At chef Brian Huston’s temple of pork and oysters, this sweet and spicy charred bird deserves a shrine of its own.
Makes two servings.
1 whole chicken (about 3 lbs), backbone removed
2½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp espelette pepper
1 tbsp dried oregano
1½ tbsp brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, sliced
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1. Combine all ingredients except chicken in a bowl.
2. Add chicken and toss to coat. Marinate in refrigerator at least one hour or overnight.
3. Heat charcoals on one side of the grill only (or light half of a gas grill). Grill chicken skin-side down over indirect heat (away from the coals), covered.
4. Baste the chicken every five minutes with the marinade for about 30 minutes or until juices run clear when you cut into the chicken.
5. Remove from grill and let rest five minutes. Squeeze the juice of about half a lemon onto chicken, carve with a sharp boning knife and serve.
• Ask your butcher to remove the backbone for you.
• The secret to this dish’s flavor is espelette pepper, a Basque spice that brings subtle heat. At $14.99 for 1.6 ounces, it’s nearly as expensive as saffron. Find it at Fox & Obel (401 E Illinois St, 312-410-7301). Or you can substitute Spanish smoked hot paprika—$1.69 per ounce at the Spice House (1512 N Wells St, 312-274-0378).
• Don’t begin marinating the chicken more than a day before, Huston warns. The lemon juice will begin to cook the chicken.
• Do this dish up Publican-style by grilling summer sausage (served with the restaurant’s half-chicken dish) from Paulina Meat Market (3501 N Lincoln Ave, 773-248-6272). Fudge the frites (served with its half- and whole-chicken dish) with Hopleaf’s recipe.
AT THE PUBLICAN $27 per serving (includes whole chicken and frites)
AT HOME $10.25 per serving (includes whole chicken, frites and sausage)