Drop the bottled barbecue sauce! The Italians figured out a magical way to grill chicken that involves no special sauces or condiments; in fact, all you really need is a brick or two and some aluminum foil. Whoever first placed brick to backbone was smart enough to recognize that the extra weight helped press the bird evenly—and forcefully—against the grill, which translates into a juicier bird with a crisper skin—a win-win in our book.
NUTRITION: 280 calories, 8 g fat (2 g saturated), 780 mg sodium
1⁄4 cup olive oil
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1⁄2 tsp black pepper
1 whole chicken, back removed, split in half (you can ask the butcher at the meat counter to do this for you)
2 lemons, halved
2 bricks, covered in aluminum foil
HOW TO MAKE IT
- Combine the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, baking dish, or sealable plastic bag. Add the chicken and turn to coat.
- Cover the bowl or seal the bag, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
- Preheat a grill (you want a nice medium-low heat).
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on the grate, skin side up.
- Cover the grill and cook for 10 minutes, until the chicken is lightly charred.
- Flip the chicken over, then place a brick on top of each half so that it presses the chicken firmly and evenly against the grate.
- Cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the skin is thoroughly browned and crisp and the meat pulls away easily from the bone. (If the grill flares up, move the chicken to a cooler part of the grill.)
- While the chicken cooks, toss on the lemon halves, cut side down, and grill until charred and juicy.
- Separate each breast from the chicken leg by making a cut right at the thigh bone. Serve each of the four pieces of chicken with a grilled lemon half.
Eat This Tip
Brick cooking may be the crudest, most rudimentary of tools, but a sturdy, foil-wrapped brick comes in handy in the kitchen. Try placing it on top of a pork chop or a flank steak in a cast-iron pan—the extra pressure will yield a beautifully caramelized crust.
Better yet, it’s perfect for making a panini: Simply place the sandwich in a hot cast-iron skillet, top with a brick, cook for 2 or 3 minutes, then flip and repeat.