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Some of you are probably familiar with this dish. I'm posting the recipe to elicit some advice about doing a version first smoked in my SM008 and then finished in a HOT oven (since I have no grill at the moment). Reading the recipe below you split the chicken at that backbone and then spread it open, I have a 2 gallon freezer bag and was going to put the chicken in that and make a simple brine/marinade - then smoke it flipping it during the smoking time so each side gets "grill marks" then putting into a hot 400 oven to finish cook and crisp up the chicken with a little asian glaze... What say Ye ???

Interesting to see Tyler Florence (one of my favorite Food TV Network chefs) doing commercial spots for Applebee's chain. He's taken some clever and tasty dishes and commercialized them for mass consumption. One shown on one of the commercials is a variation on an old Sicilian dish called Chicken Mattone (or brick chicken). It's easy and very tasty. You can cook it on a grill or if weather does not permit that you could "fake it" on a HEAVY cookie sheet in a very hot oven...

Mis en place

1 3 1/2 - 5 lb. fryer

1 Tbls. Chopped Garlic
2 Tbls. FRESH Rosemary needles
1 Tbls. Garlic Salt
1 Tbls. Fresh Cracked Pepper
1 Tsp. Red Pepper Flake

Juice of one lemon
2 Tbls. EVO

Wash and pat dry the whole chicken. Cut open the chicken at the backbone with a heavy kitchen knife or kitchen shears. Now, taking the bird forceably in your hands pry it open like a book. If necessary man handle it by pounding AT THE JUNCTION of the breast halves until it lies totally flat.

Combine 1st group of ingredients in a small food processor or mortar to make a coarse paste. Rub all over BOTH sides of the bird. Lay bird in large sheet pan and rub EVO and Lemon Juice on both sides. Let marinate AT LEAST 1 HOUR, preferably overnight.

Preheat grill (or to do indoors place heavy cookie sheet pan in oven and preheat to 450). Meanwhile take a large terracotta tile and wrap completely with heavy aluminum foil. Place bird skin side down on grill and cover bird with brick so bird lies completely flat (or use a very large and heavy cast iron skillet). Grill for 15 minutes. Remove brick and flip bird over, place INSIDE of bird down on face of grill and place brick (or pan) back on grill. Cook an additional 15-18 minutes. Remove and let rest 10 minutes before cutting up for service.

(In oven preparation: place bird on already preheated cookie sheet pan skin side down, cover bird with brick or heavy cast iron skillet so bird is COMPELETLY FLAT on cooking surface. Roast at 450 for 20 minutes. Remove and flip bird over so INSIDE of bird is now on hot sheet pan. Again cover with brick (or pan) and roast additional 20 minutes. Remove and let rest 10 minutes before cutting for service)

Serve chicken with rustic salad of arugula, thinly slice purple onion and grape tomatoes in a tart viniagrette... Enjoy with a rustic red wine and coarse country bread.

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Mike - When it comes to chickens I never cook whole ones anymore be it in the smoker or otherwise. I spatchcock/butterfly/flatten them or whatever other term people use for the process. A chicken prepared this way cooks more evenly and the cooking time is essentially cut in half. Sometimes I'll cook them "al Mattone", and other times not.

Also, I'm a big fan of using the smoker as an initial step in the preparation of a lot of food items that are finished in an oven, a grill, or some other manner. In this case, I don't think Pollo al Mattone is a good candidate for the process. The bird is meant to be cooked at a high temp for a relatively brief period, and as I see it, by the time you got enough smoked laid on, it would be fairly well cooked and the "al Mattone" process would be pointless. You might be able to find a way of getting some smoke at a real low temp, but I would be leery of holding a chicken in that environment for an extended period of time.

A couple tips if you haven't done this before. Put the chicken breast side down and using kitchen shears cut along each side of the backbone and remove it. Turn the chicken over and press firmly on the breastbone until the chicken flattens. Pull gently but firmly on each leg until they pop out of their sockets. Finally, using a sharp paring knife, cut halfway between the joints connecting both sides the thighs and drumsticks as well as the joints between the wings and breasts (this helps with marinade penetration and also accelerates the cooking process).

Thanks for bringing this subject up. My wife and I were trying to figure out what to do for dinner tomorrow night and I think this will be it. Our favorite way to prepare it is with a paste made up of garlic, Dijon mustard, white wine, and a few other things.

BTW, Pollo al Mattone is Tuscan , not Sicilian, and is served commonly throughout the region. It actually predates the Tuscans and goes back to the ancient Etruscan era which ended around 350BC.
Last edited by dls
Thanks to all of you for the advice and encouragement. I think I'm gonna do the splotched chicken like dls suggested but in the oven with marinade and jerk seasoning rub. Still wanted to have the heavenly smells and groove I get working with the smoker so also am gonna do one rack of pork baby back ribs. We discovered that our cats and chickens love the rib bones. So I'm doing ribs because on Easter one of my cats is FIFTEEN, old Boo deserves a meaty rib at that age, you think ?? LOL

Again thank you for the advice, I'm going to really think food safety time & temp when I do chicken.

Happy Weekend To You All...
Originally posted by Pags:
I swear dls was a professional chef in his other life. I'm going to try this using dls' paste. I've spatchcocked chickens before (I've got a nice poultry shears) and have wanted to do the "brick thing". I'm motivated. How do you think this would turn out with jerk seasoning of some sort?

Nope - No professional chef here, or in any prior life that I'm aware of. Just a guy who's spent many, many years (decades) bouncing around the globe, primarily on business, seeking out unique and interesting local food along the way. My objective is to eat where the locals do, be it fine dining, street food, and if I'm lucky, in their homes. Something of a foodcentric wanderlust. I'm traveling anyway so I do my best to make the most of wherever I am.

Jerk seasoning would work fine. You can make your own or buy the bottled stuff. If you go the bottled route try to find the Spur Tree brand . To me, it's the best bottled jerk seasoning out there. Walkerswood and Busha Brownes pale by comparison. Spur Tree is not easy to find at many retailers, but it's readily available online at Amazon or other sites.

The sauce or "paste" ingredients that I use for a 4 lb. chicken are....

- 5-6 large garlic cloves, finely minced
- 2 tbs. Dijon mustard
- 2 tbs dry white wine
- 2 tbs. EVOO
- 1 tbs. soy sauce
- 1 tbs fresh rosemary, finely minced
- 1 tsp hot sauce (I use Crystal or Franks)
- 1 tsp Herbes de Provence
- 1/2 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Let sit at room temp for 2 hours.

Normally, I'll cook the chicken using the oven in a 12" saute pan rather than straight up on a gas grill because of flare ups. There have been times, however, when I've done it in the pan on the grill, and have tossed in a few wood chunks beforehand to get some smoke going.

If doing it without bricks, place the chicken in a large saute pan or skillet skin side down and pour half the sauce over it, rubbing it into the flesh. Turn the chicken over and repeat with the remaining sauce. If using bricks or "al Mattone" reverse the process ending with the skin side down, and then place a smaller (10") cast iron skillet on top of the chicken a put 2 foil lined bricks in it.

Place the pan over high heat for about 5 minutes until the chicken begins to sizzle and brown, then transfer to a 450F oven (or closed grill) and cook for 25-30 minutes until the skin is crisp and the chicken is cooked through. Foil, rest for 5-10 minutes, then carve, serve, and eat.
Last edited by dls
Thanks again els

Got the ribs in (simple rub of powdered jerk seasoning, my rub and then packed on brown sugar) in with a hunk of apple wood and cherry wood at 250. Got the splotched chicken (about 4 lb) out of the fridge. Been marinating in jerk seasoning, Yoshida's and Soy Vay Teriyaki Ginger/Hoisin Glaze, I DO have a really wide cast iron skillet, guessing 13-14 inches wide and will sear it like you suggested and then lay a 10 inch cast iron skillet on top of it as the brick. Can't wait, I already did a screaming hummus dip, the vegetables have been chilling in a bag of ice water since yesterday, got an arranged tomato, cucumber, red bell pepper platter with fresh mint and a spicy asian dressing to make and then I sit and read and relax while the smells do the rest. Reading WATCH FOR ME ON THE MOUNTAIN by Forrest Carter, it's a joy to read again, missed reading a lot, but I have to restrain myself and do it in sips.

A Joyous Sunday to all of you no matter what your faith or persuasion.

*** Got me thinking back to 1994, just out of chef school and hand't found what I wanted to do with all that learning. I met some ladies thru the "job book" at CCA and did food demos, it was easy work and I was good at selling people on the products: Aidel's sausages, a lot of demos at Whole Foods stores and one of my favorites was demoing roasted chicken breast chunks that had been marinated in Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning and assortment of other rubs, chutney style dips and such. Really great, I sold the store out that day.
Last edited by bigmikeinnj
Originally posted by dls:
If you go the bottled route try to find the Spur Tree brand . To me, it's the best bottled jerk seasoning out there. Walkerswood and Busha Brownes pale by comparison.

I thought I read somewhere that Walkerswood & Busha Browne were made by the same outfit. Never tried Spur Tree, but I did love the Busha Browne stuff. Will have to try the Spur Tree now. But making your own is the best. I did make up a batch using a recipe on that turned out great. Will try to find the right recipe, since I didn't bookmark it.

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