I love it when Jake comes home and the house is filled with the sound of his guitar and his friends. Best yet, I love it when I can cook for them. So when he was coming home for a too-quick trip over Memorial Day Weekend and getting together with his college friends from New Orleans who all now live in L.A., I wanted to treat them to some “Laguna Street Tacos.” But to change it up I decided to cook a rotisserie chicken along with carnitas.
Since I got my new BBQ the rotisserie is my favorite way to cook. I don’t know about you, but until now the rotisserie attachment always ended up somewhere in the garage, but never on the actual BBQ itself. I always thought it was too complicated to bother with. And after all, I could buy a rotisserie chicken at Ralph’s or Costco without any muss or fuss. But now that I know how easy it is, I’m putting everything on the rotisserie.
Here’s what the chicken will look like when it’s done–just like store-bought but it tastes way better. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me show you how simple it really is.
1 whole chicken 3-5 lbs.
1 lemon, but into quarters
1 whole head of garlic, cut in half
fresh herbs–I’ve used parsley, cilantro and rosemary–pick your favorite
For the marinade–mine is never the same twice and the amounts are approx.
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cube of melted butter
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. Emeril Southwest seasoning
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lime juiced
2-3 chipotle peppers, chopped
Thoroughly rinse and pat dry the bird inside and out. It’s best to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to make sure it’s really dry. Generously season the cavity with Kosher salt, then add the lemon wedges, garlic and herbs.
Tie the bird with the twine so it’s a nice compact bundle. The main thing is to keep it from flopping around when it’s turning on the rotisserie. I had a little trouble with this the first time, but just stopped the rotisserie motor and tied it up a little more.
After it’s tied, rub the marinade over the bird. (It’s easier to tie it first, then rub the marinade–trust me on this).
Push the 4-pointed rotisserie prongs into each end of the chicken and slide the bar through the bird. Make sure you tighten the prongs–I use a small wrench to make sure it’s on tight and doesn’t slide around like it did the first attempt. Put a pan beneath it to catch the drippings. (If you’re energetic you can make a sauce at the end.)
The hard part is all done now. Depending on the size of the chicken it can take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours to cook. Just test with a meat thermometer to make sure it’s done.
While you’re waiting for the bird to cook, enjoy chips, salsa and Jake’s famous guacamole–Hass avocados, lime, green onion, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, lots of salt, and pepper.
Throw in a backgammon tournament, your favorite beverages and the party begins.
Check the bird from time to time to make sure it’s firmly attached and cooking nicely.
When it’s done, let it rest for at least 7 minutes so it stays juicy.
Shred the chicken and it’s ready to serve. I wasn’t sure how many of Jake’s friends were coming so I made a carnitas, too and topped the chicken with some of the carnitas sauce. Serve with corn on the cob, carnitas toppings and warm tortillas. Oh…and don’t do what I did and forget about the black beans on the stove.
Use paper plates and cleanup’s a cinch. And don’t be surprised…
…if they have seconds. If not, they can always take a doggie-bag back to L.A…or in Jake’s case, New York City. So dig through the stuff in your garage, dust off the rotisserie motor and cook a bird. Tonight I’m branching into a pork loin–to be continued…
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