Feb 1, 2009

Bricken (Brick Chicken)

I'm not the only thing getting skinnier on this farm!

Look at this chicken!
(BBQ bricken)
It's what we call "Bricken" or... Brick Chicken.
It may look a little funny,
But once you make brick chicken, you'll fall in love!
Cooking your chicken under a brick accomplishes several things..

You get crispy skin (almost as crispy as fried chicken!).
Juicy tender meat,
And the thighs & legs are done BEFORE the breast dries out and becomes tough!

These are all the things that I have been striving for with a roast chicken, but it just never quite worked out.
My breasts would be cooked perfectly, but the thighs and legs would be too rare.
The skin would never get quite as crispy as I wanted.
Now, don't get me wrong.... I make a mean roast chicken...
But Brick Chicken is even better!

I'm gonna show ya how!

First, you need something to weight the chicken down with.
I use bricks...
You do not need to use HUGE monster cinder blocks, if you don't want to.
You can use "normal" bricks, or even a cast iron pan.
You just want something heavy that will schmoosh your chicken and is safe to use in the heat of your oven, smoker, or grill.

You are going to use a whole chicken.

To prepare your chicken, take a very sharp knife or good strong kitchen shears. (I actually went to the hardware store and bought a brand new pair of tin snips that I use exclusively for cutting up whole chickens. They are cheaper, last forever, and can cut through ANY bone!)

Carefully cut your chicken down the back. Starting on one side of the little tail-flap, cutting all the way along the backbone.
Repeat on the other side of the back bone, removing the backbone completely. (This is also called "spatchcocking" your chicken.)

Gently spread open your chicken and lay it flat.
It will look kind of backwards to what you are used to seeing, because it's cut down the back instead of between the breasts... that's okay - enjoy your thing of beauty!

Season your chicken any way you like.
I suggest marinating it in your favorite marinade. Yum!

Now cover your bricks with aluminum foil and toss 'em in the oven for awhile to get really nice and hot. (I like to use a 400° F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes)

Now is when you need to decide how you plan to cook your bricken.
Do you want to use your oven? Your grill? Your smoker?

If you use your oven, you need a large, very heavy pan. Cast iron is perfect for this!
Coat your pan with oil, and heat the pan over medium heat until hot.

Place your chicken into the pan, skin side DOWN.
You should hear it pop & crackle... thats fine! You are crisping your skin!
Press the chicken into the pan well.. you want total contact between the skin and the hot pan.

Carefully remove your bricks from the oven and press them down onto your chicken.
(or use a second hot cast iron pan; weigh it down as much as possible!)
Reduce oven temperature to 375° F.

Turn the heat to medium-low and cook for approximately 20 minutes.
Check your chicken.. take a peek at the bottom/skin side. It should be golden brown and crisp.. if it is not, turn up the heat a little bit and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove weights and flip your chicken over, being careful not to rip off any skin that sticks to the bottom of your pan! (A wooden spoon helps scrape & separate it easily.)
Replace your bricks/weights and continue cooking in your 375° F oven for approximately 20 more minutes or until juices run clear. (This will depend on the size of your chicken, 20 minutes is for an approximately 3 to 5-pound chicken.)

Using your grill is just about the same as using your oven, although I like to use more indirect heat during the second phase of cooking, and direct heat for the first/browning phase.

I prefer to use my smoker.
This is what my Bricken looked like when I first put it into the smoker; before I remembered I was supposed to put it in skin side DOWN!

I get my smoker nice and HOT (approximately 400°)
Put my chicken in skin side down.
Cover it with my bricks.
And let it cook for approximately 30 to 45 min.

When the skin is nice and crisp, I flip the bricken over to skin side UP.
And reduce the heat to approximately 250° F, and let it smoke under the bricks until juices run clear.
I was using BIG chickens, so this took me about 2 1/2 hours.
During the last hour of cooking, I removed the bricks and basted the bricken with my favorite BBQ Sauce.

Doesn't that look GOOD??

Go forth and schmoosh your chickens!!



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