Tuscan Grilled Chicken Under a Brick

Now that’s a title.

I’ve been telling everyone I would post this from the day I made it, a few weeks ago in LA. I’m sure I use the words “amazing, delicious, the best” etc. here a lot. But I am not kidding (I also say I’m not kidding too often) — THIS CHICKEN IS THE ONLY WAY I WILL EVER GRILL CHICKEN BREASTS EVER, EVER AGAIN. EVER. FUCKING EVER. I don’t know how to use my words so I swear, okay? PS people who say that are stupid sensitive sallys. I know plenty of words, thank you very much. I just use them to heighten my already passionate feelings. It’s like the MSG of language.

Chicken breasts, in my mind, are whack attack. I knowwwww they’re white meat and healthier and blah blahhhhh but I always find them to be dry , of course, in comparison to my favorite– the juicy drums and thighs of our little chicken friends.

But this. This is just awesome.

I was delighted to find out there is a Home Depot just a mile from my house in LA. But wow, nothing makes you feel more like a girl (or an idiot)  than saying, “excuse me. I need 4 bricks”. “How many??” “Just 4″ “What kind of bricks” “I dunno. The bricks from cartoons and stuff that are orangey red”.


Why didn’t I send John to get the bricks? Because John was taping Duets. ABC Thursday’s. 8pm eastern, 7 central. Vote for team John. Tweet about it. Yeah that just happened what.

Anyhow, you cover them in foil, light up the ‘que (that’s what the kids are calling it nowadays), and rub salty deliciousness all over your beautiful breasts. Then do the chicken! HAHAAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAAHAHAH ABAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH DLJFLDKAGJSDLHGSFIHJSFHLKJFSH



Lay em on the grill (I had to put my little foil cup w/ wood chips directly onto the grill rather than under — no room), and please, try not to kill yourself.


The weight from the brick keeps the chicken breast both juicy and crisp. Although this technique is traditionally called “pollo al mattone”, it’s usually used with a spatchcocked whole chicken. The weight of the brick also created gorgeous grill marks while keeping the steam (and juice) from rising out of the chicken. HAHAHAHAHAHA did you think I was actually saying that!? I bet you did huh. It was in the magazine where I got this recipe. I sure got you.

But it’s true.



I paired it with a medley of things. Ribs being the most important. I do this thing where I ALWAYS have a backup for new recipes. For this night, it was bagged Tony Roma’s pre-cooked ribs that you get at the grocery store in the meat section (not frozen) and  just throw in the oven for like, 15 minutes. I do this because I’m usually cooking for a lot of people and if something goes wrong, I need a quick backup. These ribs are PERFECT.

But oh. I will never have a backup again. This chicken is to die for. Period.

Brick chicken, after the jump. I LEARNED HOW TO DO JUMPS!


Tuscan Grilled Brick Chicken (From the June BBQ issue of Fine Cooking magazine)

  • 1 large clove garlic (or 2, because I’m awesome)
  • 1 Tbs. fresh sage
  • 1/2 Tbs. fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 8-oz bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves (try to get them all the same thickness!)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup wood chips (preferably oak) (not MANDATORY, but def recommended)
  • vegetable oil for the grill
  • 4 bricks wrapped in foil
  • 1 medium lemon, sliced into 4 wedges for garnish

In a food processor, pulse the garlic, sage, rosemary, pepper flakes, 1 1/2 Tbs. salt and 1 tsp pepper until finely chopped.

Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels. Lightly brush both sides of the chicken with olive oil and season each breast with 1tsp (or a little more because FLAVOR COUNTRY) of the herbed salt. Let stand at room temp while you prepare the grill.

Prepare a gas or charcoal grill fire for direct grilling over medium heat. (350 degrees F)

If using a charcoal grill, sprinkle the wood chips over the coals. If using a gas grill, use two layers of heavy-duty foil to make a V-shaped packet to hold the wood chips. Set the foil packet between the burners. Replace the grill grate.

Arrange the breasts skin side down on the grill, diagonally (for the pretty grill lines!) Put a brick on each of the chicken breasts.

Grill (covered if using a gas grill) until the skin is crisp and golden brown, 8-10 minutes (more if they’re super thick, duh) If flare-ups occur, move the chicken to a different part of the grill.

Remove bricks with mitts and flip the chicken over with tongs. Replace brick.

Continue to grill (covered if using a gas grill) until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thick part of the breast reads  165 degrees, about another 8-10 minutes more. (ORRRRRR slice into the middle with a knife to check for doneness, like we did. Broken thermometer!)

Transfer to a platter and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with lemon wedges and any remaining herb salt on the side :)

You will love. LOVE.