Recipe courtesy of Beetlebung Farm and Chris Fischer

Spit-Roasted Chicken

  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 4 hr 30 min (includes marinating and resting time)
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Ingredients

1 whole chicken 

3 tablespoons soy sauce 

1 tablespoon olive oil 

Juice of 1 lemon, rinds reserved

3 tablespoons unsalted butter 

3 long sprigs fresh rosemary 

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Salsa verde and roasted potatoes, for serving

Directions

Special equipment:
spit or rebar, for roasting chicken
  1. About 2 hours before cooking the chicken, build a fire using lots of kindling and newspaper to get a hot bed of coals going. Oak is a very hard, dense wood and generally needs a good bed of coals to get going.
  2. Meanwhile, mix together 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, the olive oil and lemon juice. Rub the marinade into the chicken well and allow to sit in a cool spot, out of the sun, for at least 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Skewer the chicken onto your spit or rebar about 2 feet above your coals. Rake or shovel the coals to surround the chicken; they should not be directly under the chicken because as the fat renders out it will drip onto the fire and flare up. Start the bird slowly; it will need to cook for about 2 hours. As the cooking process starts, melt the butter with the remaining soy sauce and the lemon rinds in a small pot to use for basting.
  4. Every 15 minutes rake more coals under the bird, rotate it on the spit 90 degrees and baste it using the rosemary as a brush. The rosemary branches can also be set on top of the chicken in between basting. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
  5. After 1 1/2 hours, either build the fire up more to begin to crisp up the skin or move the chicken closer to the coals. As the fire gets hotter, you'll need to keep a closer eye on the chicken and turn it more frequently so as not to burn it.
  6. When the thighs are pulling away from the body of the bird and the breast is firm to the touch with crispy skin, rake the coals away, raise the bird and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.
  7. Serve with salsa verde and roasted potatoes.

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