To be honest, I’m not sure if this is more Greek or what — the recipe is based on something I whipped together while sniffing the spice mix and trying to decide what else to add.
- One broiler/fryer chicken, butterflied.
- Four cloves garlic.
- One tablespoon fennel seed.
- ½ tablespoon cumin seed.
- One to two tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.
- One teaspoon kosher salt.
- One teaspoon black peppercorns.
- Grind the spices together in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder (but not one you use for coffee).
- Add enough olive-oil to the spices that you have a paste that will stick together.
- Butterfly the chicken.
- Loosen the skin of the chicken, starting from the tail end.
- Push the spice-rub under the skin of the chicken, working it into the thighs and legs with a finger or two. You should get about ¾ of the spice under the skin. The remainder gets rubbed on the inside of the bird.
- Grill the chicken, skin side down for twelve to fifteen minutes — you don’t want to burn the skin, but you want it pretty crisp with good color.
- Carefully flip the chiken, and grill it for about fifteen minutes, skin up, until done.
- Let the chicken rest for five to ten minutes before cutting and serving.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
The way I test for doneness is to check the joint between the leg and thigh. If that joint “falls apart”, you’ve overcooked the chicken a little bit. Also, since you’ve removed the spine, the leg and thigh may fall away from the rest of the chicken as you remove it from the grill. That’s okay, and it saves you some cutting, too.
The salt and pepper proportions in the recipe are what I start with. I find that many people like their chicken a little saltier, but you definitely don’t want to overdo it. You can always add a little more salt later, but it’s impossible to take it out after the fact.