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Video: Take your grilled chicken to the next level

  1. Closed captioning of: Take your grilled chicken to the next level

    >>> can do this! this morning, we're talking about grilled chicken made easy. adam rapoport is bon appetit 's editor in chief. he's got great tips to make you a more successful outdoor griller.

    >> good morning.

    >>> buy the best chicken you can get. antibiotic or hormone-free. for a whole chicken , about 3 to 4 pounds. $3 a pound, about.

    >> wash the chicken .

    >> wash the chicken , pat it dry. let's talk parts. they love bone less chicken breast . they should be eating bone less chicken thigh.

    >> i love chicken thigh.

    >> you're a thigh guy.

    >> i love chicken thigh.

    >> when you're ready to grill , bring everything you need out. you don't want to run back and forth. that's when flare-ups happen. it's a messy job. bring towels with you. then you need tongues, brush to apply stuff, salt and pepper , have it on a sheet tray. all right there. boom, you're good to guy.

    >> this is important. it's healthwise important.

    >> don't put the chicken you grilled back on the platter where the raw chicken was.

    >> always bring out a clean platter with you ready to go healthwise, aesthetic, you name it, you got it.

    >> you have a simple rub for chicken .

    >> four parts salt, three parts brown sugar , one part cayenne for heat. you mix it up. you can put it on everything from a whole bird to the bone less chicken thighs right here.

    >> you put this on right before you grill the chicken ?

    >> i do 20 minutes , half hour. the biggest mistake people make is they don't season the meat before they put it on the grill enough. that's where the flavor gets infused. you got to give it time to absorb the flavor.

    >> we're going to take it to the grill in a second. you start to cook it, which side, skin side up or down?

    >> i like to do skin side -- skin side up to let it cook through a little bit. if you do skin-on, it's not over too intense heat. then it will burn.

    >> bring this over here. you've got your grill and you want us to remember, basically it's an outdoor kitchen.

    >> it's an outdoor stove. if you have a cast iron skillet, throw it on the grill . this is our version of fajitas there. we're going to throw the chicken right in. couple pieces. you can put a little oil in if you want. thighs have enough fat, this will be delicious.

    >> does it take longer to cook in an iron skillet than directly over the grill ?

    >> the one thing about a skillet, you won't get flame-up. you'll get more of an even cooking surface. you won't get that char perhaps but it's easier to manage.

    >> let's be obvious here. you put that skillet on that grill , that handle it's going to become hot.

    >> don't be that guy and i have been that guy.

    >> exactly. you like to butterfly the ching chicken , the whole chicken ?

    >> if you have shears, you can do it. ask your butcher or meat counter guy to do it for you. press it down. what you want to do, grill it, flip it over. oh, my god, this is delicious. if you have a brick, put foil on it and you can buy a grill press from any kitchen store.

    >> to end, we can't have the grilling segment without beer can chicken .

    >> we pour it on there. our moment.

    >> al will do it.

    >> al, come on.

    >> most important thing is the drip pan in the middle. you don't want direct heat. 45 minutes to an hour. gorgeous.

    >> he looks so relaxed, that chicken .

    >> al, you've done this once or twice?

    >> i've steamed me a chicken or two. it's fantastic. it's really moist and you got those drippings to put them in, with dipping sauce.

    >> it could not be easier to do. 155 is the temperature to make sure it's cooked through.

    >> is it better on --

    >> gas grill is fine as long as you don't have the chicken directly over the flame.

    >> any kind of beer?

    >> any kind of beer. that's the most important.

    >>> thanks adam.

    >> let's eat.

    >> after your local news.

    >> and weather. .

    >>> from nbc news, this is "today's" takes with al roker , natalie morales and willie geist . live from studio 1a in rockefeller plaza .

    >>> august 8, 2013 , i'm willie geist with al roker and natalie

TODAY recipes
updated 8/8/2013 9:19:11 AM ET 2013-08-08T13:19:11

Recipe: Chicken under a brick

  • 1 3 1/2–4-lb. chicken, backbone removed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 2 bricks wrapped in foil

Prepare grill for high, indirect heat (for a charcoal grill, bank coals on 1 side of grill; for a gas grill, leave 1 or 2 burners off).

Place chicken on work surface, skin side up. Using your palms, press firmly on breastbone to flatten breast.

Rub chicken with oil; season with salt and pepper. Tuck wings slightly under breast. Place chicken, skin side down, over indirect heat, set bricks on top, and grill, covered, until skin is golden and crisp, 25–30 minutes. Using tongs, remove bricks; turn chicken, skin side up. Replace bricks and continue grilling until chicken is cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh registers 165°, 25–30 minutes longer.


Special equipment: 2 bricks wrapped in foil.

Recipe: Beer-can chicken

  • 1 can light lager
  • 1 3 1/2–4-lb. chicken
  • 2 tablespoons spice rub
  • Foil baking pan

Pour out (or drink) half of beer.

Prepare grill for high, indirect heat and fit with grill pan (for a charcoal grill, bank coals on 1 side of grill and put drip pan on empty side; for a gas grill, leave 1 burner turned off and place drip pan over unlit burner). Add water to pan to a depth of 1/2 inch.

Season chicken with spice rub. Place cavity of chicken, legs pointing down, onto open can so that it supports chicken upright. Place can, with chicken, on grill over indirect heat (and above drip pan). Grill chicken, covered, until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh registers 165°, 45–60 minutes. (If using charcoal, you may need to add more to maintain heat.) Let chicken rest 10 minutes before carving. Serve with pan drippings.


Wing tip:
Use a can opener to remove the entire top of the beer can (pour out half). It'll maximize the boozy vapors that make it to the chicken.

Special equipment: A foil baking pan (for drip pan).

Recipe: Herbed grilled chicken wings and thighs

  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds chicken wings
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs

Combine garlic, oregano, rosemary, and oil in a large resealable plastic bag; season with salt and pepper. Add chicken wings, seal bag, and turn to coat. Chill at least 1 hour or overnight.

Prepare grill for medium heat. Remove wings from marinade and grill, covered and turning occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, 15–20 minutes.


Do ahead: Chicken can be marinated 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Recipe: Slate-grilled chicken tacos

  • 1 medium onion, cut into wedges, keeping root intact
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, coarsely crushed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 corn tortillas, warmed (for serving)
  • 2 avocados, sliced (for serving)
  • Charred tomatillo salsa verde (for serving)
  • Cilantro sprigs, sliced radishes, and lime wedges (for serving)

Chicken: Toss onion, garlic, chicken, cumin, oil, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

Plancha: A charcoal grill is our first choice since it gets hotter than a gas grill, but both will work. For charcoal, fill your grill with a 4-inch layer of unlit hardwood charcoal. Meanwhile, light a chimney starter filled with charcoal. When the coals are ready, dump them over the unlit charcoal coals. Refit the grill grate and position the slate on top. Let it heat while the bottom layer of coals ignites. If using a gas grill, place slate on cold grill grate, turn burners to high, then close the lid and heat for 20 minutes.

The slate might crack, but don’t worry. Lightly coat the surface with olive oil and start grilling as soon as it’s really hot (water should evaporate immediately). Never lift the slate off the grate while the grill is lit. Instead, remove the grate, slate and all using sturdy oven mitts.

Grill onion and chicken until cooked through and lightly charred, about 4 minutes per side. Let chicken rest 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with tortillas, avocados, tomatillo salsa verde, cilantro, radishes, and lime wedges.

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