Savory Oven Grilled Chicken

As I mentioned in my rainy-day grilled chicken and pasta alfredo entry, it isn’t necessarily how many seasonings you add to your meat that makes it flavorful. Most times, you just have to season it early enough to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat. These grilled split chickens were seasoned with salt, freshly ground pepper, Carmencita’s Provence blend of spices, and paprika.

Prepare the chicken by cutting off the breasts. Stand the chicken vertically on the chopping board, drumsticks end up. Hold the tips of the drumsticks, pressing them to the tail end so that the breast protrudes. With a sharp chef’s knife (or an Oriental cleaver), cut off the breast, chopping through the neck bone. Use the breast for chicken salad or some other dish; I don’t particularly find them appetizing when grilled. If you enjoy chicken breasts, however, then just split the chicken in half and proceed to the next step. Repeat if you intend to cook more than one chicken.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, rubbing them into the meat, skin, and crevices. Place in a covered container and keep in the coldest part of the fridge (normally, the bottom part) for at least six hours or, preferably, overnight. When you’re ready to cook them, arrange them on a rack inside a roasting pan. Don’t place them directly on the pan you need the rack so that the oil falls off. Without the rack, the chicken will swim in its oil and make the cooked chicken greasy. Season the chicken with more pepper, whatever herbs you like to use (rosemary is a great choice), and paprika. Paprika, made from ground sweet bell peppers, not only adds a wonderful reddish tinge to the chicken, it also gives it a subtle sweetish flavor. You can add the herbs and paprika to the chicken at the same time as the salt I would have had I remembered. I do get absent-minded at times.

Grill the chicken in a preheated 180oC oven for 40 minutes and it’s done. It may take longer if your chicken weighs more than a kilo before cutting off the breast. For those who will likely ask about oven grilling, you can do this in a convection oven or its smaller counterpart, the turbo broiler. Of course, you can cook the chicken in any conventional oven but the skin may not turn out as crisp nor the coloring as even.