Putting a spin on chicken


Rotisserie Chicken

You can buy rotisserie-barbecued chicken in most grocery stores, but there’s nothing quite like it doing it yourself. Peeking at the bird occasionally, and watching it rotate slowly around the spit, dripping with basting juices, is rather mesmerizing. And the heavenly aroma that wafts from the barbecue can have a trance-like effect.

Basted with a simple concoction of melted butter (you can use oil instead if you prefer) and simple seasonings and slowly rotated gives the finished bird a crispy skin and a tender, evenly cooked texture. Not bad considering the minimal amount of attention required by you, the BBQ chef, once you’ve prepped the chicken and affixed it to the rotisserie.

If your barbecue doesn’t come with a rotisserie, you can likely buy one as an attachment. The key to successfully using it is trussing the chicken with kitchen twine so that the bird’s appendages are secured, then positioning the chicken in an evenly balanced position so the rod spins smoothly. For a great lesson on trussing a chicken for the rotisserie, check About.com’s Barbecuing and Grilling information

You will want to place a pan underneath the chicken to catch the juices and avoid drips that will cause firey flare-ups and blinding smoke! The pan should be filled with some water or water and wine, beer, juice or broth. Toss in some fresh herbs and sliced onions or garlic, if desired. In the photo above (which I took just before the chicken came off the barbecue), I removed the drip pan to take a clearer picture of the chicken.

The recipe we used last weekend was pretty basic, but the bird turned out moist and delicious with a crispy, flavourful skin. If desired, to add flavour to the meat, place apple, lemon or onion wedges, or peeled garlic cloves in the cavity of the chicken. A recipe search of rotisserie chicken recipes on the internet will yield other interesting basting possibilities.

Rotisserie Chicken
(Makes 6 servings)

3 to 4 lb (1.5 to 2 kg) whole chicken
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup (60 mL) butter, melted
1 tablespoon (15 mL) paprika or smoked paprika
1-1/2 teaspoons (7 mL) salt
1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground pepper

Preheat grill on high heat (about 400F/200C). Season inside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Truss chicken with skewers and/or string, tying legs together and folding wings under the bird so the appendages don’t flop about as the bird rotates on the rotisserie. Place chicken on rotisserie rod.

Fill a drip pan (a foil pan or old cake pan will work well) half full of water. Place pan underneath where chicken will be. Position rotisserie rod with chicken on barbecue. Close lid of barbecue and cook for 10 minutes on high heat.

Meanwhile, combine butter, paprika, salt and pepper.

After 10 minutes, turn grill to medium heat (about 350F/175C). Baste chicken with butter mixture. Close lid of barbecue and cook for about 1-1/2 hours, basting occasionally, until skin is golden brown and a thermometer inserted in the thigh reaches 180F (85C).

Remove chicken from rotisserie and place on a plate or baking pan. Cover with foil and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting into pieces and serving.