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 delightfully crispy skin and juicy, perfectly cooked meat. What more could one want from a chicken?
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 with tons of step-by-step photos and a printable Chicken Under a Brick recipe at the bottom of this post.
Post updated 2/16/22
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.
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!
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.
Next, I stirred in about 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Although I decided to stick with just rosemary and garlic, feel free to add some red pepper flakes to the mix if you like some extra spice.
Now for the chicken. If you’ve never butterflied a chicken, watch this video. You will need some good poultry shears to cut along each side of the backbone to remove it. After cutting it out, you can discard backbone or save it in the freezer for the next time you make stock. Flip the chicken breast side up with the chicken legs facing outward. Using the heel of your hand, press hard along the breast bone to flatten the chicken.
After cutting the chicken, I rinsed it and patted it dry with paper towels then placed it on a sheet pan.
I also decided to tuck wing tips under the bird so that they wouldn’t burn on the grill..
Here is the inside of my beautifully butterflied bird. Doesn’t it make you want to rub oil all over it?
I thought so! I poured about half of the marinade over the inside of the chicken.
Then rubbed it all over, making sure to coat every single part of 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.
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 black 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 breast-side down on the grill 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 spatchcocked chicken and allow to cook undisturbed for 15 minutes.
This is what my chicken looked like 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!
Mine was a little more than well-browned when I flipped it over. Oops! 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.
When it’s finished, let it rest for ten minutes on the cutting board before carving. Then divide it up and enjoy!
You could really 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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Around the Web:
- Pollo al Mattone at Divina Cucina
- Chicken Under a Brick at Restaurant Widow
- Moroccan Spiced Chicken Under a Brick at TasteFood
- one whole chicken, butterflied (aka spatchcocked)
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1/3 cup of rosemary leaves (loosely packed)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- one fresh lemon, plus extra for serving
- kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- Pat chicken dry with paper towels and place on a large platter or baking sheet.
- Put peeled garlic cloves and rosemary in a mini food processor or food chopper and process until finely chopped. You may do also this step by hand with a knife or pound the garlic and herbs together in a mortar and pestle.
- Put rosemary-garlic mixture in a small bowl. Add olive oil and stir to combine.
- Rub rosemary-garlic oil all over the butterflied chicken, making sure all parts of the bird are coated.
- Cover the chicken well and refrigerate for a few hours or up to overnight.
- When you’re ready to grill the chicken, take it out of the fridge and squeeze and rub the juice of the lemon all over it. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken liberally with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Tuck the wings under the bird to keep them from burning on the grill.
- Prepare and preheat your gas or charcoal grill for direct medium-low heat. Wrap two heavy bricks with aluminum foil. If you don't have bricks, you can try a heavy large cast iron skillet.
- Allow as much marinade as possible to drip off the chicken before placing it on the grill. Place chicken skin side down on the grill 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 (or a heavy skillet) directly on top of the chicken and allow to cook undisturbed for 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.
- When you flip it over, you don’t need to put the bricks back on the chicken. Just let finish cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees This will probably only take about 10 minutes. Make sure you check the temperature in several places, including the thickest part of the breast.
- Once the chicken reaches 165 degrees F, take it off the grill and let rest on your carving board for 10 minutes. Cut the chicken into individual pieces and serve with extra lemon wedges on the side if desired.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 416Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 88mgSodium: 137mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 28g