Grilled Chicken Under a Brick

Grilled Chicken Under a Brick

Remember I told you I had butterflied a chicken and was planning on grilling it under a brick?  Well now I’ll show you how I did it.

As I mentioned the other day, Pollo al Mattone, or Chicken Under a Brick is a Tuscan style of grilling chicken.  The chicken cooks quickly since it is flattened under the weight of the brick and you end up with crispy delicious skin and juicy, perfectly cooked meat.  What more could one want from a chicken?

My first step was to marinate the chicken with olive oil and herbs.  You can use any combination of herbs you like, I just used a simple mixture of garlic and rosemary.  First I stripped the leaves from 5 or 6 sprigs of rosemary (about 1/3 cup loosely packed) and peeled six cloves of garlic.

Fresh Rosemary and Garlic for Chicken Marinade

I could have finely chopped everything by hand, but the lazy person inside of me decided a mini food processor was the way to go!

Fresh Rosemary and Garlic in Food Processor

A few seconds later, I ended up with finely chopped rosemary and garlic!  If you don’t have a mini food processor, just chop everything up by hand and/or pound it with a mortar and pestle.

Rosemary and Garlic Paste

Next, I stirred in about 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil.

Rosemary and Garlic with Olive Oil

Now for the chicken!  If you’ve never butterflied a chicken, watch this video.  See how easy it is?  After cutting the chicken, I rinsed it and patted it dry with paper towels.

Butterflied or Spatchcocked Chicken

I also folded the wings under the bird so that the tips won’t burn on the grill.

Tucking Wings under the Bird

Here is the inside of my beautifully butterflied bird. Doesn’t it make you want to rub oil all over it?

Butterflied or Spatchcocked Chicken - The Flip Side

I thought so!  I poured about half of the marinade over the inside of the chicken.

Pour Rosemary Garlic Oil Over the Chicken

Then rubbed it all over, making sure to coat every single part of the bird.

Rub the Rosemary Garlic Oil All Over the Bird

Next I flipped it over and rubbed the remaining marinade all over the outside of the chicken.  After the entire chicken is well-coated with the rosemary-garlic oil, you can cover the whole pan with plastic wrap or slip the chicken into a large plastic bag and place it in the refrigerator.  Try to let it sit for at least a few hours.

Flip the Bird Over and Rub Marinade on the Outside

When you’re ready to grill the chicken, take it out of the fridge and rub some lemon juice all over it.  Right before it goes on the grill, sprinkle both sides liberally with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

Prepare your grill (gas or charcoal) for direct medium-low heat.  Allow as much marinade as possible to drip off the chicken before placing it on the grill.  Put the chicken on the grill skin side down and watch for flare-ups.  You may need to move the chicken around a bit until the flare-ups die down.  Once the flare-ups stop, put two foil-covered bricks directly on top of the chicken and allow to cook undisturbed for 15 minutes.

Put Chicken on the Grill with Bricks

This is what my chicken looked like after 15 minutes:

Chicken Under a Brick after 15 Minutes

Remove the bricks from the chicken and carefully lift it up to check the skin.  The skin should be well-browned and crispy.  If so, it’s time to flip the bird!

Ready to Flip

Mine was a little more than well-browned when I flipped it over!  Ooooops!  But we’ll just pretend that it’s perfectly browned like the last one I grilled (and of course didn’t photograph).

When you flip it over, you don’t need to put the bricks back on the chicken.  Just let it finish cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees…it will probably only take about 10 minutes.  As you can see, I flipped the wings back up on top to keep them from burning.  Not sure if it’s necessary, but it was easy enough to do.

Burnt Skin

When it’s finished, let it rest for ten minutes before carving.  Then divide it up and enjoy!

Chicken Breast

You can use any marinade or rub you want with this chicken.  You could even brine it first if you want.  And if you don’t have time to marinate it at all, that’s fine, too.  Just rub it with oil and herbs right before you grill it.  Have fun!

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  1. Weekend Update: Chicken under a Bri… Something Heavy « No Love More Sincere

    […] love food porn as much as I do, so when he sent me Pinch My Salt’s step by step photo blog of Grilled Chicken Under a Brick, I couldn’t wait to get my spatchcock & grill on! Dre & I were both working late on a […]

    7:34 pm  Sep 8th, 2009
  2. Tanya from Online Colleges

    Cool, never knew you could make chicken like this. It looks so delicious. Can’t wait to make it.

    3:08 pm  Oct 15th, 2009
  3. nattu

    it was very useful

    5:03 am  Oct 26th, 2009
  4. Julz

    Having this tonight, used a thick garlic, parsley, olive oil, s&p marinade, which I’m also using to baste and roast my boiler onions, potatoes and baby bella side! Yum! Thanks!

    3:55 pm  Feb 21st, 2010
  5. Habanero

    My wife loves the pope’s nose and back portions, so I’ll just butterfly the bird as per the excellent video and also put the pope’s nose/spine/neck on the grill along with the rest of the bird under brick. I’m sure the entire bird will turn out lovely! Thanks for such an excellent instructional video…way better than one site I’ve visited where the buddy is cooking in his mobile home on a sterno stove and videotaping his cooking diary! Whoot! Take good care and grill on!

    4:26 pm  Mar 23rd, 2010
  6. Dan Taylor

    I’ve been wanting to try this method of cooking chicken forever and finally decided that this is the week. Does anybody have any suggestions on the best size bird to get? I’m thinking something in the 4-6 lb. range…

    1:46 pm  Jun 22nd, 2010
  7. Ruth

    Dan, I think anything 3.5 to 4.5 pounds would work well. I just found this blog today and went out and got a young chicken that weighs 3.83 pounds and it feels like it will be plenty for me and my husband with leftovers.

    The marinade alone smells SOOO good. I also think using a food processor works much better than chopping. I don’t have a mini food processor, but my full-sized one worked fine with very little hassle.

    2:55 pm  Jun 23rd, 2010
  8. Dan Taylor

    Thanks Ruth. I may have gone a little big. The one I picked up is about 4.5 pounds with giblets, etc. so it’ll probably work fine. Really looking forward to giving this a go tomorrow. I’m tackling halibut fillets for the first time tonight, chicken under a brick for the first time tomorrow. Should be fun.

    4:04 pm  Jun 23rd, 2010
  9. Cande

    I found this by accident – and it looked so awesome that I just HAD to try it. Butterflied the first time on my own – not too bad… but not necessarily as pretty as it should have been. Found out after the fact that Publix (or any other meat dept will do it for you for free!) Making it again this week! Awesome! (and the pics are great for people that have never done this before! Thank you!)

    12:57 pm  Jun 27th, 2010
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  12. Candy

    OMG, this was great! I tried it last night, worked brilliantly. Thanks! I had the chicken with these. They are probably the best I’ve ever sampled:

    2:04 am  Dec 11th, 2010
  13. Susan

    I tried it for the first time. Planned to do it on a grill but it rained and had to do it in my frypan. Put my own seasoning on it . Turned out Juicy and great tasting. Made gravy from the leftovers in the pan. The best ever. Will probably do chicken this way in the future. P.S. Like the pictures

    3:54 pm  Mar 10th, 2011
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  15. Gene

    Looks fantastic! And the skin side (to me) looks perfect. And, I love all the pictures.

    8:10 am  Jun 13th, 2011
  16. Jay Osburn

    This is by far my favorite way to cook a chicken, even if the last two didn’t look like food magazine covers. I skip the bricks, though, and use a cast iron skillet. I heat the skillet on the grill and even roast potatoes in it while it is weighing the chicken down.

    11:16 am  Jun 30th, 2011
  17. linda b

    we/re making this tomorrow. love the pictures, great asset.

    4:25 pm  Jul 3rd, 2011
  18. Sara E

    Hi! Love the recipe, love the pictures. I feel much more secure making a recipe for the first time if I can see what each step should actually look like. Here’s hoping for a delicious recipe that my family will love!

    5:43 pm  Aug 4th, 2011
  19. VJ

    Great post – appreciate the great pictures

    3:42 pm  Sep 19th, 2011
  20. Mateen

    Boom skahaalka boom boom, problem solved.

    5:39 am  Oct 2nd, 2011
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  22. Patrick W.

    Looks yummy.

    3:12 pm  Feb 25th, 2012
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  25. Cayla

    So I finally had access to a grill to try this on and it did not turn out so good. The skin kept dripping onto the fire and flaring it up, burning the bird. We ended up having to pull the weights off and cooking it on the top rack. How do you keep this from happening?

    6:52 pm  Aug 29th, 2012
  26. Pete

    Lovely! Done this twice now, but I’m inclined to omit the marinade next time, and maybe just rub with salt for an hour or two. Nice photos, by the way.

    The word for spreading a chicken in this way is ‘spatchcock’.

    1:58 pm  May 17th, 2013
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    […] Tony got home, he tried his hand and grilling a whole chicken “under bricks” while the girls played outside. They rode their “tractor” around for a while, […]

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  28. Bart

    Love this method/ Instead of brick I am using my lodge cast iron grill or Lodge fry pan, depending on how big the chicken is. It works beautifully. I have also found that Moscato wine with rosemary, garlic and salt makes a perfect marinade.

    7:42 am  Oct 10th, 2013
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