Grilled Tuscan Chicken Recipe with Lemon, Pepper, and Rosemary

From my husband, who came up with this recipe:

“I am a huge fan of barbecued chicken–especially beer can chicken–but sometimes I get really tired of the same old thing. The other day we bought a new lemon zester and I happened to come upon a bush of fresh, aromatic rosemary close to where we live. The result was this recipe, which proved to be an excellent, subtly flavored, and refreshing way to have chicken.”

Grilled Tuscan Chicken Recipe with Lemon, Pepper, and Rosemary

Grilled Tuscan Chicken Recipe with Lemon, Pepper, and Rosemary
serves four

Ingredients:

  • 1 small hen
  • 2 fresh lemons
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • leaves removed from 3 sprigs of rosemary,
  • 3 Tablespoons course ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons course ground salt
  • 3 Tablespoons garlic cloves, crushed
  • about 4-5 Tablespoons shortening

Preparation Instructions:

Grilled Tuscan Chicken

1. Prepare the grill for cooking a chicken. You want to use a medium temperature: hot enough to insure a well-crisped, browned skin and meat that is juicy and not over-cooked but cool enough to cook the chicken without burning it. We cooked this on a charcoal grill and used a neutral charcoal (without much smoky flavor) for this recipe. Too much smoke would interrupt the subtle flavors.

2. Prepare the chicken by removing the giblets and neck and discarding (or freeze them to use in something else). For this recipe, you’re going to halve the chicken and discard the back. Keeping the chicken as close to whole as possible will help it retain juices while still allowing a reasonable cooking time. Split the breasts with a knife and cut through the cavity. Cut the back out along the ribs to either side, keeping as much thigh meat as possible. Put the back with the giblets and neck.

3. Prepare the seasoning rub by finely chopping the rosemary and combining it with the salt, pepper, lemon zest, and crushed garlic. Mix them well.

4. Rub the bird in shortening–be sure to rub under the skin as well as the outside of the skin. This will help it brown and crisp. Rub the seasoning mixture onto the chicken the same as you did the shortening–above and below the skin.

5. Once the grill is ready, start the chicken halves cooking skin-down, and close the grill. Check them periodically, but they should stay on for somewhere around ten minutes. Flip them and let them cook for another seven minutes or so, then check the thickest portion of the breast with an instant-read thermometer. The temp should read 170-175 degrees Fahrenheit (75-80 degrees Celsius) for it to be done, and the juice that seeps out should be clear and not red.

6. Separate the chicken into cuts as fits the occasion, and serve. This recipe goes well with grilled vegetables like squash and zucchini or asparagus.

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