Both the Tuscans and the Romans claim to have invented the method for grilling chicken under a brick to keep it juicy and crisp. Although this technique, called pollo al mattone, is traditionally used with a spatchcocked whole chicken, it’s also great for chicken breasts, which are notorious for drying out when exposed to the high heat of the grill. The weight of the brick presses the meat into the grill for faster, more even cooking, excellent crisping, and gorgeous grill marks. It also works as a cover for the meat, keeping it moist. In Italy, pollo al mattone is often cooked over a wood fire; this recipe recreates a bit of that smokiness by adding wood chips to the grill.
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It's a good recipe but it does leave out the important step of pre-heating the foil covered bricks! This can be done in the oven or on the grill if you have the time and coals (or gas). This takes care of any cross contamination from uncooked chicken and also adds to both the crispiness and rapid cooking time.
It sounds delicious and I will be making it. One thing I noticed.... the brick is sitting on raw chicken, and you flip the breasts and put the "contaminated" brick on the cooked side. Or are you supposed to flip the brick over too?
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