This recipe is a happy accident.
I’m working on my next cookbook, Rotisserie Chicken Grilling. I hope you all like rotisserie chicken as much as I do…because I’ve got a lot of recipes coming.
If I can just get this stupid book finished. It’s killing me. Killing me!
This recipe was supposed to be loosely modeled after Chicken Alla Diavola, with an Italian style herb paste made up of olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, black and red peppers. Except…I got a little distracted while I was making it. I was testing two recipes at once, and worrying more about the pictures I needed to take. I lost track of the ingredient list. I forgot the olive oil, garlic, and lemon zest, and made a dry brine with salt, black pepper, and a lot of red pepper flakes. That’s it.
A few hours later, when the chicken was spinning on the spit, I realized this wasn’t the chicken I intended to make. I apologized to my wife and kids as I was serving it.
Which was another mistake. To paraphrase Julia Child, never apologize at the table. Just go with it, and pretend it was what you meant to do all along.
Turns out, everyone preferred the accident recipe to the other one. My wife demanded the other wing, and my oldest, who has no heat tolerance, went back for seconds.
My family is showing remarkable patience as I work on this cookbook. We’ve had a lot of rotisserie chicken over the last few months, and they’re still enjoying it. Though I think they’d be happier if I mixed in burgers every now and again.
So, here it is: accidentally dry brined rotisserie chicken. No apologies necessary.
Recipe: Rotisserie Chicken with Italian Black and Red Pepper Dry Brine
- Grill with a rotisserie (I use a Weber kettle with the charcoal kettle rotisserie kit)
- Aluminum foil drip pan (9“x13”, or whatever fits your grill. I use an enameled steel roasting pan or Weber Extra-Large aluminum foil drip pans.)
- Butchers twine
- Instant Read Thermometer
Rotisserie Chicken with Italian Black and Red Pepper Dry Brine. Rotisserie chicken with a crunchy crust of red and black peppercorns.
- 1 (4 pound) chicken
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- Dry brine the chicken: Mix the dry brine ingredients in a small bowl. Season the chicken with the dry brine, inside and out. Gently work your fingers under the skin on the breast, then rub some of the dry brine directly onto the breast meat. Refrigerate for at least eight hours, preferably overnight. One hour before cooking, remove the chicken from the refrigerator to take the chill off. Fold the wingtips under the wings and truss the chicken. Skewer the chicken on the rotisserie spit, securing it with the spit forks. Let the chicken rest at room temperature until it is time to grill.
- Set up the grill for indirect high heat: Set the grill up for indirect high heat with the drip pan in the middle of the grill. 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 charcoal grate. Then I put the drip pan in the middle of the grate, between the piles of coals.
- Rotisserie cook the chicken: Put the spit on the grill, start the motor spinning, and make sure the drip pan is centered beneath the chicken. Close the lid and cook until the chicken reaches 160°F in the thickest part of the breast, about 1 hour.
- Serve: Remove the chicken from the rotisserie spit and remove the twine trussing the chicken. Be careful – the spit and forks are blazing hot. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes, then carve and serve.
Need help with trussing and spitting? See my video on how to truss and spit a chicken: Rotisserie Grilling: Two Chickens (video)
- You can get a minor dry brining effect if you salt the chicken an hour before cooking, but for best results it takes at least eight hours. If you’re really behind schedule, don’t dry brine at all – salt the chicken right before trussing it. It won’t get the deep seasoning of a dry brine, but it will still taste great.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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