It's summer and it's time to heat up the grill and start cooking outdoors. I'm really excited to team up with America's Test Kitchen to make a recipe from their fantastic new book, Master of the Grill. The book is packed with beautiful foolproof recipes, gadget recommendations, tips, tricks and some fascinating food science to easily make you a master of the grill.
When first flipping through the book, I kept reaching for those little sticky tab markers to bookmark all the recipes I can't wait to make. It was so difficult to choose what to make first, because everything looks so delicious. With a recent major craving for some smokey BBQ chicken, I decided that one of the many chicken recipes would be perfect.
The Glazed Grill-Roasted Chicken recipe has three different glaze options to choose from, which means you will never get tired of cooking whole chickens with this method. I decided on the Brown Sugar-Balsamic glaze, which was quite tasty itself before it even went on the chicken.
One of the big issues when grilling whole chickens is getting the skin right. Cooking on direct heat can easily char the skin for the amount of time it needs to cook to get the chicken to the proper temperature. Indirect heat doesn't get the skin as crispy and flavorful as it should be. America's Test Kitchen thought of the ingenious method of elevating the chicken on a v-rack so it grills over the direct heat, but doesn't touch the grill grates. It works fantastic and it gives you a great excuse to use your v-rack more than once a year for Thanksgiving turkey.
The sweet-smokey result of this chicken is just the best, and it is so darn juicy. It goes fantastic accompanied with Mexican Style Grilled Corn, which is also a recipe in the book.
There's nothing like the smell of BBQ chicken going when you have a cold beer in your hand and the warm sun at your back. Personally, I love using a charcoal grill. Yes, it takes a few minutes to load up the chimney started with crumpled-up newspaper, light it, and then wait for the coals to burn down a bit; but it's so worth it. The temperature gets much hotter, is more controllable and the result of the flavor isn't even comparable to gas. The convenience of gas isn't worth it, in my opinion.
Lighting charcoals with a chimney starter might seem a bit daunting, but it really is super easy. The book contains great instructions and tips for doing it right, and I also have a post for how to use a charcoal chimney starter.
This method requires the birds to be rotated and flipped throughout the process, which is quite easy because of the v-rack. The chickens need to move to get browned all around and cooked through evenly.
The glaze goes on really easily and sticks because the glaze is first cooked down a bit to thicken it before brushing on. The glaze goes on once the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees.
Sweet and Smokey Glazed Chicken
- 2 3 ½ to 4 lb whole chickens, giblets discarded
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
Brown Sugar-Balsamic Glaze
- ⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Spray v-rack with vegetable oil spray. Pat chickens dry with paper towels and prick skin all over with a skewer or paring knife. Combine Sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl, then rub seasoning mix all over the chickens. Tuck wings behind the back and tie legs together with kitchen twine. Arrange chickens, breast side up, head to tail on prepared V-rack.
For Charcoal Grill
- Open the bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When the top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over the grill. Set the cooking grate in place, cover and open the lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
For a Gas Grill
- Turn all burners to high, cover and heat the grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn all burners to low. (Adjust primary burner as needed to maintain grill temperature around 325 degrees.)
For the Brown Sugar-Balsamic Glaze
- Simmer brown sugar, balsamic and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Warm glaze through before brushing on the chicken.
To Cook the Chickens
- Arrange the v-rack on the cooking grate and grill, covered, until the back of each chicken is well browned, about 15 minutes. Flip chickens and repeat until breasts are well browned and thighs register 155 degrees, 30 to 40 minutes longer. Brush chickens with glaze and continue grilling with lid on, flipping and glazing chickens every 5 minutes, until lightly charred in spots and breasts register 160 degrees and thighs register 175 degrees, 15 to 25 minutes.
- Transfer chickens to carving board, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve and drizzle chicken with the remaining glaze. Serve.
This post was written in partnership with America's Test Kitchen. All thoughts and opinions are my own.