It's our nation's 4th of July celebration tomorrow, and like most holidays, this one deserves a feast — a celebration through food (and maybe beer, too). If you have a rotisserie attachment for your grill hanging around, it's time to dust it off (and if you don't have one, now might be the time to finally buy it). Because today, my friends, I'm going to show you how to cook the best darn rotisserie chicken you've ever had. Time to quit messing around.
The best things in life often take extra time and extra work. The same is true for this rotisserie chicken. It starts with a good brine, and ends with a bunch of smiling faces and sticky fingers. So go ahead, make the commitment. You're worth it.
A brine solution allows meat to retain more moisture as it cooks. That's why this chicken is so juicy that you'll have trouble taking it all the way to your plate. Instead (if you're like me) you'll just eat the meat right off the bone, and make your mark with a swop of barbecue.
It's a our nation's birthday. Eat well.
Clean the chicken. Remove chicken from packaging and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Discard giblets, and trim any excess fat around the neck and tail.
How To Cook a Rotisserie Chicken
Makes 1 chicken, serves 2 to 4
What You Need
1 whole chicken, about 4 lbs
3/4 cup kosher salt (plus more for seasoning)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 small red onion
3-4 garlic cloves
1/2 cup cilantro
Freshly ground black pepper
Rotisserie grill attachment
Clean the chicken: Remove chicken from its packaging and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Discard giblets, and trim any excess fat around the neck and tail.
Prepare the brine: In a large pot, mix one gallon of cold water with 3/4 cup kosher salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved.
Brine the chicken: Submerge the chicken the brine and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.
Prepare the vegetable stuffing: Just before removing the chicken, dice the onion, garlic, and cilantro. Mix together and set aside.
Remove the chicken from the brine: Take the chicken out of the brine mixture and rinse thoroughly to remove all excess salt. Pat dry.
Season the chicken: Carefully stick your fingers between the skin of the chicken and the breast meat to create an opening. Stuff the vegetable mixture beneath the skin of the chicken and rub it inside the chicken as well. Season with extra salt and pepper.
Truss the chicken: Truss the chicken with the cooking twine. This is important for sealing the cavity of the chicken to ensure even and slow cooking. There's a helpful video here if you've never done it before.
Prepare the grill: Remove the grill grates from grill and place a shallow baking pan in their place. The pan will catch drippings and prevent flare-ups. Set the grill for medium-high to high heat and preheat to 375°F.
Secure the chicken to rotisserie spit: Securely clamp the chicken between the spit forks and turn on rotisserie motor.
Baste chicken: With a basting brush, thoroughly coat chicken with the barbecue sauce of your choice. You will want to baste the chicken (with sauce and drippings) at 20 to 30 minute intervals throughout the cooking process.
Cook the chicken: Let chicken cook over indirect heat until the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165°F and has a deep golden skin (1 to 2 hours).
Remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest: When finished cooking, remove the chicken from the rotisserie spit and let it set at room temperature for at least 15 minutes. This will give the chicken time to reabsorb its juices.
Cut and serve. After the chicken has sufficiently rested. Cut, serve, and enjoy! It's ok to eat it right off the bone — I won't judge.
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(Images: Chris Perez)