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Grilled Chicken with Herb Rub

Grilled Chicken with Herb Rub
Rubs are dry mixtures of herbs and spices, sprinkled or pressed onto food to flavor it. They can be applied just before grilling or several hours earlier so the food has more time to absorb the rub's flavors. To help a rub adhere, the food may be lightly coated with oil before it is applied. Experiment with your own mixtures, adding or subtracting from the recipe suggested here. Dried herbs, such as rosemary, oregano or thyme, are all good additions. Paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper are also used in most rubs. Store leftover rub in a sealed jar in a cool, dark place for up to 4 months.

Serve with Garden Skewers (see related recipe at right). Grill the skewers over direct heat while the chicken cooks over indirect heat.

Ingredients:

For the sage and rosemary herb rub:

  • 2 Tbs. sweet paprika
  • 2 Tbs. ground sage
  • 1 Tbs. dried rosemary
  • 1 Tbs. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 chicken, 3 to 4 lb., cut into serving pieces; 4
      bone-in or boneless chicken breast halves; or
      12 bone-in or boneless chicken thighs
  • Olive oil or vegetable oil for coating
  • Wood chips or chunks, soaked for 30 minutes
      and drained

Directions:

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for indirect grilling over medium-high heat and oil the grill rack.

To make the herb rub, in a small bowl, mix together the paprika, sage, rosemary, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and black pepper. Coat the chicken with oil and sprinkle generously with the herb rub.

Sprinkle the wood chips on the coals, or add in a perforated foil packet to a gas grill. Grill the chicken directly over medium-high heat, turning often, until the pieces are well browned, 6 to 10 minutes total. (Move the chicken to cooler spots on the grill if flare-ups occur.) Transfer the pieces to the unheated portion of the grill, cover the grill and cook.

After 15 minutes, check for doneness by cutting into the chicken at the thickest part or testing with an instant-read thermometer. The chicken should show no sign of pink, and the internal temperature should register at least 160°F. Continue cooking the chicken as needed, up to 10 minutes more, but be careful not to overcook. As the pieces finish cooking (the breasts and/or boneless pieces will be done first), transfer them to a platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil until ready to serve.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Grilling, by Denis Kelly (Simon & Schuster, 2002).