you spin me round…

Whenever I get a craving for rotisserie chicken, I head to Costco and get my fix.

I normally don’t eat the chicken as is, but rather use it to help speed things up in the kitchen. Shredded, I would make it into chicken salad (sometimes curried), enchiladas (with chipotlé), chicken divan, or smothered with Oaxacan style molé sauce. I’ve also cut the chicken in pieces and made cacciatore. It’s fast and convenient.

As most things in life, it has the good and the bad. The good—its unassuming flavor lends itself well with many dishes. The bad—well, you guessed it, its unassuming flavor.

That’s why sometimes I make my own rotisserie chicken. And it’s not a lot of work as one may think…

This weekend was the right time to bring out the rotisserie. Friday night I bought two whole chickens and made my  own marinade. I wanted something lemony and herby with a spicy kick to it. I ended up using fresh lemons, basil,  and rosemary, along with crushed garlic, fresh-cracked black pepper, gray sea salt, olive oil, and crushed pepper flakes. One of the things I made sure was to get all parts of the chicken covered with my glorious mixture, especially under the skin. To intensify the flavors even further, I let it sit in the refrigerator overnight in an airtight container.

Since cooking chilled meats cause uneven cooking, I let the chickens sit out for about twenty minutes. While I waited for them to reach room temp,  I prepped my grill and greased up the rotisserie spit and forks.

Not wanting a huge fireball, I made sure the olive oil was completely dried off by using paper towels. I took a long piece of kitchen twine (which I soaked in water for about an hour) and trussed both chickens.

The secret to great rotisserie chicken is indirect heat and constant temp. You definitely don’t want chicken that’s charred in the outside and a bloody mess inside.  To quote The Beastie Boys, “slow and low, that is the tempo.” I avoided opening the lid until only after 45 minutes to seal in the precious heat. At a steady 350°F, they were ready in just over an hour.

For the past couple of days, I’ve been having some of the best kick-ass chicken anywhere. For my patience and not-so-hard work, I was rewarded with chickens that were juicy and flavorful. I achieved the flavors I had envisioned: lemony-basily-garlicky-spicy. Mmmmm…

Yesterday, I made gyros: shredded chicken, romaine, tomatoes, red onions, and homemade cucumber sauce. all wrapped in whole-wheat pita bread. I also had myself a nice big salad and a glass (maybe two) of pinot and I was happy.

The folks at Costco haven’t seen me since last week and are probably wondering if I’m OK. I promise to come back once I polished off the rest of my awesome chicken.

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