Barbecue roast chicken with all the trimmings

Serves: 4

Prep time: 35 minutes plus overnight brining

Cooking time: 2 hours or about 40 minutes without a spit

Summer is nearly here and it’s time to spend more time cooking outside.

I was fortunate enough to be given an electric rotisserie spit for my barbecue last year and have had some great meals off it. Heston’s grilled pineapple sundae is a particular favourite. If you don’t have a rotisserie for your barbecue, I suggest you get one. You’ve been good, you deserve it.

I’ve written tips for those of you who don’t have a spit, you will find them at the end of this recipe.

I’ve had the idea of doing a grilled roast dinner for a while ago and the thought of drip pan potatoes sealed the deal.

Unless you have a massive grill you’ll need to cook the different veggies and stuffing balls in shifts as your cooking surface will get pretty full.

Just set each element aside when it’s cooked and then reheat everything for a few minutes on the BBQ before serving. Or transfer food to a low oven when it’s cooked and serve when you’re ready.

I cooked all my veggies on the BBQ but for the sake of brevity I’ll only cover the chicken, stuffing and potatoes in this post. If you’re interested how I did the carrots, parsnip, corn cobs or gremulata drop me some feedback.

You will need:

For the chicken:

1 large chicken or 2 small chickens (I will definitely use smaller birds next time to give me space under the spit for my potatoes)

1500 ml water

45g salt

1/2 tsp dried thyme or 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme

1/2 tsp dried sage or 8 fresh sage leaves

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 lemon

For the potatoes:

800g Maris pipers

1 medium Onion

A handful fresh Sage

4 tbsp Oil

For the stuffing:

180g Sausage meat

15g Butter

110g Onion finely sliced

50g Breadcrumbs (I used Panko)

10 turns Black pepper

1 egg

A pinch of dried Sage or a handful of fresh sage chopped

A pinch of Salt

16 rashers smoked streaky bacon

Making it:

For the chicken:

A day before your BBQ, boil 1500ml of water with the thyme, sage, salt and garlic powder. Allow to cool and add the chicken making sure it’s completely covered. If keeping the chicken fully imersered is an issue place the bird upside down in the brine to ensure the most meat (breast, legs and wings) is covered.

Cover the brining bird and place in the fridge overnight.

When you’re ready to start cooking get your BBQ hot. If you’re using lumpwood or charcoal you’ll need to push the coals to one end of the BBQ and get your chicken on a spit away from the direct heat.

Get your chicken/chickens out of the brine. Prick the lemon a few times and stuff into the chicken before sliding the bird onto the spit. Secure in place (my chicken tried to get a leg free but a skewer got it back on track with minimal scorching). Set the spit over the BBQ and over a medium heat (approx 150°C) shut the lid and let it do it’s thing. Cook the chicken on the rotating spit until golden and the meat is white with clear juices at the thickest part. My large chicken took about 2 hours.

For the potatoes:

Quarter the potatoes and place in a large pan. Cover with cold water and add a big pinch of salt. Put over a high heat and bring to the boil. Boil for 3 minutes and then drain the potatoes in a colander. Shake them a little to fluff the edges slightly. Allow them to steam dry.

Set a tray or pan under the chicken if there’s room. My chicken was a bit big so I had to put my tray to one side over the heat. Next time I’ll be using 2 smaller chickens instead. Add the oil to the tray and allow time for it to heat. Add the parboiled potatoes and shut the lid of the BBQ. Let the potatoes cook for about 15-20 minutes. Check the bottom of the potatoes and if they are crisp and golden it’s time to turn them over in the tray. Once they’re all turned sprinkle with the onion and the sage leaves and close the lid again. Another 15-20 minutes and the potatoes should be ready with just a seasoning of salt needed to finish them off.

For the stuffing balls:

Over a low heat fry the onions in the butter until softened, add a pinch of salt and the black pepper. Allow the onions to cool. Combine the cooled onions, sage, breadcrumbs, sausage meat and egg together. Let the mix stand for a few minutes to allow the breadcrumbs to soak up the liquid.

On a board lay two rashers of bacon and weave two more rashers through to make a cross. Repeat to make 4 bacon crosses.

Divide the stuffing mix into 4 balls and place one on each bacon weave. Wrap the bacon over the stuffing to fully encase it.

Cook off on the BBQ until the bacon is crisp and delicious and the stuffing is piping hot.

Variations:

If you don’t have a spit to cook the chicken on you could always spatchcock the whole bird and just grill it. The brining will really come into it’s own with a quick cook and will keep the meat tender and moist. A couple of skewers through the spatchcocked chicken will help with turning it. The link below shows clearly how to do this.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/videos/techniques/how-spatchcock-chicken-video

Cooking this way will also speed up your cooking time significantly, though you’ll loose out on some of the flavours that the slower rotisserie method gives you.

Approximately 20 minutes on each side will have the chicken well cooked.

To mix up the flavours you can vary the aromatics in the brine and/or work some herb butter under the skin of the chicken. With a herb butter you may find most of it will run out, but if it’s only going to land on your potatoes then you can’t lose, wrapping the whole bird in a bacon weave will see you miss out on golden chicken skin but should give great returns for the potatoes cooking underneath.

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