Spice Rubbed Chicken Under a Brick with Lemon, Mint and Cilantro

By • February 22, 2010 11 Comments

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Author Notes: Chicken under a Brick is a surefire way to ensure even, quick cooking. The key is to weigh down the chicken while it cooks so that more surface area will be in direct contact with the heat. This is where the brick comes in (or in my case a heavy Dutch oven.) Have your butcher remove the backbone from a whole chicken and butterfly it. Marinate the chicken for several hours before grilling for flavorful succulent results. This recipe calls for an aromatic paste of cilantro, mint, lemon and garlic, but feel free to use your favorite herbs and spices. A dry spice rub is added before cooking, giving an extra boost of flavor and heat, while enhancing the crispiness of the skin.TasteFood

Serves 4

  • 1 whole chicken (3-4 lb.), backbone removed, butterflied
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Combine garlic, coriander, mint, one teaspoon salt, and lemon zest in a mortar with pestle. Smash to a paste. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil and stir to combine.
  2. Rub chicken all over both sides with paste, including between skin and breast meat. Place on a tray or platter and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before roasting.
  3. Preheat oven to 475 F. Mix one teaspoon salt, paprika, cumin and black pepper together in a small bowl. Rub chicken all over with spice rub.
  4. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken, skin-side down, in skillet. Place 1-2 bricks wrapped in foil (or cast iron pan or Dutch oven) over chicken.
  5. Cook chicken over medium-high heat without moving brick until well browned, 10 minutes, occasionally rotating skillet to ensure even cooking. Remove from heat and remove brick.
  6. Carefully turn chicken over in the skillet with a largy heavy-weight spatula or tongs, without piercing the skin. Transfer to oven (without brick). Bake until done, about 20-30 minutes, depending on size of chicken. Let rest, covered loosely with foil, 10 minutes before carving.

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