5 Days 5 Lunches: Slow Grilled Whole Chicken & Chicken Bacon

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5 Days 5 Lunches joins you on a shortened week. I hope you all have a safe and fun Labor Day. Many of you are grilling today, so why not a perfect grilled dish to let you savor summer a little longer this week?

This is part of my ongoing series that I do once a week to help you get through the work week with a healthy meal. I like to suggest a recipe that you can cook on a Sunday and pack for your lunch all week. This is a great way to save money and eat well.

Whole Chickens, for some, only ever come in one form. Rotisserie chicken. Look, I love rotisserie chicken as much as the next guy, but there is more to our delicious little birdy friends than just rotating on a spit. First things first, if you are going to be eating rotisserie chicken you should see if your bird was raised free-range, organic, anti-biotic free, and hormone free.

Why? Because all of those horrible things that get passed to your food gets passed onto you. Just Google the chicken industry practices and you’ll never look at chicken the same again.

Now that everyone is sufficiently terrified to eat chicken, I’m here to pull you back in. Roasting a whole chicken brings out so many different complexities of the chicken, that you just don’t get when you are just preparing a singular portion of the chicken.

It was one of my favorite meals as a kid and it still is, roast a chicken for a party and find me one unhappy person.

But your title says “GRILLED” genius.

So grilled whole chicken is often attempted, but people don’t realize you need to cook it for a few hours and you often have uncooked chicken on your hands and burnt skin. Now everyone is upset.

Here is the trick, you first cut your chicken in half, use a dry rub to lock in that flavor and then grill it using indirect heat. What you get is a bird that is cooked to perfection that everyone will love.

I went with a “southwest” style chicken here. I didn’t want to douse the chicken in sauce for a traditional BBQ chicken, I wanted to really elevate the chicken itself. I think these seasonings do that.

What’s this chicken bacon you speak of and where can I buy it?

Chicken bacon is just chicken skin. But my trick is that once my chicken has finished roasting, I carefully remove the skin from the meat. I then crisp up the chicken skin in the oven (or you can fry it). What you get is a cross between bacon & heaven. Don’t remove the skin prior to cooking the chicken if you are roasting your chicken. Why? Because your bird will be dry, use that fat to your advantage.

Recipe

1 Whole Chicken

1 Tbsp. Salt

2 Tbsp. Cumin

2 Tsp. Chilli Powder

1 Tbsp. Paprika

2 Tbsp. Garlic Powder

2 Tbsp. Onion Powder

1 Tbsp. Black Pepper

First remove the the chicken’s spine portion so you can easily cut it in half. You don’t have to though if you don’t want to. Cut the chicken in half. Now use all of your seasonings to apply a dry rub to your bird. Rub it in every portion of the chicken.

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Set the chicken aside in the fridge, overnight is best. If you don’t have that luxury 2 hours will do the trick.

Set up your grill to have a hot and cold side.

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I used some mesquite wood chips dipped in water. I put them on the surface of the hot side of the grill, this helps them smoke a little more than simply burn.

Set your kitchen timer for 2-3 hours. Close the lid, and monitor from time to time. I like to baste the chicken with lime juice, cumin , and olive oil near the end of the run. It adds a nice flavor to the chicken. I put a whole clove of garlic on the hot side too to slowly roast. By the end of the cook, you can just press down on the garlic and delicious garlic paste will come out. Use this for a finishing sauce on the chicken.

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Take the internal temp of your chicken, make sure it’s done, if you run out of heat on your grill, dont  sweat it. Just pop them in your oven and cook on low to finish them off.

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Once your chicken is done, mix together your garlic paste, some lime juice, and olive oil. Mix it into your pulled chicken and reap the benefits!

Enjoy!

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