An absolute favourite of mine and others I know.
The perfect rotisserie chicken
Lemon, herbs and garlic chicken
- 1 Small to medium chicken
- 1/2 Bulb of garlic, crushed
- 1/2 Lemon
- Salt and pepper
A small fire is lit inside a chiminea (a very large barbecue or a gas barbecue will work too) add to that larger pieces of wood as it begins to get going. The wood added is ideally a hard wood as this contains much less resin which makes a lot of smoke and can taint your food. The fire needs to be red hot in the bottom before it is hot enough to cook in front of.
While the fire is taking hold you can prepare the chicken. If you are able to take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before lighting the fire it will start to come towards room temperature. You must be careful with chicken as there is a chance of it poisoning if you do not take precautions. Roll a lemon on a chopping board to soften it. This breaks down some of the segment walls inside the lemon and helps it to release it's juice. Cut the lemon in half and and cuts that half into quarters. Put these lemon wedges into the chicken cavity. Take care not to pack them in. And any other herbs you like such as rosemary, thyme or peeled garlic cloves.
Take the rotisserie skewer and fit a rotisserie fork about a 2/3 of the way down toward the handle. Now push the skewer into the chicken. I like to start at the neck end so that I can keep the flap of skin against the skewer. Gently pass the skewer through the chicken don't worry if some of the lemon come out, that can go back in soon. Once the skewer can be seen coming from inside the bird between its legs replace any lemon, garlic etc that might have come out. Take on flap of the skin by one leg, pull it towards the other leg and push it on to the skewer. Take care not to skewer the leg, just the flap of skin. Repeat with the other leg. The skin should now close the chicken. Push the skewer right the way through a press the fork into the chicken. I like to use the long forks to push into the meat beneath the back bone, the top fork between the breasts and the two short forks into the breast meat. The chicken should be about centre on the skewer, if not loosen the fork and adjust. Now put the second rotisserie fork on to the skewer, pushing it into the meat. Again the long forks this time press into the meat by the parsons nose and breast meat as well as the skin between the thigh and the breast. Don't worry that the legs are loose unless they hit something as it turns. You may need to loosely time the legs together at the equivalent of the ankle but not tight.
With the chicken and the fire ready to go place the chicken on to the supports fit the motor and set it off. Put a tray underneath if you can to catch any juices. You can usaully alter the direction of travel of the rotisseris, do this every 30 minutes. If cooking in fron of a fire keep adding wood as necessary to keep it burning hot. After about 30 - 45 minutes the legs will set and stop moving about, skin will start to collour and you will become aware of the fat melting underneath the skin.
A small chicken will be cooked after about hour and a half, larger birds will take longer. As I say, I cook until a leg drops, you will see that they start to move again with the action of the rotisserie as the chicken nears done. If you want to check that the chicken is cooked use a thermomter and probe the thickest part of the thigh. The temperature needs to be 75°C or 165°F and see that the juices are running clear.
However you chose to rotisserie a chicken put plenty of seasoning on the skin and if you put a lemon inside make sure it isn't too tightly packed.