Or, as I like to call it, Hawaii on a spit.
I love rotisserie chicken. I love pineapple on the grill. Why not put them together? Pineapple and chicken are a match made in rotisserie heaven.
*I worry about rotisserie pineapple for dessert; skewering the pineapple with a branding-iron hot spit from my main course seems like an invitation to disaster. This recipe works around the problem by cooking the chicken and the pineapple at the same time.
The pineapple made me think of Hawaii. I brined the chicken with salt and Hawaiian cane sugar to complete the theme. And I sprinkled the pineapple with cinnamon sugar, to give it extra carmelization and a spicy crust.
*The cinnamon sugar optional; unadorned pineapple on the rotisserie is great. But…why not go for the extra touch?
Now, two chickens and a pineapple are a tight fit on the spit for my Weber kettle. I had to squeeze the chicken tight on the spit forks to get enough room for the pineapple. Don’t use chickens larger than 4 pounds; 3 1/2 pound chickens fit even better.
Recipe: Rotisserie Chicken and Pineapple Hawaii Style
Inspired By: Steven Raichlen Planet Barbecue
Cook time: 60 minutes
- Grill with Rotisserie attachment (I used a Weber kettle with the Rotisserie attachment; the kettle is here and the rotisserie attachment is here)
- Three spit forks for the rotisserie (two to hold the chicken, one to hold the pineapple – the third fork is optional, but useful.)
- Aluminum foil drip pan (9″x12″, or whatever fits your grill)
- Butcher’s twine
- 2 whole chickens, 4 pounds each
- 3 quarts water
- 3/4 cups table salt
- 1/2 cup cane sugar (aka turbinado sugar, or Sugar in the Raw, or substitute brown sugar)
- smoking wood (2 fist sized chunks of oak or hickory, or 1 oak wine barrel stave)
- 1 Pineapple, trimmed and rind removed
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
See my Basic Technique: Rotisserie Poultry for an overview of rotisserie chicken.
1. Brine the chicken: In a container large enough to hold the chicken, stir the water, salt, and cane sugar until the salt and sugar dissolve. Add the chicken to the brine and refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours. While the chicken brines, soak the smoking wood in water. Also, stir the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.
2. Truss and skewer the chicken and pineapple: Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Fold the wingtips back under the chicken, then truss the chicken tightly. (See the rotisserie basic technique for trussing details). Cut the top and bottom off the pineapple. Working around the outside of the pineapple, cut the rind off in 1″ strips, making sure you cut deep enough to remove the eyes. Once the first strip of rind is removed, the eyes are visible; use them as a guide for how deep to cut while working around the rest of the pineapple. Using a long, thin knife, poke a guide hole through the center of the pineapple. Put a fork on the spit, then skewer the pineapple. Then, skewer the chickens on the spit.
*Get them on there tight; if you’re using a Weber kettle rotisserie like I am in the pictures, they will barely fit – make sure to squeeze the chickens together as much as you can. I like to put one set of prongs under the breast of the first chicken, then I put the second bird on upside down compared to the first bird; this gave me just enough room to get the second fork on the spit.
3. Prepare the grill: Prepare the grill for cooking on indirect high heat (see details here), then put the soaked smoking wood on the lit coals. For my Weber kettle, I light a chimney starter* full of charcoal, wait for it to be covered with ash, then pour it in two equal piles on the sides of the grill, and put the drip pan in the middle, between the piles. Finally, I put the wine barrel stave on one of the piles of coals.
*I highly recommend the Weber Chimney Starter, because it is larger than most chimney starters. It holds 5 quarts of charcoal, which exactly the right size for cooking this recipe.
4. Cook the chicken and pineapple: Put the spit on the grill, turn on the rotisserie motor, and cook with the lid closed. The birds will cook for about 15 minutes per pound. 4 pound birds will be done after an hour, 3 1/2 pound birds in 45 minutes. Ten minutes before you think the birds will be done, sprinkle the pineapple with the cinnamon sugar. The chicken is done when the internal temperature of the breast reaches 160*F to 165*F.
5. Serve: Immediately remove the chicken and pineapple from the spit, then remove the trussing twine from the chicken, and sprinkle the pineapple with cinnamon sugar one more time. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes, then slice the pineapple, and carve and serve the chicken.
*This recipe really works best with three rotisserie forks – one to hold the pineapple, and another two to squeeze the chicken together. I have an extra set of forks for my kettle rotisserie, left over from my Weber Genesis rotisserie. If you need extra forks for your Weber kettle rotisserie, they can be ordered directly from Weber Customer Service at 800-446-1071.
*To save a little work, you could buy a whole, pre-trimmed pineapple instead of trimming it yourself. But…to me, pre-trimmed pineapples have a hint of canned pineapple taste. Once you learn to trim pineapple yourself, using the technique I describe above, it’s a breeze. Why bother with pre-trimmed?
*Special thanks to Jeff and Melanie at Brunty Farms for the chicken. I’m in the Poultry CSA this year – two chickens and two dozen eggs every two weeks. This is the first recipe to come from the CSA; with two chickens every two weeks, expect a lot more chicken recipes from me as the summer rolls along…
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Steven Raichlen, Planet Barbecue
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