Grilled Chicken Under A Brick

by lydia on August 24, 2010

Years ago, I’m talking like a decade ago, I watched Bobby Flay do a show on butterflied and grilled brick chicken chicken pressed down under a brick covered in foil (aka – Brick Chicken).  I had to try it! It was so wonderfully delicious. Years and years past and for whatever reason, I forgot about this delectable way to prepare chicken on the grill.

Thankfully, this summer all my inspiration and drive to cook fun and fabulous food came back. There are many ways to season this style of chicken, so feel free to play around with the components of the recipe, it’s sure to be a win win! I love this chicken in the heart of summer when tomatoes are at their peak. I like to serve it paired with a super simple heirloom tomato salad with fresh basil vinaigrette. Summer meals are the best, aren’t they?!


Brick Chicken


  • 1 - 3 to 3 1/2 pound whole pastured chicken, backbone cut out and butterflied
  • A handful of fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, oregano or rosemary
  • Zest of one organic lemon
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon coarse celtic sea salt
  • good quality olive oil


  1. Using poultry shears or kitchen scissors, cut the backbone out of the chicken, then place the chicken cut side down on a cutting board and press down to flatten.
  2. In a blender, place the herbs, garlic, zest and salt. Turn the blender (or food processor) on and slowly drizzle in 1/3 cup of olive oil until well blended to make a thick paste. Add more oil if desired.
  3. Place the chicken in a container or a ziploc bag and pour the marinade over it, making sure to coat the whole bird. Place in the fridge to marinate up to 24 hours.
  4. When ready to cook the chicken, get a hot fire going in your grill, keeping one half of the grill hot and the other half cold. If using a charcoal grill, build your fire only in half of the grill. This won't work well if you only have a teeny tiny charcoal grill. (ask me how I know!)
  5. Place the chicken, breast side down, over the hot side of the fire and place a brick covered in aluminum foil on top (I actually used my cast iron skillet for this as I didn't not have a brick or aluminum foil - I suspect it's a healthier option). Grill for 2-3 minutes just to crisp the skin and flip and repeat on the other side. After the initial browning, move the chicken to the other side of the grill, the 'cold' side, and grill further for 25 minutes or so until a knife inserted into the thigh produces clear running juices.
  6. Return the chicken to the hot side to crisp up the skin again placing the brick or skillet on top. Again 2 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
  7. Time Involved: Active - 15 minutes
  8. Inactive time - up to 24 hours marinating, 25-30 minutes grilling



Alongside this fabulously grilled chicken, I served an Heirloom Tomato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette, which can be quickly whipped up while the chicken is happily grilling away.

Heirloom Tomato Salad

1 1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, sliced

In a bowl toss with as much basil vinaigrette as you like.


Basil Vinaigrette

1 cup of basil, coarsely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup good quality olive oil

2 tablespoons of brine from one of your ferments, or kombucha (lemon juice or apple cider vinegar work as well)

salt and pepper to taste

Pulse garlic and basil in a food processor. Slowly drizzle in the brine and the oil until emulsified. This entire meal really only takes a little more than 30 minutes to pull together, and really is super simple!



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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

girlichef August 24, 2010 at 1:42 pm

This is hands-down one of my favorite ways of preparing chicken! It’s so logical…and so primal to me (strange??)!! This sounds delicious…thanks for sharing it w/ Two for Tuesdays this week =)


alex@amoderatelife August 24, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Lydia! YOu totally did this on purpose to tease me! This is one of the recipes that really attracted me in your August E-book! I have had brick chicken before and it is one of the most tender and interesting ways to prepare the chicken! Really looking forward to seeing your September Ebook and doing a little promo with you! :) thanks for sharing on the two for tuesday recipe blog hop. Alex@amoderatelife


Butterpoweredbike August 24, 2010 at 4:31 pm

I’ve gotten so that no matter what type of poultry I’m cooking, I spatchcock it. It makes for quicker and more even cooking. Thanks for linking up with Two for Tuesday.


Christy August 24, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Just to show how little I know about real foodie cooking – I have NEVER heard of this preparation and I am sure my husband will think I am crazy when I ask him to cook it this way – but it sounds AMAZING! Thanks for linking this to Two for Tuesdays!


Debra E August 12, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Am loving your Basil Vinaigrette, except that I use cilantro instead of basil. LOVE!


lydia May 5, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Glad to hear it!


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