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August 18, 2012

Herb Chicken Cooked Under a Brick

By Worker Bee
57 Comments

Who would’ve guessed that the secret to the juiciest, most tender chicken breast you’ve ever tasted was a brick? Not a fancy culinary instrument that happens to be called a brick, but an actual brick, the type used to build houses and fireplaces and to landscape yards. A brick set on top of a cooking chicken applies just enough pressure to push the bird against the hot pan, crisping up the skin and cooking all the meat evenly and quickly before it dries out. The bird comes out juicy and tender on the inside, crispy and golden on the outside.

As long as you have a few bricks laying around, the technique couldn’t be easier. First, remove the backbone from the chicken so the bird can be splayed out flat. With a pair of kitchen shears, this is quick work. Next, rub the chicken down with something tasty. In this case, a smoky, herbal rub made from thyme, oregano, garlic and smoked paprika add tons of flavor. You can go this route, or use any of your own favorite rubs or marinades.

Now, it’s time for the bricks to work their magic. Heat an ovenproof skillet on the stove and set the chicken in it, skin side down. Put the bricks on top and leave it alone for 6-8 minutes. Transfer the skillet to a hot oven and leave the chicken alone again, with bricks on top, for 20 minutes or so. Flip the bird, let it cook a little longer, and you’re minutes away from tasting a culinary miracle. The chicken breasts are not only moist, they’re down right succulent. The rest of the bird is amazing too. You might as well make room in your kitchen cupboard now to permanently store two bricks. After trying this recipe, you’ll never want to roast chicken any other way.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, 3-4 pounds (approx 1.5 kg)
  • 2 tablespoons oil (30 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (15 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (5 ml)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (approx 1 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (5 ml)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (2.5 ml)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (approx 1 ml)

Tools:

  • Ovenproof skillet
  • 1-2 bricks, wrapped in foil

Instructions:

In a bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the oil with the thyme, oregano, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Set the chicken on a cutting board breast side down.

Starting at the tail, use a knife or better yet, kitchen shears, to cut all the way down the back, keeping as close to the backbone as you can. Then, cut down the other side of the backbone, splitting the chicken open. Remove the backbone.

Spread the chicken open, lightly pressing down to flatten it. Rub the spice mixture all over the chicken, getting some under the skin and directly onto the meat.

Preheat oven to 400 °F (204 °C)

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is really hot, add the chicken skin side down and place the bricks on top to push the bird down against the skillet. You can get away with using one brick if the chicken is small, but larger birds usually need two bricks.

Cook until the skin is golden brown, 6-8 minutes (it’s okay to take the bricks off and peek).

Put the skillet in the oven and roast the chicken with the bricks on top for 25 minutes. Take off the bricks and turn the chicken over. Put the bricks back on and roast another 10 or so minutes until the chicken is done. The juices should run clear when you pierce the bird with a fork; you can also stab it with a thermometer and make sure it reads at least 165 °F (74 °C).


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57 Comments on "Herb Chicken Cooked Under a Brick"

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Kyle Johnson
Kyle Johnson
4 years 1 month ago

Yummm, although I don’t have bricks, I make go get some just for this purpose. Looks delicious!

Go2goal
Go2goal
3 years 10 months ago

There’s always bricks at a local dump….otherwise you can use river rocks.

WildGrok
WildGrok
4 years 1 month ago

Wow we learn a lot of stuff here … looking out for my couple of bricks

BobG
BobG
4 years 1 month ago
Yes Yes Yes! This is my absolute favorite way to make chicken. I add one extra step, though: Make a paste of butter, chopped garlic, and a little salt – you want ~2T of it. When the chicken is all splayed out, work a finger or two UNDER the skin at the top of each breast, and the side of each thigh – gently lift the skin from the flesh (careful not to tear it). Spoon 1/2Tbs of butter/garlic into each opening, and spread it around by rubbing on the outside of the skin. It’s a little messy, and maybe… Read more »
Alison Golden
4 years 1 month ago

Ah, I’m glad you showed us how to use the bricks – foil. I was wondering how I was going to wash them clean enough. Interesting. Going to look around a few construction sites…

Cindy
Cindy
4 years 1 month ago

I just bought two for 43 cents each at Home Depot. You may as well just go with the real thing, they’re so cheap! I had no idea.

James
4 years 1 month ago

Just search esquire 45 minute chicken. You don’t need a brick, just the cast iron pan. Rub the bird in what you like, place in pan breast side up, and bake at 450 for 45-50 minutes. Perfect every time.

Peacemaker
Peacemaker
4 years 1 month ago

Hey, you got this from Alton Brown! Did you, I believe he did this exact thing with Cornish hens. Anyway, I love making chicken this way, only other way I love it more is rotisserie. Yum.

Miss Grok
Miss Grok
4 years 1 month ago

I knew I was keeping those two bricks on my balcony for a good reason!

rozzi80
rozzi80
4 years 1 month ago

Question: Do you heat the brick first too, or can it be stone cold? (pun intended!)

Gene
Gene
4 years 1 month ago

In before someone declares the PUFA will kill us all!

John Brown
John Brown
4 years 1 month ago

I do the same thing with chicken breasts on the grill. The brick makes the best chicken breast.

Gift Clumsywarrior
4 years 1 month ago

That looks awesome!!! Before I saw the foil wrapped around the brick i was thinking… hmm is it safe to use concrete brick…lol

This is a great trick– and very cheap! I might go get a brick at lowe’s next time I make chicken!

Primal Toad
4 years 1 month ago

This is crazy awesome. Now I just need to find a brick!

kiran
kiran
4 years 1 month ago

Grok wold have used a large rock

Gift Clumsywarrior
4 years 1 month ago

+1

Tom B-D
Tom B-D
4 years 1 month ago

Wondering whether some bricks may have nasty stuff in/on them…? They are very absorbent, so I wouldn’t just pick up a brick from a construction site if it may have been lying in oily water or something (nothing against the fat, I just prefer EVOO to 10W40). Seems like the aluminum foil would hep, but still, I’m going to find a new one… Anyone know about stuff in bricks other than clay?

conrack
conrack
4 years 1 month ago

Anyone know if I’ll get any results if I google ‘stuff in bricks other than clay’?

Tom B-D
Tom B-D
4 years 1 month ago

OK, did some reading. Typical, traditional bricks are benign, mostly clay. But there are fly ash bricks. Fly ash is a waste product from coal generation plants that contains heavy metals–arsenic, mercury, etc. I’d keep that out of my oven and will look for old-school red clay.

Gift Clumsywarrior
4 years 1 month ago

Yessss definitely will stick to old school clay bricks.

TERRY
TERRY
4 years 1 month ago

ASBESTOS

Gene
Gene
4 years 1 month ago

Asbestos should not be a concern assuming the brick being used was manufactured from the 1980’s onward.

Siobhan
Siobhan
4 years 1 month ago

You can use anything heavy that will go in an oven – a cast iron skillet works really well. Yes, you should heat it up first. Place it in the oven while you are preheating.

Danny
Danny
4 years 1 month ago

For best results you should remove the keel bone from the chicken. Easy to do and the bird will lay flatter in the pan- increasing the suface area being cooked. Google “removing keel bone” to see how it’s done.

Marissa
4 years 1 month ago

i really like this idea of cooking under a brick – gonna have to try this one!

Kim
Kim
4 years 1 month ago

An exotic cooking technique to impress a special guest. Just in time for fall weather too. So ready to put the slow cooker away .

Casey
Casey
4 years 1 month ago

My grandma uses bricks to cook a few types of meat, chicken being one. She does that with bacon, too, because she’s obsessed with perfectly flat, evenly cooked bacon.

It’s amazing some of the old tricks that have almost gotten lost over time. Great post!

Allison
Allison
4 years 1 month ago

Bacon cooks perfectly flat if you put it on a tray in the oven instead of cooking it in a pan on the stovetop. It’s the one-sided heat of the pan that makes it curl up.

crowley
crowley
4 years 1 month ago

I think I’ll try 2 big river rocks.

Kelekona
Kelekona
4 years 1 month ago

Be careful when heating river rocks. I think they somehow trap moisture and then explode when heated.

Nelly
4 years 1 month ago

I’ve always heard that process of removing the backbone called “spatchcocking.” Makes it even more fun when you repeat that to yourself while doing it.

peggy
peggy
4 years 1 month ago

there’s a recipe in the archives here (& in one of the cookbooks) on a spatchcocked chicken. when I put them in my smoker I also split them thusly.

Michele
Michele
4 years 30 days ago

🙂 There was no ‘like’ button…

Peter
Peter
4 years 28 days ago
Indiscreet
Indiscreet
4 years 1 month ago

I have a brick that I found in the road and was going to put in the toilet cystern to save water. It turned out to be too big so it has just sat in my bathroom ever since. Now I know what to do with it!

Jay
Jay
4 years 1 month ago

Great post, can’t wait to try this bad boy!!

Hannah
4 years 1 month ago

Thanks for another great way to eat chicken. My dinner guests will get a kick out of this way of cooking the chicken. 😀

PaleoDentist
4 years 1 month ago

This is one of my favorite recipes! I will try this rub as I only use s/p and lots of crushed garlic. and I generally use butter as the cooking fat.

Tropical Fish
Tropical Fish
4 years 1 month ago

I recommend using a terracotta tile (in the ovent) as a pizza stone, or for baking bread. It conducts heat well, is super cheap and gets better with age as the flavours seep into the stone. Best pizzas ever, forget the expensive pizza stones – we did initially buy one but it cracked…

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Chris_H
Chris_H
4 years 1 month ago

A cast iron skillet works wonders in place of the brick. It gives a nice, convenient handle.

De Razor
4 years 1 month ago

Well done, what a delicious idea

Adam
Adam
4 years 1 month ago

I do my brick chicken on the grill outside. Same concept, but cooks much faster and has the yummy grill taste.

Rouk
Rouk
4 years 1 month ago

Along with the brick technique, we’ve been cooking our meat using the “clenching” method. You cook the meat directly on the coals. Both methods give it a great seared outside and tender inside. Very Primal!

Norfolk Andy
Norfolk Andy
4 years 1 month ago

Wonderful! What does the brick do to the chicken to make it taste so yummy? I added a squeeze of lemon and a dessertspoon of honey for luck. My partner said it was the best chicken ever. I agree. Thanks a million!

Victoria
Victoria
4 years 1 month ago
Victoria
Victoria
4 years 1 month ago

That press has a wooden handle, so that would not be good in the oven, but there are others that do not have wood. I have one that is all iron. I’ll have to get another one, to do both sides of the chicken, though. 🙂

Jake
Jake
4 years 1 month ago

Great info here, I also found many amazing tips and recipes on thefitnessexplorer.com, amazing tips on pale living, barefoot running, and primal fitness. Very informative and helpful.

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4 years 1 month ago

[…] Herb Chicken Cooked Under a Brick        […]

Frank
4 years 1 month ago

It’s amazing how balanced my energy levels have been on this diet. I’m glad I found this blog. Thanks Mark

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[…] Herb Chicken Cooked Under a Brick – Mark’s Daily Apple […]

Michele
Michele
4 years 30 days ago

Had to use my dutch oven but had plenty of bricks lying around found in the backyard during various projects. Delicious!

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[…] article: the concept of cheating recipe: herb chicken cooked under a brick […]

Josh
4 years 21 days ago

Secind time I’ve made this in two weeks and it’s awesome!!

Go2goal
Go2goal
3 years 10 months ago

Great recipe….glad I picked up those bricks at the take-it or leave-it area at the dump.

Next time I’ll be adding wild mushrooms, some rosemary, and fennel.

A terra cotta pot works as well as cast iron.

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3 years 4 months ago

[…] into a super-flavorful side. Cauliflower risotto is fantastic served with a main course of roasted chicken, salmon, or thick, juicy pork […]

SHE
SHE
3 years 1 day ago

My mother literally just cooks it ON the brick…and a fire. That’s it. No pan. No oven. There you go. Absolutely delicious. The point of using a brick besides pressure is also the way it distributes heat. If you can get a fire and have enough bricks to make a mini oven opening, it’s really damn good. Also instead of aluminum foil…just wash the damn thing. The bricks also give it a more roasty flavor to it.

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