The crisp skin cracks like a single layer of Chinese lacquer as you carve into this savory, spicy, sweet roast chicken. The aromas of herbs swirl with the scent of soy sauce and honey, while the texture of the crackled skin, moistened by meaty steam and syrupy pears, is enough to make your head swim. Take a whiff and dive in.
Prep: 15 minutes (plus 10 minutes for rub and Peking crackle)
Grill: About 1½ hours.
BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Kitchen twine
– Long-handled spatula
– Long-handled tongs
– Long-handled basting brush.
Indirect heat, medium (325° to 350°F)
3- or 4-burner grill–middle burner(s) off
2-burner grill–1 side off
Clean, oiled grate
Indirect heat, medium ash
Split charcoal bed (about 2 dozen coals per side)
20 replacement coals
Heavy-duty drip pan set between banks of charcoal
Clean, oiled grate on medium setting.
INGREDIENTS (MAKES 4 SERVINGS)
2 tablespoons Tuscan Rosemary Rub
2 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1 chicken, about 3½ pounds, washed and dried
Oil for coating grill grate
½ cup Peking Crackle
3 large Bartlett pears, firm but not hard
1 tablespoon vegetable oil.
1. Heat the grill as directed.
2. Mix 1 tablespoon of the rub with the butter by mashing them with a fork on a clean work surface until well blended.
3. Separate the skin from the breast and legs of the chicken, and gently but firmly insert your index finger under the skin at the neck end of the chicken. Move it around, separating the skin from the meat underneath. Gradually ease your whole hand under the skin, loosening the skin from the breast, legs, and drumsticks.
4. Spoon the herb butter under the skin and push it evenly over the breast and legs of the chicken by rubbing the skin to spread the butter.
5. Spoon the remaining 1 tablespoon rub into the interior of the chicken and rub it over the walls of the internal cavity. Tie the legs of the chicken together with kitchen twine.
6. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the chicken on the grill away from the heat, cover the grill, and cook until an instantread thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers about 170°F, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Baste with half of the glaze during the last 20 minutes of cooking. If your grill has a temperature gauge, it should stay at around 350°F. If you are using charcoal, you will probably have to replenish the coals after the first hour.
7. Meanwhile, cut the pears in half lengthwise, remove the core with a melon baller, and coat the pear halves with the 1 tablespoon oil.
8. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, put the pears directly over the heat, and cook until browned and tender, brushing with the remaining glaze and turning once.
9. Remove the chicken and pears to a large serving platter, lifting the chicken with tongs and using a spatula for support. Let rest for 8
to 10 minutes; carve and serve.