Gung Hay Fat Choy… Happy Chinese New Year! The festivities for the Year of the Goat which begins February 19th this year (2015) are under way. A couple years ago I was fortunate to be in San Francisco working as the Culinary Producer for an hour long special on the Chinese New Year and was privileged to enjoy some amazing food. For the show we created many wonderful dishes all with great meaning and sentiment. This recipe is a bit of a riff on a roast chicken we made for the show.
Whether or not you celebrate Chinese New Year or just have a hankering for some mouthwatering full-flavored chicken, then look no further! This chicken is all-at-once sweet, salty, sticky, tingly, and unctuous. I started out by making a rub based with Chinese 5-spice powder. If you are not sure what that is, it a brilliant combination of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel seed, and Szechuan peppercorns. I bumped that up with some salt to help in dry brining the chicken, some ginger and more Szechuan peppercorns. I really love the tingly, lip-numbing affect of the Szechuan pepper. Right before the chicken was finished on the rotisserie, I lacquered it with a glaze made from soy sauce, orange juice concentrate, and honey. If you are buried under a little snow, this recipe will convert beautifully to the oven… you don’t want to miss out – my lips are still tingling!
Gung Hay Fat Choy, everyone!
Orange & Soy Spiced Rotisserie Chicken
serves four to six
For the rub:
2 teaspoons Chinese 5-spice powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground toasted Szechuan peppercorns (can substitute ground white pepper)
4 to 5 pound whole roasting chicken
4 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 tablespoon organic orange juice concentrate
3 tablespoons honey
Method: rotisserie, beer can roaster, or indirect heat
Thoroughly combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Remove giblets from inside the chicken cavity and reserve for another use. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and set aside. Sprinkle 1-1/2 teaspoons of the rub inside the cavity down the backbone of the chicken. Sprinkle the remaining rub over the entire outside of the bird making sure to get a little extra on the thighs and the thickest part of the breast. Transfer to a plate, loosely cover with plastic wrap, place in the refrigerator to cure for at least 4 hours and as long as a couple days (the chicken will become more flavorful throughout the longer it cures).
Prepare the grill for indirect or rotisserie cooking by lighting the outer burners to medium. The inside temperature of the grill should be 325°F to 350°F. Place a drip pan below where the chicken will spin or sit.
Combine the soy sauce, orange juice concentrate and honey in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to thicken. Remove from the heat and set aside until time to baste the chicken.
Remove the chicken from the refrigerator use a piece of butchers twine to tie the legs together and then tuck the wings under the back. Skewer and center the bird onto the rotisserie spit and secure tightly with the tines. Place the loaded spit onto the motor over the drip pan. Start the rotisserie and cover the grill. Depending on your grill (and the outside temperature), the chicken will take somewhere between 75 to 90 minutes.
After 60 minutes or so, stop the rotisserie motor and check the internal temperature to gauge how fast it is cooking.It should have some great color on it and getting close to done.
Begin basting the the chicken with the orange-soy glaze every 10 minutes from this point. Once the breast hits 160°F and the thigh registers 170°F, turn off rotisserie motor and transfer the spit and chicken to a cutting board. Leave the bird on the spit. Tent loosely with foil and let rest 10 minutes before removing the spit. Cut away the string used for trussing and cut the chicken into serving pieces.
Cheers and Happy Grilling!