Grilling chicken under bricks is not just a gimmicky way to grill chicken, although it’s a great way to dazzle friends and family at your next cookout. 🙂 The bricks weigh down all the parts of the chicken so that it cooks very evenly for perfectly cooked juicy chicken. The bricks also give an added bonus of lots of super-crispy skin – seriously, there are fewer things more delicious than crispy chicken skin!
I used my Homemade Harissa Paste as a marinade and then brushed a little on the cooked chicken after it came off the grill. Harissa is a chile paste from northern Africa and is used to flavor everything from couscous to grilled lamb and goat. It’s really pretty simple to make using dried chilies and a few spices.
Brick Grilled Harissa Chicken
serves four to six
1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds
1 cup Homemade Harissa Paste or store-bought
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving
4 bricks wrapped in aluminum foil
Method: Direct heat grilling
Prepare the chicken by cutting along both sides of the backbone (from tail to neck bone) with kitchen shears or a very sharp knife. Open the chicken up and with a sharp knife cut through the keel bone that runs between the breast halves to cut the chicken in half. Flip the halves over and snip off the wing tips at the joint (ain’t no meat on ’em anyway).
Using two-thirds of the harissa paste, coat all sides of the chicken, even getting it under the skin. Cover the chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for at least a couple hours or as long as a couple days. An hour before grilling, remove the chicken, blot the skin with a paper towel and generously season with kosher salt and pepper — wait the full hour before you grill it so the salt can penetrate the chicken.
Preheat your grill for direct cooking over medium heat. Brush and oil the grates before cooking. Place the chicken halves skin-side down and then set two bricks – one over the breast and wing and the other over the thigh and leg – on top of each half. Close the grill cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove the bricks, flip the chicken using tongs or a couple spatulas, and then replace the bricks on the chicken. Close the grill cover and continue cooking for another 15 to 20 minutes.
The actual cooking time is going to vary depending on the actual size of the bird and how hot your grill is. The chicken is ready when the internal temperature reaches 165°F at the breast and 175°F at the thigh. The juices should run clear at the thigh and the meat is no longer pink at the bone. Remove the chicken from the grill and brush with a little of the extra harissa paste and let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting into serving portions. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over the chicken.
Cheers and Happy Grilling!