerality processed salts can't touch. GREG

  12. Mmmm everything tastes so much better on the charcoal grill! Lemon chicken is one of my favorite go to dishes when i'm in hurry. Put a little pat of butter under the skin with the lemon and it shouldn't split!

  13. We've tended to have more problems with the skin ripping while we're putting the lemons under the skin than while it's roasting, but we haven't found that it reduces the flavor quality of the dish in a significant way.

  14. This looks so delicious.. you are the girll master my friend!!

  15. A classic in my bbq is a wonderful recipe..I add chimichurri sauce an extra that fit well too :)



  16. This is beautiful! I'm going to spatchcock a chicken this weekend and am a little intimidated...

  17. I made this last night and guess what?? No blowouts!! You know how I did it?? I have no idea.

  18. That chicken looks perfectly golden brown, crispy and good!


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