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Rum, mint and lime give this new barbecue dish a surprising twist that your guests will love
- 1.7-2kg whole chicken
- 1 x 28g pack mint
- 3 tbsp white rum
- 3 shallots, chopped
- finely grated zest and juice of 2 limes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp chipotle chilli flakes (optional)
For the mint gremolata
- 2 limes
- 1 x 28g pack mint, leaves finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
Marinate the chicken the night before. The gremolata can be made 1-2 hours ahead.
Firstly you need to spatchcock the chicken (see below). Use a sharp knife to cut a few deep slashes through the chicken, on the legs and the breast, to help the marinade penetrate. Lay the chicken flat in a shallow dish and set aside.
Spatchcocking a chicken means flattening it out; it’s a great way to barbecue a whole chicken as it cooks quickly and evenly. Remove the string and trim off the wing tips and leg knuckles. Put the chicken breast-side down on a chopping board then, using heavy duty kitchen scissors, cut down each side of the backbone. Remove and discard. Turn the bird breast side-up and press down really firmly in the middle to open it out flat.
Pick the leaves and thinner stems from the mint, and chop roughly. Add to a small food processor with the rum, shallots, lime zest and juice, olive oil and chilli flakes, if using. Season and blitz together (alternatively, chop everything finely and mix together in a bowl). Spoon the marinade over the chicken, working it well into the slashes. Cover with clingfilm and set aside in the fridge to marinate for about 2 hours, or overnight if you have time.
When you are ready to cook, fire up a barbecue to a low heat, or preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6. Preheating will take at least 30 minutes with a charcoal barbecue – the flames need to have died down completely, leaving you with glowing coals with a coating of white ash. Push the hot coals to one side, so you can cook the chicken on the other side over a lower, more indirect heat. Season the chicken generously with salt; discard the marinade.
For the barbecue: lay the spatchcocked chicken skin-side up onto the grill bars and shut the lid. Leave to cook for 35-40 minutes. Check every 10 minutes or so to make sure the chicken is cooking evenly, turning around if necessary but keeping it skin side up. Now turn the chicken skin side down, and cook for 25-30 minutes, again checking regularly to make sure it’s cooking evenly. For maximum crispy skin, weight the chicken down as it cooks; a heavy cast iron dish or even a heavy heatproof (no plastic handles) frying pan is ideal. Check the chicken is cooked by slicing into the thickest part of the meat: there should be no hint of pink and the juices should run clear. Cook for a few more minutes if necessary. A digital temperature probe is really handy here; it should register 75°C in the thickest part.
- If you’re cooking in the oven, heat a large griddle pan to high. Put the chicken skin-side down in the pan, and cook for 8-10 minutes until golden and lightly charred. Transfer to a roasting tray, skin-side-up and cook in the oven for 45-50 minutes until the juices run clear.
Once cooked, remove to a chopping board, cover loosely with foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes while you make the gremolata. Zest the limes into a small bowl and mix in the mint and garlic. Chop the zested limes into wedges and reserve.
Cut the chicken into pieces through the bone using a large sharp knife. Pile onto a serving plate and sprinkle over the gremolata. Serve with the lime wedges.