Chicken alla Diavola

July 18, 2014
1 Ratings
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

Neither one of us particularly likes very spicy food. The intensity of the heat can get in the way of the flavor, and we're usually more interested in flavor rather than sensation. But there are exceptions, and this Italian classis -- devilishly spicy grilled chicken -- is one: It makes our lips burn and tingle, but the heat and flavor are balanced just right. It's the kind of food we crave when the weather gets hot. We wash it down with cold rosato. Bliss. —The Canal House

What You'll Need
  • one 3- to 4-pound chicken
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut out the backbone of the chicken (save it for making stock, if you like). Rinse the bird and pat it dry with paper towels. Spread the chicken out skin side up so it lays flat. Tuck the wing tips neatly behind the wings or snip them off. Season the chicken all over with the black pepper, red pepper flakes, and salt, rubbing the seasonings into the skin until it is well coated. Put the chicken skin side up in a large dish. Combine the lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl and pour it over the bird. Let the chicken marinate at room temperature for 1 hour, turning it over halfway through.
  2. Prepare a medium-hot fire to one side of a charcoal grill. If using a gas grill, fire up the "back burner" to medium-hot heat. Grill the chicken skin side down in the center of the grill until well marked and slightly charred in places, about 20 minutes. Baste the chicken often with the leftover marinade, taking care not to drip too much oil onto the coals to avoid flare-ups. Move the chicken to a cooler spot on the grill if there are flare-ups and the chicken begins to burn. Turn the chicken and grill the other side until the thigh juices run clear when pierced, about 20 minutes.
  3. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for about 10 minutes before cutting it up and serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • nana marie
    nana marie
  • Don Roszel
    Don Roszel
  • AntoniaJames
  • Kelly Deen
    Kelly Deen

9 Reviews

nana M. October 3, 2018
I am wondering if this could be done with a duck. I am always looking for ways to cook crispy duck. In a cast iron skillet maybe ? Or broiler pan?
Heather September 3, 2018
The perfect simple rustic dinner. Even when the propane tank on grill turned out to be empty, this worked equally well on a roasting rack in a 375 degree oven. 45ish minutes flipping half way through. This will be added to the regular rotation when simple prep and simole cooking are what sounds best.
Don R. December 2, 2014
Why might work is to preheat a cast iron skillet in a 500 degree oven. Then out the skillet on the stove over high flame and sear chicken while lowering oven temp to something like 350. After searing the chicken put it back in the now cooler oven and cook til done. I've done this with steaks with great success. Might work with chicken too
John December 2, 2014
Any chance this can be done in a cast iron pan in the oven when a grill is not available?
lovehandles July 26, 2014
Can I clarify the placement of the chicken on the grill? Is it cooked indirectly i.e to one side of the coals, or directly?
klrcon July 23, 2014
Am I correct in assuming that the lemon juice and olive oil are used while grilling to baste the chicken? I'd love to give this a try as it sounds like an intriguing grilled version of something my mom used to make on the stovetop when I was a kid. But I'd appreciate some clarification on the instructions, please.
AntoniaJames July 23, 2014
Grilling the lemon is such a great idea. Glad to see you spreading the word here. ;o)
Don R. July 23, 2014
Like Kelley said, no mention of olive oil or lemon juice in the instructions. The picture implies that perhaps the squeezed lemon remains are grilled? Presume the marinade is the mixture of lemon juice and olive oil???
Kelly D. July 23, 2014
Recipe is missing the lemon juice and olive oil in the instructions