Broiled Butterflied Chicken, the gconnor way

Based on Alton Brown’s Broiled Butterflied Chicken recipe though I have made a couple, ah, modifications… This version of the recipe is not for the faint of heart (nor for competent cooks, apparently :)

1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 lemon, zested
Extra virgin olive oil
Onions, carrots and celery cut into 3 to 4-inch pieces
3 to 4-pound broiler/fryer chicken
1 cup red wine
8 ounces chicken stock
2 to 3 sprigs thyme Some anonymous herb
Canola oil

Position the oven rack 8 inches from the flame/coil and Turn broiler to high.

Crack peppercorns with a mortar and pestle until coarsely ground. The best tool for this is a normal-sized mortar and pestle, but since all you have on hand is a small mortar and pestle, about the size of your cupped hand, that will have to do. This will result in some pepper coming out but that’s ok. After getting some on the counter, move to doing this over a paper (such as the recipe you printed and are supposed to be following.)

Normally you would mince the garlic, but if you’re feeling lazy, put it in a small ziploc bag and smash it with a spoon. It will slip around, so after mooshing it around a while, just stick it in the mortar and pestle it. This is about the capacity of the mortar you have so after trying to smoosh it, and spilling some, dump it out on a cutting board and pestle in on there for a while. Add the salt too, almost as an afterthought. Add lemon zest and work just until you can smell lemon. If you’re a dumbass and didn’t actually get all the ingredients you need, skip the bit about the lemon. Nobody will really miss it. Add just enough oil to form a paste.

Check out your refrigerator for onions, carrots and celery that are a little past their prime. Cut vegetables into pieces and place in a deep roasting pan. Since we have already established you’re a dumbass and didn’t bother to get all the ingredients you need, you can use a cooling rack to put on the bottom of the roasting pan.

Oh, and since you don’t have a roasting pan either, get out your broiler pan and use the bottom part of it. Get out some foil and form it to the shape of the broiler pan. Then, change your mind about the foil and crinkle it up. Put the cooling rack down on the bottom of the broiler pan.

Before you dress the chicken, get everything you’re going to need ready at-hand. That includes kitchen shears, a knife, a cutting board, a working surface (like a sheet pan) and the broiling pan with cooling rack. Place chicken on a plastic cutting board breast-side down. Using kitchen shears, cut ribs down one side of back bone and then the other and remove. Open chicken like a book and remove the keel bone separating the breast halves by slicing through the thin membrane covering it, then by placing two fingers underneath the bone and levering it out. Turn chicken breast-side up and spread out like a butterfly by pressing down on the breast and pulling the legs towards you. Loosen the skin at the neck and the edges of the thighs. Evenly distribute the garlic mixture under the skin, saving 2 teaspoons for the jus.

Realize you’re going to need some oil. Since you didn’t get it ready, wash your hands and then go get the oil. Drizzle the skin with oil and rub in, being sure to cover the bird evenly. Drizzle oil on bone side of chicken as well. Canola oil works well for this. But, if you’re a dumbass, use olive oil as well. What’s the worst that could happen?

Arrange bird in roasting pan, breast up, atop vegetables. atop the cooling rack.

Now would be a great time to realize that you need to rearrange the racks in the oven. Now that they’re rocket hot, be careful. Estimate how much “8 inches from the broiler element” might be and move the top rack down. This will probably heat up the kicthen a bit. Since this is the first time you’ve used the oven, it might smell funny too. If your sweety observes the funny smell, close the doors to the kitchen.

Place pan in oven being sure to leave the oven door ajar. Check bird in 10 minutes. After 7 or 8 minutes, you will become aware that the kitchen is pretty much full of smoke. Open the bay window, and the sliding door. Put the fan up on the counter and point it out the window. The smoke might have something to do with using olive oil on the chicken instead of canola oil. Or it might have to do with no veggies in the bottom. Who knows.

If the skin is a dark mahogany, hold the drumstick ends with paper towels and flip bone-side up. Even if it’s not, now’s as good a time as any to flip it, because as we already know, you’re a dumbass. Since you don’t like the kitchen to be full of smoke, fuss with the controls to switch it from broil to bake. 350 sounds good. Now that the chicken has cooled off a bit, and the oven has too, this would be a good time to put it back in the oven.

Cook 12 to 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. That means you’re going to have to get out the probe thermometer. Reducing the temperature, and opening the oven, and taking the chicken out for a few minutes will all add to the cook time. Probe the chicken a few times. Every once in a while the probe thermometer will go crazy and read a really high temperature, so when it does that, open the door again, reposition the probe, and you should be good to go for another couple of minutes. Since your new cooking time is probably 30 minutes, you will repeat this at least 10 times before the internal temperature reaches the “damnit that’s gotta be good enough” phase. Actual cooking time will vary based on your patience and frustration level with the damned thermometer. If you prefer a shorter cooking time, switch the oven back to broil again until the smoke starts again, then go back to bake. Whatever.

Remove and place chicken into a deep bowl and cover loosely with foil. That would be the foil that you crinkled up into a ball so carefully uncrinkle it and smooth it out a bit so you can cover the chicken.

Tilt pan so that any fat will pool at corner. Siphon this off with a bulb baster. Not having a bulb baster is not a problem, just slowly spoon it off with a tablespoon into a cup or something. Set pan over 2 burners set on high. Deglaze pan with a few shots of red wine with the chicken broth and remaining paste mixture, and scrape brown bits from bottom using a carrot chunk held with tongs spoon or something. Add chicken stock, thyme, the remaining garlic paste and reduce briefly to make a jus. Since it’s a broiler pan and not a roasting pan, straddling two burners doesn’t work well so just move it to the front one. Strain out vegetables and discard. Drain the jus and belatedly realize that because you added the chicken stock sooner than expected, you forgot to add thyme. Grab something from the spice rack that’s unlabelled but might possibly look like thyme, and throw a pinch of it into the jus mixture.

Now that the kitchen is no longer filled with smoke, and your chicken is “resting”, it’s a good time to contemplate side dishes. Throw a noodle mix into a saucepan and prepare according to directions.

Congratulations, you have just broiled your first chicken, and you managed to not set fire to the kitchen. Much. The chicken may not be outstanding, but the experience will be a good confidence-builder. After all, you pretty much already know all the tricks to ruining a good chicken, just avoid those next time and you’ll be fine… you hope.

0 thoughts on “Broiled Butterflied Chicken, the gconnor way

      1. zoesca

        glad to see that i’m not the only one to have had semi-disasterous results from attempting a new recipe without the accurate ingredients and appropriate kitchen gear! :)

        the smoke point of canola oil is as follows:
        unrefined: 225 F
        semi-refined: 350 F
        refined: 400 F

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