If you've been to Tuscany—or maybe you have an Italian Nonna who cooks for you—you're no stranger to pollo al mattone, aka chicken under a brick. Why a brick? The compression leads to crispy skin and moist meat, and in the end, pure deliciousness. Grab a brick—make it a clean one—and a chicken, and give it a try!
- 1 (3 to 4 pound) chicken, whole
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon rosemary, fresh, finely chopped
- 4 (6- inch piece) rosemary, sprigs
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- With kitchen shears, cut out the backbone of the chicken and discard. Crack the breast so the bird lays flat. Liberally apply oil to all sides of the bird. Rub in garlic powder, rosemary, lemon zest, and salt and pepper.
- On an extremely hot, clean grill, place bird skin side down. If using a gas grill, turn the burners under the chicken to low, but leave remaining burners on high. If using briquettes, maintain a cooler spot under the chicken.
- Place rosemary sprigs in the chest cavity of the bird. Place skillet or griddle on chicken, then place aluminum foil wrapped brick on top. Close lid, but remain on guard with spray bottle for flare-ups.
- Cook chicken for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the skin turns a deep, deep brown. Some charred areas are to be expected.
- Remove brick and griddle. Slide a large metal spatula under the bird, being careful not to tear the skin. Using a pair of tongs to support the top opposite side of the bird, turn the bird over, making sure the rosemary remains in the chest cavity.
- Place bird over the hot area of the grill. Lower the flame under the bird and turn up the rest of the burners. Replace the skillet and the brick and close lid. Cook for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees F. when placed in the thickest part of the thigh.
- Place on a platter and cover with aluminum foil and let rest for a minimum of 10 minutes.
Note: The bird may be prepared with the spices the night prior to cooking, but omit the salt. Rub in the salt just prior to cooking.