2 whole chickens - 1.5kg or larger *
2 lemon -- quartered
2 medium onion -- quartered
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 cloves garlic -- halved
Probably the most abused food on any barbecue pit is the poor old chicken. I don't know how many times good manners have been challenged by being served a blackened fowl that is still raw in the middle. There is no escape, so you pick around the edges, then beat a hasty retreat, hopefully, unobserved.
Generally, there are two mistakes that lead to this travesty. First, the bird is cooked over a fire that is much too hot. If you remember that frying chicken takes about 45 minutes, and that the oil is ideally at 185°C to 190°C., then you begin to see that barbecuing, a less efficient cooking method, should take longer. And longer has to mean at a lower temperature level, or you wind up with the well-known charcoal effect. Secondly, many people feel that chicken just has to be basted, and so they buy a
bottle of commercial tomato-based sauce. Here comes the second layer of charring!!
Just for grins, try out my method and see if the results aren't just a little more pleasing.
Rinse the chickens thoroughly inside and out, discarding the neck and giblets. Stuff each chicken with one lemon, one onion, 2 sprigs of rosemary, and two cloves of garlic. Sprinkle each bird with black pepper. Place the birds in a covered barbecue pit, away from the direct heat and close the pit. Hold the temperature in the pit at about 125°C for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours.
Baste the birds occasionally with the cooking oil that has been seasoned to your liking with the Tabasco Sauce. When the chickens are a nice rich brown colour, and the drumstick wiggles freely, they're done, but try it with the meat thermometer to make certain.
Whole chickens hold their juices better and come out much more moist. Larger birds have more fat and are better candidates for this method of cooking. If you're doing halved chicken, then baste more frequently, and watch the cooking time. It should be about an hour less.