Here’s a grilling showstopper: chicken under a brick. Known in Italian as pollo al mattone, chicken under a brick involves prepping the chicken so it lies flat and grilling it skin-side down with a weight on top. When flattened, a whole chicken will grill fast and yield crisp, golden-brown skin and evenly cooked meat. Read on and learn the easy method for making this tender and juicy chicken.
This easy – yet impressive – recipe is the perfect choice summer backyard meals. Learn the simple technique and use it all summer.
The first step to making chicken under a brick is to spatchcock it, which means to remove the backbone. This can be easily done with kitchen shears.
Start with a smaller chicken (about 3-3.5 pounds), and place it breast-side down on a cutting board. Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut along each side of the backbone. Remove and discard the backbone (or save it for making stock). Open up the bird slightly.
At the top of the breastbone, you will see a small piece of white cartilage. Make a small vertical cut into the cartilage, about 1/2-inch long. Bend the chicken halves backward, and the breastbone will start to pop out. Remove it with a paring knife. The chicken should now be able to lie completely flat. Trim away any lumps of fat. You can choose to cut off the wings or tuck them under so they don’t burn.
Adding Flavor to Your Chicken
Mix together a simple marinade of fresh herbs (e.g., rosemary, thyme, or tarragon), chopped garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Rub over both sides of the chicken. Tuck some fresh herbs under the skin for a pretty presentation and even more flavor. Let the bird marinate in the refrigerator anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight.
How to Grill the Chicken
Start the bird on the hottest part of the grill skin-side down. Weigh the chicken down with a couple of bricks wrapped in foil. If you don’t have bricks, use a heavy cast-iron pan. Wrapping the weights in foil will help with clean-up, and protect your chicken. Grill for 15 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and golden brown.
Remove the weights and turn the chicken over, transfer to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking. Place the bricks on top again.
To test for doneness, insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the meat; the thermometer should read 165 degrees F. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.
No grill? No problem! Our chicken under a brick recipe can be made in the oven.
Serve the chicken with a salad topped with shaved fennel and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and a loaf of fresh bread. Or try our Panzanella-style salad with bacon.
Choose D’Artagnan heritage and Green Circle™ chicken, our organic chicken, or air-chilled chicken – each of our birds offers great taste. Or try semi-boneless poussin for a convenient alternative (no spatchcocking required).
Since 1985, D’Artagnan has been at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement, producing superior tasting products by partnering with small ranches and farms. We are committed to free-range, natural production, sustainable and humane farming practices and no use of antibiotics or hormones. That’s why D’Artagnan products have been revered by America’s most renowned chefs for over 30 years. We offer the same high-quality products to home cooks at dartagnan.com, along with recipes and guides to help you live the tasty life.