Francis Mallmann's Salt-Crusted Chicken
Recipe from Primal Grill with Steven Raichlen, Episode 303, and Planet Barbecue! by Steven Raichlen.
Chef, restaurateur, author, and TV host, Francis Mallmann is the most famous grill man in South America. He has spent a lifetime perfecting the ancient art of South American grilling, distilling his knowledge into a must-read book called Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way.
Related recipe: Salsa Verde (garlic-parsley sauce) -- a sauce simple enough to complement the chicken without overpowering it, but colorful and flavorful enough to bring it alive.
Set up your grill for indirect grilling and preheat to high (500 to 600 degrees F).
Wash the chicken and blot dry inside and out. Rub the outside of the chicken with cut garlic and one half of the lemon. Place the garlic and the other half lemon in the cavity. Strip the leaves off 1 sprig of rosemary and set aside. Place the whole sprig and the bay leaves in the chickens cavity. Truss the bird with butchers string. Sprinkle the outside of the bird with the loose rosemary leaves and pepper.
Place the salt in a large bucket or bowl. Stir in 2 cups cold water or enough to obtain a slushy mixture with the consistency of wet snow. Scoop enough salt mixture into the foil pan to make a 1-inch deep bed. Place the trussed bird on top. Pack the remaining salt around the chicken to make a crust around 1-inch thick.
Place the chicken on the grill away from direct heat. If using wood chunks, toss them on the coals. Indirect grill the chicken until the salt crust is hard and golden, 40 to 60 minutes. The internal temperature of the bird should be 170 degrees F.
Transfer the bird in its salt crust to a large baking sheet or roasting pan and let rest for 10 minutes. In front of your guests, crack the salt crust with a mallet, rolling pin, or the back of a heavy cleaver. (You may want to spread the table where youre working with newspaper). Break the salt crust off in a couple pieces. Transfer the bird to a cutting board and brush any salt off with a pastry brush. Remove the skin if desiredI like it, so I leave it in place. Cut the bird into quarters or cut the meat off the bone and serve at once, with the salsa spooned over it.
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