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Why use alcohol in cooking? It’s not just to lubricate the cook…though I don’t mind that side effect. A lot of flavors are alcohol soluble, and only come out when a bit of booze is added. Think of vodka and cream sauce — it tastes so good because the alcohol in the vodka perks up the flavor of the tomatoes.
Now, when I cook with alcohol, my goal is NOT to get everyone at the dinner table drunk. This glaze needs to simmer, both to thicken it into a glaze, and to boil away the harsh flavor of the alcohol.
Tequila is made from the heart of the blue agave plant in Jalisco, Mexico. (If it’s not from Jalisco, it may be good, but it’s not Tequila.) Think of this recipe as a margarita glaze — sweet, tequila, and lime, brushed on the chicken. I use agave syrup in the glaze; it is the obvious choice to pair with agave based tequila.
1 (4 pound) chicken
1 tablespoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Tequila Lime Glaze
¼ cup tequila
¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice (juice of 2 limes)
¼ cup agave syrup (or substitute honey)
Season, truss and spit the chicken: Season the chicken with the salt and pepper, inside and out. Gently work your fingers between the skin and the breast, then rub some of the salt directly onto the breast meat. Fold the wing tips under the wings and truss the chicken. Skewer the chicken on the rotisserie spit, securing it with the spit forks. (For an overview, see my post on trussing and spitting a chicken.)
Test the rotisserie: Put the spit on the grill and turn on the motor. Be sure to test that your food fits and freely spins on the rotisserie. (It is crucial to test this out before you preheat the grill.) Move the chicken and spit back to a platter while the grill heats up.
Set the grill for indirect high heat: Set up the grill for indirect high heat with the drip pan in the middle of the grill.
Make the glaze: Whisk the tequila lime glaze ingredients in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until the sauce thickens into a glaze, about five minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside for later.
Rotisserie the chicken: Put the spit on the grill, start the motor spinning, and center the drip pan under the chicken. Close the lid and cook until the chicken reaches 160°F in the thickest part of the breast, about 1 hour. During the last fifteen minutes of cooking, brush the chicken with a layer of glaze every five minutes.
Serve: Remove the chicken from the rotisserie spit and then remove the trussing twine. Be careful — the spit and forks are blazing hot. Brush the chicken with one last coat of glaze, then let it rest for 15 minutes. Carve, drizzle with any remaining glaze, and serve.
Simmering boils away most - but not all - of the alcohol. If you are serving someone who cannot have alcohol under any circumstances, replace the tequila with more lime juice.
Wood smoke is always good with chicken. I like to add a cup of soaked wood chips (gas grill) or a fist-sized chunk of wood (charcoal grill) right before I start cooking the chicken. Cherry and apple are my favorites with this recipe - but any smoking wood will work.
Adapted from: Rotisserie Chicken Grilling by Mike Vrobel. Visit Mike at his blog, DadCooksDinner.com.