Spatchcocked Gremolata Chicken

Sounds fancy, but this is just another take on the Chicken & Veggies dish that I make a lot in the summer. Gremolata is an Italian marinade made from garlic, lemon, olive oil, and whatever herbs your dear wife snips off for you. Once the bird is spatchcocked (easier done than said) and seasoned and the veggies are prepped, this is a pretty no-muss, no-fuss recipe.

The Birds
2 3-5 pound roasting chickens (grill once, eat twice)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh marjoram or parsley
4 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon (about 4 tablespoons)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Make the gremolata by putting the garlic and salt in a food processor and pulse until the garlic is minced. Add the remaining ingredients, except the chicken, and give them a whirl until they are well-combined. Add more oil as needed to make a thin paste.

Clean and rinse the chickens, then pat them dry. To spatchcock the bird, set it in front of you, breast side down. Cut up through the backbone with either a pair of kitchen shears or a sharp chef’s knife.

Now spread the bird open like a book and locate the keel bone that sits between the breasts. Nick it with a knife to get it to open up, but don’t cut all the way through. Flip the bird over and press down on the center of the bird until it lies pretty flat.

Rub both sides of the birds with the gremolata,working it under the skin a bit. Set the birds skin side up on a pan (I use a large jellyroll pan) and put them in the fridge, uncovered, for at least an hour. This not only lets the gremolata do its flavorful thing, but also helps dry out the skin a bit so it stays crispy.

Set your grill up for an indirect cook at medium-high (400°F) heat. while the grill is getting up to temp, put the veggies together.

The Veggies
1 pound fingerling potatoes
2 bell peppers, roughly chopped
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh ground back pepper to taste

Scrub the potatoes and toss the veggies together in a 9×13 pan (I use an old cake pan, but disposable foil drip pans are good too). Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.

The Cook
Set the pan full of veggies on the grill. Place the grill grate on top of the pan and lay the chickens, skin side up, on the grate above the veggies. This way all the chickeny goodness will drip into the veggies as they cook and the steam from the veggies will help keep the chicken moist.

Close the lid and cook the chicken and veggies for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, start checking to see if everything is done. The chicken is done when the juices run clear and the the temperature has reached 160°F in the breast and 180°F in the thigh. Pull the veggies early if they finish before the chicken. These were some larger birds and they went 90 minutes before being done.

Remove the birds from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the veggies from the pan to a serving bowl. Quarter the birds for serving.

The Verdict: ★★★★☆
This dish is always a winner – crispy, herby, juicy chicken and really flavorful veggies.  I love that everything goes on the grill together and we get a great meal in under 2 hours. I always try to make enough of this dish that we get plenty of leftovers. with two birds we get dinner for two, a couple of hind quarters for my lunch,  and enough breast meat for enchiladas and chicken salad.

The only thing this dish could have used was another 20 minutes on the grill. The chicken was done, but because it stays so moist this way, I would have liked the dark meat a little more tender.

2 thoughts on “Spatchcocked Gremolata Chicken”

  1. I just decided to make a gremolata earlier this weekend when I saw it on another blog. I knew it would work great on the grill and you beat me to it! This looks excellent and i can almost taste the tang of the marinade. Nice job!

    1. Thanks! There’s always room for more gremolata recipes on the web.With the way our kitchen garden is coming in I could make this 5 nights a week and not run out of herbs.

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