The summer is flying by, and it wouldn’t be complete without a little backyard grilling action. So the other night Jeremy and I made a little feast out on the grill, which consisted of the Barbecue Plum Spatchcock Chicken from my cookbook, Adventures in Chicken, his delicious grilled corn elote, and two cans of rosé (yep! They sell it in cans now, but you better be careful because it turns out there is a half bottle of wine in each can. Yikes!) We just sat out on the patio, put on some relaxing music, and enjoyed an insanely delicious and smokey bbq dinner. It was absolutely perfect, and much-needed since we’ve been remodeling our garage and have been keeping busy insulating it, hanging dry wall, and plastering said dry wall. There’s nothing like a good meal for a respite from DIY home construction!
I also have another how-to video to share with you guys from my youtube channel, and this one shows you how to spatchcock a chicken (a skill set every omnivore should have!) Yes, spatchcock is a weird word, but it is a useful preparation tactic for cooking chicken because it basically removes the backbone from the chicken, then flattens out the bird like an open book, which allows it too cook much more evenly and quickly, resulting in a speedy, delicious, and succulent chicken, rather than a lengthy, over-cooked one. This technique is especially useful for grilling, since instead of having to break down the bird into individual parts and then flip and turn each one, you can just leave the bird whole and flip it over in one movement (plus it looks pretty badass having an whole entire grilled chicken, as far as serving appearances go). To keep it from being to floppy, you spear it with two large skewers in an X shape to help stabilize it so it’s easier to handle and flip with grilling tongs, and I detail how to do that in the recipe below. I hope you guys enjoy it and that you make your own little cookout at home while the weather is nice, too!
Barbecue Plum Spatchcocked Chicken
- 1 chicken
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 large yellow onion (chopped)
- 3 ripe plums (pitted and quartered)
- 2 long skewers
To spatchcock the chicken, lay it on its breast so that the back is facing up. Using a very sharp pair of kitchen shears, cut along one side of the backbone, cutting as close to it as you can without actually cutting the backbone itself. Cut along the other side of the backbone until it is separate from the bird. The backbone can be saved and used for stock or discarded.
Flip the bird over so that the breast is facing up and the back muscles are splayed out on either side of the breast. Press down firmly on the breast of the bird with the heel of your hand to flatten and break the breast bone. Place the chicken in a large resealable plastic bag, seal, and place it momentarily in the refrigerator.
Combine the plums, onion, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, and ginger in the pitcher of a blender and puree until smooth. Take 1/3 cup of the plum sauce, cover, and set aside in the refrigerator.
Add the rest of the plum sauce to the plastic bag with the chicken and press as much air out as possible out of the bag before sealing it and placing it in the refrigerator. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
In a charcoal grill, heat the coals until they're pale grey and glowing orange, about 20 minutes. Move the hot coals to one side of the grill.
Shake the excess marinade off the chicken. On a flat clean work surface, lay the chicken flat with the skin facing up. Push two long skewers through the chicken so that they form an X shape, inserting each into a leg quarter and exiting through the opposite upper corner of the chicken breast. This will make the bird easier to flip and handle with tongs while you're grilling it (otherwise that spatchcocked chicken will be a bit unruly).
Place the chicken on the opposite side of the grill from the coals. Grill until the chicken is cooked through to 165 degrees Fahrenheit and juices run clear, about 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes, depending on the heat intensity of your grill and coals, flipping once and brushing the chicken with the reserved plum sauce about every 20 minutes as it cooks. Serve immediately.