Smear your cutting board and chicken with herbs, garlic, lemon and olive oil to create an aromatic herb chicken dish packed with fresh flavor. The simple technique of mingling the chicken juices with a herb-y smear while the chicken rests is definitely worth checking out.
The ‘board dressing’ technique was developed by Chef Adam Perry Lang, a grilling guru and author of several cookbooks. He used it initially on steak. I decided to try it with chicken and created my own aromatic herb dressing (smear) with fresh basil, parsley, oregano, rosemary, garlic, lemon, green onion and olive oil.
Once the chicken is cooked – grilled or roasted – you set it on a cutting board smeared with the aromatic mixture, put more of the smear on top of the chicken, then cut it up and toss it around so that it all gets well coated. Let it rest for 10 minutes so the juices and herb board dressing all get mixed together. So good! In fact, I now use the herb dressing smear as a bread and oil dip, on salmon and on our Herb Smothered Shrimp Over Creamy Polenta.
Tailor To Your Taste
- Herbs: parsley, thyme, rosemary, tarragon, sage, mint, oregano. Choose a combination you like.
- Add some smoked paprika to the smear
- Add a splash of quality balsamic vinegar to the smear
- You can use chicken pieces for this recipe, but I find the flattened/spatchcocked chicken to be a bit juicier.
Step The Herb Chicken Up A Notch
(use one or more options if you like)
- Brine the chicken: I often use kosher chicken which is already brined, adding flavour and tenderness. If you use regular or air chilled chicken, you could brine it in a bath of 4 cups water, 4 tablespoons kosher salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1-2 cloves garlic cut in half, 8-10 peppercorns and a sprig or two of rosemary or thyme. Brine for 4 hours for a flattened chicken or overnight for a whole chicken. Rinse and pat dry. Lightly season and continue with recipe.
- Marinate the chicken: Alternatively, double the aromatic smear and use half to marinate the chicken for several hours. Remove from fridge an hour before cooking to bring to room temperature. Before grilling or roasting, wipe off (and discard) the herbs as they tend to burn.
- Baste with some of the smear halfway through cooking. You will need to increase the amount of smear you make.
- Grill the chicken on a cedar plank for a mildly smokey, tender, juicy chicken. See picture and link below.
- Buy kosher chicken which is already brined. Then you need little to no marinating. If you still want to marinate to build flavor, 30 minutes at room temperature will work great.
- Use frozen cubes of garlic or minced garlic in the jar.
- Make the herb smear in the food processor in 30 seconds.
Make Ahead Herb Chicken
- The aromatic smear can be made a few hours ahead.
- This chicken can also be served cold.
Lemon Garlic Herb Chicken
- 1 whole chicken, 3 1/2-4 pounds, spatchcocked/flattened (NOTE 1) I used kosher chicken if possible (already brined)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- seasonings (salt, pepper, paprika)
Aromatic Herb Lemon Garlic Smear
- 1/2 cup fresh herbs, finely chopped (any combination e.g. basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, parsley, tarragon)
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves (2 tsp), crushed (or 2 frozen cubes)
- zest of 1 lemon (plus optional 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes or less (optional)
- IF GRILLING : Clean and oil grill. Heat gas grill to medium high (400-425F). IF ROASTING: Heat oven to 400F. Line a pan with foil and spray with oil.
- PREPARE CHICKEN: Rub olive oil over chicken and sprinkle on seasonings, front and back.
- TO GRILL CHICKEN Place chicken skin side up on grill. Turn off burner under chicken. Try to keep temperature of BBQ at 375F-425F. Grill for about 40 minutes or until instant thermometer reads 160F in breast. Temperature will rise with resting. Optional: To increase browning on skin, flip chicken over, skin side down, turn on burner and grill for a few more minutes.) NOTE 2 to roast chicken instead.
- MAKE SMEAR: While chicken is cooking, combine with all smear ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. It's a good idea to grate garlic or crush it with back of knife since it will be eaten raw. (Alternatively, pulse all ingredients in food processor - that's what I do.)
- FINISH DISH: Spread 1/3 of aromatic smear on a large cutting board or platter. (If using platter, cut up chicken first). Place chicken on top of smear. Spoon rest of smear on top and sides of chicken. Cut chicken into pieces. Loosely cover with foil and let chicken rest for 10 minutes, allowing chicken juices to mingle with smear. Flip chicken around in the juices and herbs and serve.
- To spatchcock or flatten chicken: Cut out the backbone by using kitchen scissors to cut down both sides of the back bone. Turn chicken over and press down hard to flatten. (Or ask the butcher to do it for you)
- To roast chicken (instead of grilling): Place chicken, skin side down on pan. Roast chicken for 20 minutes. Flip over and roast for another 20 minutes or until instant thermometer reads 160F. Temperature will rise with resting.
- To Make Ahead: The aromatic smear can be made a few hours ahead. The chicken can be made ahead and warmed in a 350F for 10 minutes. Or served cold.
Other grilled chicken recipes you might enjoy: