Primal Grill with Steven Raichlen
Season 3 in High Definition
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Primal Grill is filmed at Esplendor Resort in Rio Rico.
Episode: 303 :: Gaucho Grill
Chicken in a Salt Crust
Method: Grilling in a Salt Crust
Category: Fowl
1 4-pound chicken (preferably organic and free-range), washed and blotted dry

4 cloves garlic, cut in half widthwise but not peeled
1 lemon, cut in half widthwise
2 sprigs fresh rosemary or thyme
2 fresh bay leaves
Coarsely and freshly ground black pepper

9 pounds kosher salt (three 3-pound boxes)

Salsa Verde (Garlic-Parsley Sauce; optionalrecipe follows)

Other Items Needed:
Youll also need: butchers string; a 12-inch cast iron skillet or pan or a foil drip pan (12 by 14 inches); 2 cups wood chunks, or small logs (preferably oak), soaked in water to cover for 15 minutes, then drained (optional)

Set up your grill for indirect grilling and preheat to high (500 to 600 degrees F).

Wash the chicken and blot dry inside and out. Rub the outside of the chicken with cut garlic and one half of the lemon. Place the garlic and the other half lemon in the cavity. Strip the leaves off 1 sprig of rosemary and set aside. Place the whole sprig and the bay leaves in the chickens cavity. Truss the bird with butchers string. Sprinkle the outside of the bird with the loose rosemary leaves and pepper.

Place the salt in a large bucket or bowl. Stir in 2 cups cold water or enough to obtain a slushy mixture with the consistency of wet snow. Scoop enough salt mixture into the foil pan to make a 1-inch deep bed. Place the trussed bird on top. Pack the remaining salt around the chicken to make a crust around 1-inch thick.

Place the chicken on the grill away from direct heat. If using wood chunks, toss them on the coals. Indirect grill the chicken until the salt crust is hard and golden, 40 to 60 minutes. The internal temperature of the bird should be 170 degrees F.

Transfer the bird in its salt crust to a large baking sheet or roasting pan and let rest for 10 minutes. In front of your guests, crack the salt crust with a mallet, rolling pin, or the back of a heavy cleaver. (You may want to spread the table where youre working with newspaper). Break the salt crust off in a couple pieces. Transfer the bird to a cutting board and brush any salt off with a pastry brush. Remove the skin if desiredI like it, so I leave it in place. Cut the bird into quarters or cut the meat off the bone and serve at once, with the salsa spooned over it.
Salsa Verde (Garlic- Parsley Sauce)
Heres a sauce simple enough to complement the chicken without overpowering it, but colorful and flavorful enough to bring it alive. Note: although not traditional, often I add a peeled, seeded, finely diced ripe red tomato.
Category: Sauces
1/2 cup packed minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (preferably, a South American oil, like TerraMater from Chile)
Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 luscious ripe red tomato, peeled, seeded, and finely diced

Place the parsley and garlic in a mixing bowl. Whisk in the olive oil in a thin stream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the tomato if using. Make within a few hours of serving.
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