Friday, February 25, 2011

Menu for 02/24/2011 - Grilled Whole Chicken, Green Beans, & Basil Garlic Butter (Dude1)

It was time for some white meat after all the red meat earlier this week : )  I almost always buy a whole chicken now instead of the pieces.  I get more for my money this way and use the leftover carcass to make homemade chicken stock.  This particular bird was a 4 lbs grain fed chicken from my local meat market that uses no preservatives, artificial flavoring, or antibiotics.  I served it with my wife's favorite green beans, and homemade basil garlic butter on homemade sourdough bread.  Keep reading for all the recipes.

I also posted the following recipes over at Food Renegade, one of my favorite real food blogs.  You should check it out!

Grilled Whole Chicken - Spatchcock Style

1 whole pastured grain fed chicken (approx. 4 lbs)
meat scissors
1/2 Tbl sea salt
1/2 Tbl fresh ground pepper
1 Tbl paprika
1/2 Tbl chili powder
1/2 Tbl garlic powder
5 large basil leaves freshly chopped
2 Tbl raw unfiltered extra virgin olive oil

You'll notice in the pictures of the chicken it appears to be resting flat.  This is because I prepared it in a way called spatchcocking.  I've also heard it called butterfly, but I think spatchcocking sounds way cooler : )  To spatchcock a chicken you need a pair of sharp kitchen scissors.  I've spared you the pictures of this, but what you want to do is place the chicken breast down and cut from tail to neck on both side of the backbone.  Yes, you will be cutting through bones and you will need to completely remove the backbone.  Don't throw the backbone away!  You should use it to make chicken stock.  With the backbone removed it can lie flat on the grill, improving even heat cooking.

Combine all the spices to make a rub for the chicken.  Use some of it to rub between the skin of the chicken and the actual flesh.  Then rub the oil all over the outerside of the chicken. Use the rest of the sprice rub and the chopped basil to coat the skin of the chicken. 

I grilled the chicken, by first bringing my grill up 325 degrees.  I placed some cherry wood underneath my grates like mentioned in Dude 2 post on steaks to add some additional smokiness to the flavor.  After 15 minutes of grilling I flipped the chicken over and left it on the grill until the center of the thickest part of the breast reached 165 degrees.  Yes, I cheat and use a digital meat thermometer to avoid poor guessing of doneness because I always seem to be grilling in the dark. One thing that drives me crazy is the alarm feature on my digital thermometer because it's set to USDA standards.  That means my thermometer won't tell me the  chicken is done until it reaches 185 degrees.  Why the arbitrary minimum temperature that will definitely mean overcooked and dry chicken?  This is because USDA standards are set according to the big industrialized chicken factories that have absolutely disgusting living conditions and often have salmonella.  Unless you get your whole chicken pastured from a local and trusted farmer you might want to heed the USDA's recommendations of 185.  If you want better tasting, nutrient packed chicken, get a free range one and cook it between 160 and 165.

Green Beans that Rock

4 cups fresh green beans
3 Tbl grassfed butter
1.5 cups crushed walnuts
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Cook the green beans in boiling water for approx. 8 minutes.  While this is happening melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat.  After the butter starts to get bubbly add the crushed walnuts.  Cook for approx. 5 minutes, occasionally turning the nuts to avoid burning.  The nuts should turn golden brown.  After the green beans are done boiling, rinse and blanch them in cold water.  Then add the green beans to the pan with the browned walnuts.  Add half the parmesan cheese and stir it in to melt.  Add the dried cranberries and cook on low for another couple of minutes.  Right before serving add the rest of the parmesan.

Basil Garlic Butter

2 cloves of garlic
8 leaves of fresh basil
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
3 Tbs fresh grated parmesan
1/2 cup grassfed butter (softened)

Blend the garlic, basil, pepper, and parmesan in a small food processor or blender.  Then add the butter and blend again until the butter is nicely whipped.  Serve with warm homemade sourdough bread.

This was an excellent meal.  Be sure to be nonconformist and ask for your guests' chicken scraps.  Don't let them throw a single bone away!  I will be posting soon how I make my homemade chicken stock and ideas for using leftover chicken meat.



  1. Sheesh, and here I was thinking I was doing pretty good with poached salmon. That looks like a masterpiece!

  2. Wow this looks amazing--- so excited to try the garlic butter tonight with our dinner.

  3. @Cynthia-- Thanks Cynthia. Next time I think I will try and whip it with some raw goat cheese.