Friday, June 25, 2010

Spicy Chicken a la Bernstein's

Our first summer with our new grill, an event which will allow me to experiment and develop some unique recipes for outdoor cooking. Here’s the first one of the season which I’m sharing.

WARNING: This is a very spicy recipe! Note the optional ingredient listed below, which if eliminated, will cut back the spiciness significantly. You have been warned :-)

Some basic food safety caveats first:

  • Always handle raw chicken while wearing rubber gloves
  • Immediately dispose of any packaging in which the chicken came
  • Thoroughly wash any utensils used while handling raw chicken as well as any surface areas where raw chicken rested


1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 14 oz bottle of Bernstein’s Restaurant Italian Dressing & Marinade

Spice mix:

2 tablespoons of chili powder
2 tablespoons of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1 tablespoon of fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of paprika
1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of onion powder
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 large pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Chicken preparation:

Shake the bottle of dressing well, as the spices as well as the oil and vinegar separate quite a bit. Simply put the chicken in large, sealable plastic bag. Pour the entire bottle of dressing in the bag and seal it. Shake the bag, evenly distributing the dressing on all of the chicken pieces. Open the bag and squeeze out as much air as you can, then reseal the bag. Cover a large plate with two sheets of paper towel, then put the bag with the chicken on the plate and place into the refrigerator. Let marinade for 4-12 hours.

Spice preparation:

Place all the spice mix ingredients into a small, sealable bag. Seal the bag and shake the contents until the color is completely even.


Spray PAM made for higher grill heat on the grates. Heat grill to 250 degrees F.

While the grill is heating, finish the chicken prep. I recommend you do this at the kitchen sink. After donning your (fresh) rubber gloves, remove and gently shake each chicken piece over the sink, then place into a large bowl. Once all the pieces are in the bowl, sprinkle your spice mix evenly over the chicken, “stirring” the chicken gently with your hand as you continue to sprinkle the spices. The goal is to get the spices on all the chicken pieces as evenly as possible.

Place the chicken pieces on the grill’s grates using tongs, giving each piece enough space from its neighbors. Close the grill hood to maintain the heat. Turn the pieces every 15 minutes during this stage of cooking for a total of 45 minutes of cooking. Then turn over the pieces one last time and turn up the heat to 300 degrees F. Close the hood. This last step is necessary in order to get a bit of char on the outside of the chicken.

After a full hour of cooking, your chicken should be done. However, it is advised that you use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat, using the guidelines on your thermometer. Once your temperatures are confirmed, your chicken is ready to server.

Side dish:

2 medium red bell peppers
2 medium yellow bell peppers
2 medium green bell peppers
1 large brown onion
1 tablespoon of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1/2 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Slice the peppers, taking care to remove the seeds and white “stuff” inside. Wash the pieces and drain them well, then place them in a bowl. Peel and slice the onion, slicing the pieces into the bowl with the peppers. Sprinkle on the seasoned salt and black peppers. Pour the mixture into a grill-safe vegetable cooker (they have holes on the bottom) and place on a cookie sheet (only used to prevent spillage here). Drizzle olive oil on the mixture.

Set the grill temperature to 300 degrees F. Place cooker in the grill and cook until the vegetables are soft and have a bit of a char on the outside (20-30 minutes). Remove and serve.


If you try these recipes, please do let me know how they turn out.

Happy grilling!