Superb pressed lemony chicken

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15 min


3 to 4 servings

* PLUS Barbecuing Time: 40 minutes, Refrigeration Time: 360 minutes


  • 1.25 to 1.5 kg whole roasting chicken
  • 2 large lemons , or 3 to 4 medium lemons
  • 4 garlic cloves , minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp coarse or 1 tsp regular salt
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary , or 1 tbsp dried rosemary, crumbled


  • Using kitchen scissors or shears, cut out backbone of chicken and discard. Cut off and discard any excess fat and skin. Place chicken skin-side up on a flat surface. Using both hands, press down on breastbone until chicken is completely flat or whack with a heavy pan. Rinse with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Place chicken skin-side down in a container just large enough to hold it. (This is important–you want as much liquid covering chicken as possible.) Finely grate peel from 1 lemon. Slice both lemons in half and squeeze out juice. You should have about 3/4 cup (175 mL). Save lemon peel and shells.
  • In a small bowl, whisk garlic with lemon peel, juice, oil, Dijon, salt and rosemary. Pour over chicken and rub in. Tuck lemon shells around chicken. This will raise level of marinade. Cover and refrigerate at least half a day, preferably overnight. If chicken is not completely submerged, turn partway through marinating.
  • To barbecue, lightly oil grill, then preheat barbecue to high for 10 minutes. Wrap a large, cast-iron frying pan with foil. Remove chicken from marinade. Save marinade. Place chicken skin-side down on grill. Place pan on top of chicken. Immediately reduce heat to medium. Place 1 or 2 bricks or weights in pan to keep chicken flat. Barbecue with lid closed until skin is just golden- tinged, from 8 to 10 minutes. Remove bricks and pan and brush some marinade over bone side. Discard marinade. Turn chicken skin-side up and replace pan and bricks. Continue to barbecue with lid closed for 20 minutes. Turn over and weigh down chicken. Barbecue until springy when pressed, from 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from grill. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Great with grilled vegetables.

Nutrition (per serving)

  • Calories
  • 202,
  • Protein
  • 34.1 g,
  • Carbohydrates
  • 0.7 g,
  • Fat
  • 17.8 g,
  • Sodium
  • 180 mg.

Weighing down chicken not only helps it to cook faster but also keeps it moist, without flare-ups.