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GRILL THE WHOLE SHEBANG

An hour on the charcoal grill produces a flavorful, juicy bird.

When I grill a chicken, which I have been doing quite a lot lately, I grill the chicken. The whole chicken. And nothing but the chicken.

So help me, I don't know anyone else who does this.

Everyone I know grills chicken parts. I used to grill chicken parts. Even when I bought a whole chicken (it's a lot cheaper per pound) I would cut it up and grill the individual pieces.

Until the day my wife suggested I grill the whole thing like I do with the Thanksgiving turkey. I found that the covered grill acts like an oven, only it imparts so much more flavor because of the burning charcoal and a little bit of smoke.

The whole organic chickens I have grilled have been the juiciest, sweetest and flat-out best chickens I have ever made, and I have cooked a flock of chickens in my time.

Here is how easy it is: Take a whole chicken out of the fridge for an hour. Season it with plenty of salt and pepper, inside and out (making sure you have removed the neck and giblets first, of course). Start a fire on one side of the grill. When it is good and hot, place the chicken breast-side-down on the hot grate away from the flames. Close the lid, making sure the vents are over the bird and are open.

Walk away and enjoy a well-deserved snack. I recommend cheese and crackers.

An hour later (for a 3- to 3-1/2-pound chicken; larger would take longer), remove the chicken. Carve, serve and enjoy. The skin is sublimely crispy and salty.Try to avoid the temptation to use your hands to pick away at whatever meat is left on the carcass.

That's all there is to it. Note that you don't even have to turn the chicken while cooking. It's nothing but cheese and crackers for a solid hour.

I'm sure you could marinate the chicken before cooking it this way, and I may even try it someday. But why would you even bother when it tastes so incredibly good this way?

Note: I just realized - and I mean just realized - that all I am doing is making beer-can chicken without the beer can. You get the same result and you don't have to waste the beer.

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