Someone needs to tell California that fall is just around the corner because it is HOT. All caps HOT. Over 100 degrees HOT.
On these hottest of September weekends, we filmed a wedding in Sacramento on Saturday. You guys, it was 101 degrees. All outdoors. I easily drank 1 gallon of water, and sweat about that same amount. We were quite the sight. Shawn made the unfortunate decision of wearing a gray t-shirt that day. He has the difficult job of setting up all of the audio before the ceremony starts, which means he’s running around with wires and microphones, getting the officiant and groom miked up. He walked over to me when he was done, and his shirt was soaked with some very unfortunate sweat marks.
It shouldn’t be this warm! I’m supposed to be bundled up on the couch with soup cooking on the stove. Instead, I’m splayed out on the couch with multiple fans turned on me, eating ice.
I don’t dare cook anything in the kitchen since it instantly makes the house feel like a sauna. So we’re doing lots of grilling outdoors. One of the few perks of this warm weather is delicious grilled dinners.
My current favorite grilling dinners is this grilled lemon and rosemary flattened chicken. To speed up the cooking process, you cut out the back bone and flatten the chicken. The whole bird is ready in less than 45 minutes. You smother the chicken in a lemon zest, rosemary and garlic olive oil rub. You cook the chicken skin side down, and weight it down with an aluminum foil brick. This also helps the chicken cook faster, and helps you get extra crispy skin with beautiful grill marks.
The *best* part of this recipe is the grilled lemons. You cut the lemons in half, and grill them during the last few minutes of cooking the chicken. The heat cooks out all the sourness of the lemon, and reduces the juices and pulp inside. It turns the lemon into an amazing, concentrated lemon sauce. When you squeeze out the lemons, the pulp comes out as paste. It is SO good! I can’t get enough of it.
- 1 whole chicken, back bone cut out and the breast bone pressed to flatten (see video for visual instructions)
- zest of 2 lemons, plus 2 more lemons (total of 4), sliced in half
- 3 sprigs of rosemary, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, grated or finely chopped
- ¼ cup of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- In a large 9x13 baking dish, mix the lemon zest, rosemary, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Add in the flattened chicken, and rub it with the olive oil mixture on both sides. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours.
- Heat your grill over medium high heat, and oil the grill grates. Cook the chicken skin side down, and weight the chicken down with aluminum foil bricks, or the same baking dish you marinated the chicken in. Cook for 20 minutes, then flip the chicken so it is skin side up. Put the brick or baking dish back on the chicken. Continue cooking until the chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degrees, about 20-40 minutes more, depending on the size of your chicken.
- In the last 10 minutes of cooking the chicken, grill the lemons flash side down.
- Remove the chicken from the heat, and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Carve, and serve with the grilled lemons. Squeeze the lemons on the chicken. Leftovers will keep refrigerated for 5 days.