Want to know the secret to crispy chicken skin? Grilled Chicken Under a Brick! No actual brick required, just something heavy. Get ready for weeknight chicken dinner perfection!
Photography Credit:Nick Evans
This is one of my absolute favorite ways to make chicken. Even though grilling season is (technically) over, I’ll still put on a coat and light the coals for this chicken—it’s that good! The lemon and herb marinade gives the chicken a bright, fresh flavor, and thanks to that heavy “brick” (more on that later), it cooks much faster than a normal grilled chicken.
And the skin? Oh, the skin. So crispy and perfect.
WHAT IS CHICKEN UNDER A BRICK?
I have a lot of bricks in my kitchen, but they are all very secured in my walls. Good news, though—you don’t actually need a brick to make Chicken Under a Brick! You just need something super heavy and heat-resistant, like a cast iron pan or a pizza stone.
Once you have that in place, this dish is exactly what it sounds like: You butterfly or spatchcock your chicken; then you cook it with something heavy on top! You could also cut the chicken into two halves (my preferred method), which makes it more manageable on the grill.
WHY COOK A CHICKEN THIS WAY?
There are two main reasons to cook chicken this way:
- It cooks faster: The chicken cooks very fast under the added pressure. You can trim 10-15 minutes off your normal chicken grilling time this way!
- The crispy skin! You’ve never had chicken skin as beautifully crisp as it will be with this recipe. It’s seriously grilled chicken perfection.
AN IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP FOR COOKING CHICKEN UNDER A BRICK
One thing to remember about grilling with a brick is to make sure to do a few flips without the brick at the end of cooking. The brick touches raw chicken, and while it is hot, it’s possible to get some cross-contamination of raw and cooked chicken. I always do a few flips without the brick to ensure the chicken is cooked thoroughly.
WHEN IS THE CHICKEN DONE?
If you’re grilling your chicken in two halves, like I usually do, you’ll probably need 20-25 minutes to grill it. BUT: I never trust times on recipes for grilled chicken, since there are just too many variables. The only way to know for sure is to use a meat thermometer. When the chicken is 165˚F in the thickest part, it’s done!
WHAT TO SERVE WITH CHICKEN UNDER A BRICK
A fresh salad is always a winner. I also like to eat this chicken with with classic BBQ sides like potato salad, macaroni salad, or even macaroni and cheese.
OVEN-BAKED CHICKEN UNDER A BRICK
Don’t have a grill? No worries! You can make this chicken in the oven as well.
Place a baking sheet and your “brick” in a cold oven. Preheat to 450˚F. Once the oven has preheated, put the chicken on your baking sheet. (Careful! It’s hot!) Then, place the brick on top. Slide the whole thing in the oven, and follow the timing of the recipe. Should be almost identical to grilling times.
MORE GREAT GRILLED CHICKEN RECIPES:
- Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken
- Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
- Grilled Salsa Verde Chicken
- Grilled Dukkah-Crusted Chicken with Lemon Hummus
- Spatchcocked Grilled Chicken with Orange and Ginger
Grilled Chicken Under a Brick Recipe
Any time you see "brick" in this recipe, know that you can substitute whatever heavy item it is you've decided to use. Cast iron skillet, pizza stone, etc. We're sticking with calling this thing a "brick" just to make it easy.
- 1 3-pound whole chicken
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 lemon, zest only
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Foil for “brick”
1 Prepare the chicken: Use kitchen shears to remove the backbone. After you've removed it, cut through the breast middle to split the chicken into two halves. Press down flat on a baking sheet. Alternatively, butterfly the chicken.
2 Make the marinade: Mix together the garlic, rosemary, thyme, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Slather the chicken with the mixture on both sides, and work some of the marinade under the skin of the chicken as well. (Alternatively, just drizzle the chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.) Cover chicken loosely and let rest for 30 minutes.
3 Preheat the brick: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Cover the bottom of your heavy thing (which we will call a "brick" here) with foil and brush the outer part of the foil with oil to prevent any sticking. Preheat the brick in the grill for 5 minutes before cooking the chicken.
4 Grill the chicken: When everything is nicely preheated, add the chicken to the grill, skin-side down. Add the brick to the top of the chicken to press down. Let chicken grill for 8 minutes, skin-side down.
After 8 minutes, remove the brick and flip the chicken. Return the brick to the top of the chicken and grill for another 8 minutes.
After another 8 minutes have passed, remove the brick and flip the chicken back so it is skin side down. Do not replace the brick this time. Grill the chicken for 3-4 minutes, and then flip again so it is skin-side up. Grill for another 3-4 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165˚F in the thickest part.
5 Rest and serve: When the chicken comes off the grill, let it rest for a few minutes, and then slice it into serving pieces. I like to keep the leg and thigh connected, but you could break it down any way you want.
Serve with standard BBQ party sides of your choice. Potato salad, green salad, or macaroni salad are all excellent choices here.
The chicken keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat the chicken in a 350˚F oven for 10-15 minutes. The skin won’t be as crispy as straight off the grill, but it will still have great flavor.
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