I've gone and done it. I've officially killed my copy of Rick Bayless's Mexican Everyday. Now more a mess of loose pages than an actual book, this favorite had shown signs of giving way for over a year. The final culprit-- a Mexican Roadside Chicken recipe. I've passed it up many times, and only turned to the inconspicuous recipe this fateful day to appease some non-beef eaters who wouldn't partake in my skirt steak fajitas.
Luckily, the book did not die in vain. This chicken, which was more of an afterthought, became the real star of the day. After a 45-minute cook over indirect heat, a picture-perfect, mahogany-skinned bird was revealed. The feast for the eyes quickly gave way to its succulent flavors--an earthy and acidic combination enlivened by the chicken's juiciness, all of which paired very nicely with the green onion and tomatillo salsa accompaniments. Although disappointed by the loss of my book, this meal did wonders to ease the pain.
- For the rub:
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ancho chile powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
- A big pinch of ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped or crushed through a garlic press
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus a little more for the onions
- 1 large chicken, about 3 lbs, butterflied
- 2 large bunches of green onions or knob onions
- A little olive oil for brushing the onions
- Grilled tomatillo salsa, for serving
Light a chimney 3/4 full of charcoal. While the charcoal is lighting, mix all the ingredients for the rub together in a small bowl.
When the charcoal is fully lit and covered in gray ash, pour coals out and arrange them on one side of the charcoal grate, keeping the other side empty. Place the chicken over the cool side of the grill, skin side down, and brush exposed side with the wet rub. Flip the chicken over and brush the other side with the rub. Cover the grill and cook, basting occasionally with any remaining rub, at 350 degrees until an instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the breast, about 45 minutes. Remove the chicken from the grill and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
While the chicken is resting, brush the onions with olive oil and season with salt. Place the onions over the hot side of the grill and cook until tender and browned, about 5 minutes per side.
To serve, cut the chicken into quarters, top with green onions and tomatillo salsa.