This is my go-to chicken recipe, especially for cookouts. Used for over 40 years, it’s a tested crowd pleaser, and it’s great hot or cold. When we lived in semi-rural Long Valley, New Jersey, we had cookouts several times a year, and this dish was always on the menu. If we left it off, guests would be very disappointed.
(TIP: If you like to make things ahead, you can combine the marinade and chicken pieces in freezer bags up to a month ahead of your event and simply thaw the bag(s) overnight in the fridge.)
The lemon flavor that infuses the chicken is from the natural oils in the lemon rind. It not only adds amazing flavor to the chicken, it also tenderizes it. You can either slice the rinds thinly, or you can finely grate the zest. Either way, you’ll have the best chicken you ever ate.
|Grilled Meditteranean Lemon-Garlic Chicken |
Rating: 10 out of 10
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3 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced (about 1-1/2 tsp.)
1-1/2 tsp. dried Mediterranean oregano, crushed
1 tsp. dried basil, crushed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 lemons, halved then sliced into thin strips (or grated zest and juice from 2 lemons)
2 tsp. fine sea salt or Diamond kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 whole frying chicken, about 3 to 3-1/2 lbs., cut in half, backbones removed for soup
In resealable plastic freezer bag, combine garlic, oregano, basil, oil, juice and lemon strips or zest. Sprinkle chicken halves with salt and pepper on both sides, rubbing into chicken. Place chicken into bag with marinade; seal bag. Marinate several hours (overnight for best flavor).
You can also freeze the bag for up to a month, then thaw overnight in fridge.
Heat gas grill to hot (400-425F). (If your grill has more than one burner, try turning one burner off, or at least on the lowest heat.) After desired temperature is maintained for 5 minutes, remove chicken from marinade, discarding bag and marinade. Place chicken on turned-off burner grate, skin-side up, and grill it with the cover closed. If the burner is turned off and none of the chicken is over a lit burner, you can just check it periodically to be sure it’s cooking properly. (If you only have one burner, then start the chicken on 400-425 for about 5-10 minutes, then lower temperature to 325-350 and continue cooking, while rotating chicken to prevent burning. Always cook with skin side up – do not turn the chicken over.) Grill for 30-45 minutes, or till thermometer registers 165F and juices run clear. Let chicken rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. (TIP: Place chicken on a platter in a closed, turned-off oven.)
Yield: 4-6 servings