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Once the weather starts to warm, and this year I think that started in February, and the rains stop, and this year I think that the rains never really started, I love to turn to the grill for making meals. There’s just something special about cooking on fire. And this recipe for Rotisserie Chicken is one of my summer favorites. Actually, if it’s not raining, it’s an easy anytime dinner, as once the whole thing is set-up, you only have to pay a bit of attention to it. Really, it self-bastes as it turns, keeping the chicken super juicy. You get the credit, the chicken does the work. I like that.
A better than Costco rotisserie chicken recipe
The only time I had a problem was, one time I didn’t tighten the screws on the prongs well enough. The spit turned, the chicken didn’t. With each turn, the prongs got further and further away from holding that chicken and well…I caught it in time to keep half from burning and half being raw…but that’s just something you need to check on…occasionally… as the bird is cooking.
One summer, when my FIL came to visit, I made this chicken.
“Wow,” he exclaimed “you made this? I thought you could only get Rotisserie Chicken at Costco”.
No, you can make it yourself. You just need a rotisserie. Sometimes it’s just too easy to impress. And this is one of those times.
The first step to making a really tender juicy rotisserie chicken is to brine it. I like to put mine in a brine first thing in the morning and let it go all day. Sometimes, when the chicken is not thawed, I will put it in the night before, the salt in the brine helps the chicken thaw while it brines and flavors it. So frozen chicken is A-OK to start with. Just allow time for it to fully thaw and brine.
Chicken always improves when brined, so take the time to brine
My brine is salt, sugar, lemon, thyme, rosemary a little bay leaf, and peppercorns.
Quick and easy.
The acid from the lemon helps not only to flavor but also, as buttermilk does, changes the texture of the chicken making it more tender. Keep the bird, in the brine, in the refrigerator until about an hour before you are ready to cook. Then remove it, rinse it, and allow it to come to room temperature. And please, make sure you use cold cold water when you brine. You don’t want to start any bacteria from forming…no…no bacteria. I use ice cubes in my cold water once I’ve stirred in and dissolved my salt and sugar. COLD…brrrrrrrr….
One of the biggest problems I had with making this chicken was seasoning it.
Well, first of all, I don’t think the chicken needs any oil rubbed on it. As I said, it self-bastes. But I do need a little bit of moisture to get the seasonings to “stick”. And as it bastes as it turns, I think all sides of the bird need seasoning. The issue was, no matter what surface I tried to use when I was doing the seasoning, it would get wet. And wet made the seasonings go into the water/wet…not stay on the bird.
As my pot of brine sat in front of me I had an epiphany. Set my rotisserie, WITH my bird on it, on TOP of the pot and use the pot to keep it from being in its own wateriness. PERFECTO KEENO...it worked perfectly. And since it was already on the rotisserie, I didn’t even knock any herbs or spices off as I generally did when I put it on the rotisserie after the fact.
As far as the seasonings you use, it depends on what you want as a final result. In my case, I used a very simple salt, pepper, and Herbs de Province seasoning, Italian seasonings would work as well. If you are going for a more BBQ flavor, use a rub. There are many good pre-made rubs on the market (just watch out for MSG and extreme amounts of salt or sugar) or make your own, such as the one I used for my Beer Can (Dancing) Chicken recipe. Super simple to put together, no sugar added at all, and absolutely no MSG.
Finally, put the bird on the rotisserie to cook. Make sure your fire is off heat, the place where the chicken is actually cooking should not have a fire under it. Control your temperature, I like between 325º and 350º…more towards the 325º though, slowly roasted tenderness. Be sure to put a drip pan in, as there will be drips.
Right now the only BBQ I own that has the rotisserie is the gas one…and I really really want to do this on a real, wood, smoking, loverly Que. One day. Maybe next Mother’s Day? I would really like that …
But the results are really awesome anyway. I think it’s that whole, baste yourself theory. You know what you like, so just do it…
In a large deep pot or bowl large enough to hold the chicken fully immersed, fill with about 1 quart of cold water. Add the salt and sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Once dissolved add 2 cups of ice cubes. Squeeze the lemon juice into the water, then add the lemon halves along with the herbs and spices. Remove any innards from the chicken and trim it of excessive skin and fat. Put the chicken, breast side down into the water, then fill the pot with cold water until the chicken is completely covered. Place the pot in the refrigerator and allow it to brine for at least an hour, 8 is better.
Prepare your BBQ for off center heat, and heat to between 325°F and 350°F. Place a drip pan where the chicken will be doing its rotisserie thing.
Remove the chicken from the brine, rinse and pat partially dry, you want some moisture on the outside to help hold the spice mixture on the bird. Thread the chicken onto the rotisserie and tighten the screws (or whatever you have to hold it on your rotisserie) tight. Tuck the wings behind the birds back and tie the legs together with cooking string. Season the bird with the spices of choice and place the rotisserie on the BBQ, turn on and cook for about and hour to an hour and a half, depending on how hot your fire is. Check occasionally to make sure the rotisserie AND the chicken are turning. When cooked, the internal temperature should be between 160°F and 165°F. Using oven mitts, carefully remove the rotisserie from the BBQ and the chicken from the rotisserie. Place on a cutting board and allow to rest for 5 - 10 minutes. Cut and serve. LindySez: this is one time you may want to have a bit of that skin
**Ready in – well, it depends on how long you brine the chicken, and I know you are going to brine it so…from the time you put it on the BBQ to the time it’s done should be about 60 to 90 minutes as I like to go with a lower heat with this cooking method.
LindySez: You might notice that I say to rinse the chicken under water. There is a bit of controversy about rinsing chicken and the potential health hazard of spraying bacteria all over with the water spraying off the chicken. Well, if you have your water on really hard, and hold your chicken really high, there is that potential. But if you rinse it under fairly low-pressure water and deep in the sink, I think you can safely clean your sink afterward and wipe the counters and you’ll be good to go.
Wine Suggestions: This chicken as I prepared it with my simple spice mixture went beautifully with Chardonnay. Also great with Sauv Blanc or Pinot Gris. If you were to go more towards the BBQ flavors, try a Sangiovese, or other light red. ~ Cheers.
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