Mexican-Style Grill-Roasted Chicken
If you’ve ever driven past a food truck preparing pollo asado, then you know just how seductive the aromas of seasoned chicken roasting over a charcoal fire can be. Like, “hit the turn signal and brake for a taco right this second” level of seduction. This recipe achieves the same results.
Skillet-grilling has become my go-to method for capturing the best of two worlds: the seductive aromas of cooking over fire, and delicious pan drippings created during oven roasting. Why forfeit those flavorful juices to the fire? This chicken is a perfect example, as the fat renders over the heat, sultry taco seasoning spices infuse the drippings with awesome flavor. Add them to the juicy, lightly shredded meat to create a detour worthy taco of your own.
One 1.6 oz packet Fire & Smoke Taco Seasoning
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
5 to 6 fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)
1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) spatchcocked chicken (backbone removed so chicken lays flat)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Freshly ground black pepper
Your favorite taco fixins, including tortillas, lime wedges, salsa, fresh cilantro and chopped onion
Combine the spices and vinegar in a bowl and stir to combine. Using your hands, slather the entire surface of the chicken with the spice paste. Place the chicken, skin-side up, in a large cast iron skillet.
Drizzle the top of the chicken with olive oil, top with a generous amount of freshly ground pepper and allow the chicken to marinate at room temperature while you prepare the grill. (Alternately, the chicken can be marinated in a baking dish or in a sealable plastic bag for up to 12 hours in advance; remove from the fridge an hour before grilling).
Prepare a charcoal grill for two-zone cooking and build a medium-high fire or heat a gas grill to high. Clean and oil the grill grates. When the coals are glowing red and covered with a fine gray ash, place the skillet with chicken over direct heat, close the grill, vent for smoking, and cook for 10 minutes. Open the grill, move the skillet to indirect heat and rotate it 180°F. Close the grill, and continue roasting until bird’s juices run clear when skin is pierced with a knife and the skin is crispy, about 25-30 minutes longer.
Remove from heat and let chicken rest for at least 10 minutes (or up to 30). Remove the chicken meat from the carcass, lightly shred, toss with the skillet drippings and serve with your favorite taco fixings.