The name, Chicken alla Diavolo, means “chicken of the devil.” Some say the name is from the hot coals the chicken is usually cooked over; others say it’s for the amount of black pepper used in the recipe. Whatever the origin, it’s an excellent reason to fire up the grill on a nice night. The result is a very flavorful – but not scorching – crispy chicken. It makes plenty for guests if you can bring yourself to share. Unadapted from Italian Classics by Cooks Illustrated.
Prep Time: 15 minutes + 2 hours marinating time | Cook Time: 40 minutes | Serves: 4
- 1 whole chicken (3 to 3 1/2 pounds), butterflied
- 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh, coarsely ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup lemon juice (from 4 large lemons)
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest
- 3 medium garlic cloves, smashed but with skins left on
- 1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
Rub the butterflied chicken all over with 1 tablespoon black pepper. Place the chicken in a gallon-sized ziplock bag and add the oil, 1/2 cup lemon juice, zest, garlic, red pepper flakes, and 1 tsp salt. Gently massage the bag to mix the marinade around chicken and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Mix the remaining 1/2 tablespoon black pepper, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp salt together in a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
To cook on a charcoal grill
Light a large chimney starter filled three-quarters with hardwood charcoal (about 2 pounds) and allow to burn until all the charcoal is covered with a layer of fine gray ash. Build a single-level fire by spreading the coals evenly over the bottom of the grill. Set the cooking rack in place, cover with the lid, and let the rack heat, about 5 minutes. Use a wire brush to scrape clean the cooking rack. The grill is ready when the coals are medium-hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above the cooking rach for 3 to 4 seconds).
Remove chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Place the chicken, bone side down, on the cooking rack. Set a rimmed baking sheet (or other flat pan) on top of the chicken and put two bricks in the pan. Grill until the chicken is deep brown, about 12 minutes. Turn the chicken skin side down with tongs. Replace the baking sheet and bricks and continue cooking until the chicken juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer inserted deep into the thigh registers 165 degrees, 12 to 15 minutes longer.
Remove the bricks and pan, turn the chicken skin side up, and brush the skin with the reserved lemon mixture. Carefully flip the chicken skin side down and allow the skin to crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
To cook on a gas grill
Preheat the grill with all burners set to high and with the lid down until the grill is very hot, about 15 minutes. Use a wire brush to scrape clean the cooking rack. Turn all burners to medium.
Place the chicken, bone side down, on the cooking rack. Set a rimmed baking sheet (or other flat pan) on top of the chicken and put two bricks in the pan. Cover and grill until the chicken skin is deep brown and shows grill marks, 12 to 15 minutes. Turn the chicken with tongs and continue to cook (without replacing the pan or the bricks on top) until the chicken juices run clear and an instant read thermometer inserted deep into the thigh registers 165 degrees, about 15 minutes more.
Brush the skin with the reserved lemon mixture. Carefully flip the chicken skin side down and allow the skin to crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.