Category: Main Dish
Time: 1 hour marinate; 1.5 hours cook time
For the rub
-1Tbsp ground coriander
-1 Tbsp coarse Sea salt
-1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-2 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro
-1 Tbsp minced fresh lemongrass, or 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
-1 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
-1 Tbsp coconut oil
For the chicken
-12 oz all-natural coconut milk (such as Silk Pure Coconut)
-1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed (see Note), or 2 strips lemon zest (each 2 by ½ inches)
-½ lime wedge (optional)
-1 whole fryer chicken (3½ to 4 pounds)
-Optional: dressing from Thai Rainbow Slaw
You’ll also need:
1 clean empty 12-ounce beer or soda can with 2 additional holes made in its top or a vertical chicken roaster
Marinate the chicken:
Make the rub paste: Put the coriander, salt, pepper, garlic, cilantro, minced lemon-grass, and ginger in a blender and purée, adding enough olive and coconut oils to make a paste.
Shake the coconut milk well. Place ¼ cup coconut milk and 1 Tbsp of the rub paste in a small bowl and set aside. You’ll use this mixture for basting the chicken. Using a funnel, pour ¾ cup coconut milk into a clean empty beer can or vertical chicken roaster. Add the lemongrass stalk and set aside.
Remove and discard the fat just inside the body and neck cavities. Rinse the chicken, inside and out, under cold running water and then drain and blot dry, inside and out, with paper towels. Smear the remaining rub paste over the chicken inside and out. Place the chicken in a resealable plastic bag or covered bowl and let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium. If using a charcoal grill, place a large drip pan in the center.
Ready the chicken:
If cooking on a can: hold the bird upright, with the opening of the body cavity at the bottom, and lower it onto the coconut milk-filled beer can so the can fits into the cavity. Pull the chicken legs forward to form a sort of tripod, so the chicken stands upright. The rear leg of the tripod is the can.
If cooking on a roaster: Position the chicken on top, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Tuck the tips of the wings behind the chicken’s back.
If desired, tuck a lime wedge into the neck cavity of the chicken. Sealing up this hole will help contain all the flavorful moisture inside the bird.
Stand the chicken up in the center of the hot grate, over the drip pan and away from the heat. Cover the grill and cook the chicken until the skin is a dark golden brown and very crisp and the meat is cooked through (about 180°F on an instant-read meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh, but not touching the bone), 1¼ to 1½ hours (see Notes for tests for doneness). Start basting the chicken with the coconut milk mixture after 45 minutes and baste it every 15 minutes, taking care not to knock the bird over. Do not baste the chicken immediately before you remove it from the grill. If using a charcoal grill, you’ll need to add 12 fresh coals per side after 1 hour. If the chicken skin starts to brown too much, loosely tent the bird with aluminum foil.
Present the bird to your guests. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, then carefully lift it off the support. Take care not to spill the hot coconut milk or otherwise burn yourself.
Halve, quarter, or carve the chicken, remove the skin, and sprinkle with dressing from Thai Rainbow salad, if desired.