Few preparations show off the bold flavor of a pastured chicken better than grill-roasting. Thanks to a coating of sweet soy sauce that caramelizes and crisps the bird’s skin, this version is special.
It is not necessary to smoke the bird, but it is highly recommended; it is simple to do and adds an extra flavor dimension. While the bird is roasting, the makings of a coffee-based sauce come together in the drip pan.
You'll need 2 cups of wood chips, such as hickory or applewood, soaked in water for an hour, then drained just before using.
Make Ahead: The chicken needs to be brined (in the refrigerator) for at least 8 hours in advance or up to overnight.
Servings: 4 - 6
- For the chicken
- 2 quarts cool water
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 medium cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha hot chili sauce
- One 4-pound chicken, preferably pastured (giblets removed)
- 1/4 cup sweet soy sauce (kecap manis), such as ABC brand
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- For the sauce
- 1 cup brewed coffee
- One-inch piece peeled ginger root, grated (at least 1 teaspoon)
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha
- 1 medium clove garlic, crushed
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup mirin (rice wine)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons cool water
- 1 scallion, white and light-green parts, chopped
For the chicken: Combine 1 quart of the water, the salt, bay leaf, garlic and the Sriracha in a 2 1/2 -gallon resealable plastic food storage bag. Seal; shake gently to dissolve most of the salt. Add the chicken and the remaining quart of water. Seal the bag and place in a large bowl, then open the bag just enough to force as much air out of it as possible. Seal tightly, making sure the poultry is completely submerged, adding water if necessary. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight, massaging the bag every so often to turn the poultry over and distribute the flavorings evenly.
Remove the chicken from the refrigerator an hour before you plan to cook it. Discard the brine and its solids. Use paper towels to dry the chicken thoroughly inside and out.
For the sauce: Light the charcoal in a chimney starter and let the briquettes burn until the flames subside and a light layer of ash covers the briquettes (about 20 to 25 minutes). Dump the lighted coals into 2 mounds (or, preferably, into 2 half-moon-shaped briquette baskets) on opposite sides of the grill.
Place a drip pan between the piles of coals. Add to it the coffee, grated ginger, Sriracha, garlic, vinegar and mirin.
Place the grill rack on the grill and lightly spray the area over the drip pan with nonstick cooking spray oil. (If you are smoking the chicken, use a hinged grill rack and make sure the hinged parts of the grates are over the coals.)
Combine the sweet soy sauce and black pepper in a large bowl. Roll the chicken in the soy mixture to coat it completely. Place the chicken breast side up on the grill over the drip pan, tucking the wing tips under the bird. (No need to tie the legs together.) Reserve the soy mixture left in the bowl.
If you are smoking the bird, place the soaked wood chips on the coals located on both sides of the bird. Cover with the grill lid, vents open; roast for 30 minutes. Uncover and pour the remaining soy mixture over the chicken. Cover and roast for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh meat registers 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. The skin will look like a thin, crisp covering of shiny blackened paper.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board; cover it loosely with aluminum foil. Allow the bird to rest for at least 10 minutes.
To serve, finish the sauce: Strain the contents of the drip pan into a fat separator cup. Pour 1 cup of those drippings into a small saucepan, discarding the fat. Any remaining drippings can be frozen for another use. (If you don’t have a fat separator, strain the drippings directly into a small saucepan, then use a ladle to skim off and discard any fat.) Place the saucepan over medium-high heat.
Whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl.
Once the pan’s liquid begins to boil, whisk in the cornstarch slurry to form a thickened sauce, continuing to whisk until the mixture is no longer cloudy. Reduce the heat to medium; cook for a minute or two, stirring as needed. Remove from the heat, then add the scallion.
Carve the chicken; serve it with the sauce on the side.
From Sourced columnist David Hagedorn.
Tested by David Hagedorn.
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