Cedar Planked Chicken with Mint Sauce

Courtesy of Scott Dolich, chef & owner, Park Kitchen. Serves 4

May 19, 2009 Published in the July 2006 issue of Portland Monthly

If you are buying the untreated cedar plank—available at most home improvement stores—for the chicken recipe, be sure to purchase cheap “utility grade” cedar, as opposed to “clear vertical grain,” which can be very expensive.


For the mint sauce:

1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped

1/2 cup mint, finely chopped

3 anchovy fillets, minced

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

2 tbsp capers

1/2 tsp chile flakes

Zest of 1 large lemon

11/2 cups extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper?to taste

In a bowl, mix the parsley, mint, anchovies, garlic, shallots, capers, chile flakes and lemon zest into a rough paste. Whisk in the olive oil until blended, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

For the chicken:

1 gallon water

7 oz salt

4 oz sugar

1 tsp chile flakes

1 sprig rosemary

1 tsp whole black peppercorns

2 bay leaves?

2 linear feet of untreated 1"x 6" cedar planking (flooring or interior siding), cut into 1-foot pieces

1 3-4-lb whole chicken

Three days before you’re going to cook the chicken, bring the water, salt, sugar, chile flakes, rosemary, peppercorns and bay leaves to a boil, then remove from heat and chill completely.

On the same day, submerge the cedar planks in water and let them soak until just before you begin grilling the chicken.

In an uncovered bowl or container, completely submerge the chicken in the chilled brine for 2 days in the refrigerator. (If the whole bird is not submerged, make sure to rotate it twice a day.) On the third day, take the bird out of the brine and put it on a rack to dry, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 5 or 6 hours before you cook it. Forty-five minutes before you are ready to grill the chicken, pull it out of the refrigerator and let it sit on the drying rack at room temperature.

Before grilling the chicken, pile a large batch of hot coals (preferably from mesquite lump charcoal) in one half of your grill.

Place the wet cedar planks over the cooler side of the grill and cover the planks liberally with kosher salt (to prevent the bird from sticking to the planks). Place the chicken backbone down on the planks and replace the grill cover (all vents should be fully open). The planks should start to smoke gently.

After 20 minutes, use a pair of tongs to rotate the planks (keeping the chicken on its backbone) 180 degrees, to ensure that it cooks evenly. (Make sure that the cedar planks are not situated directly over the coals or flames.)

After another 25 minutes, check the chicken’s internal temperature at the thigh with a meat thermometer. Cooking times will vary depending on the weight of the bird and the grill’s temperature. The bird is done when the internal temperature reads 145 degrees on a meat thermometer and the skin is golden brown. Remove the chicken from the grill and discard the cedar planks.

Let the chicken sit, uncovered, about 10-15 minutes to allow the internal temperature to rise a bit more.

To serve, carve the chicken and garnish with the mint sauce.

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