Main Meals

Onion-smoked brick chicken

10 minutes, plus 3 hours’ or overnight chilling time
40 minutes

“This is how you get juicy chicken with crispy skin and smoky flavour. Add weight to the spatchcocked chicken with a brick wrapped in foil, and place sliced onions directly into the coals every now and then to create a smoke that flavours the chicken as it cooks.” – Clem Pedro

Wine/Spirit Pairing
DMZ Pinot Noir

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  • 1 Woolworths whole chicken with a butter brine-based blend
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 onions, sliced into thick rings
  • 150 g butter
  • 1 head garlic, halved horizontally

1. Butterfly the chicken, cutting through the backbone. Season and place on a tray, skin-side facing up. Chill overnight or for at least 3 hours. Remove the chicken from the fridge and prepare a fire.

2. Once the coals are medium-low, place some of the onion in the coals and lay the chicken, skin side down, on a braai grid placed over the coals. Place a foil-covered brick onto the chicken. After 10–15 minutes, remove the brick, then turn the chicken every 10 minutes, adding more onions to the coals each time.

3. Just before the chicken is cooked, place the butter and garlic in a small cast-iron saucepan. Once the butter has melted, brush it onto the chicken, allowing the excess to drip onto the coals, creating more smoky flavour.

4. After 35–40 minutes the chicken should be cooked through and tender. Allow to rest for 20 minutes, covered in foil, then portion and serve.

Cook's note: The Tuscan method – pollo al mattone – or chicken under a brick, results in a juicy bird with crispy skin. Wrapping a brick in foil and placing it on top of the chicken ensures that as much of it as possible is exposed to the heat. You could also use a heavy pan weighed down with a few beer cans.

Find more braai recipes here. 

Photograph: Jan Ras
Production: Abigail Donnelly and Clement Pedro
Food assistants: Josh Van Zyl, Ellah Maepa and Lerato Maepa

Clement Pedro

Recipe by: Clement Pedro

Clement Pedro strikes a balance between rib-sticking fare you can really get stuck into and experimental recipes that take accessible ingredients to next-level status. Clem can do pretty much anything – and so can you with his recipes.

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