Ga ro-ti, a Vietnamese style grilled or oven-roasted chicken marinated in garlic, soy, black pepper, ginger, and fish sauce, delivers a big flavor punch. Somehow, the soy and fish sauce magnify the chicken’s flavor, rather than obscuring it. A fine meal eaten straight off the bone, this chicken is equally good the next day, pulled and chopped into bite-size pieces and arranged over rice, or rolled inside lettuce leaves with pickled diakon & carrot.
Cutting out the chicken’s backbone, aka spatchcocking, prior to marinating & grilling turns bone-in chicken into a foolproof grill item. A pair of poultry shears makes the task quite simpe–start at the chicken’s hind end and cut alongside the backbone until you reach the neck. Repeat on the other side. Flip the chicken over and flatten the breast slightly with the heel of your hand. The de-backboning allows you to cook the chicken inside-down atop fairly hot coals, protecting the breast meat from drying and exposing the thighs and legs to higher heat….an ideal combination for succulent results throughout the bird.
If you’ve struggled to cook crispy skinned, evenly cooked grilled chicken, then spatchcocking will change the way you think about those discounted whole fryers in the supermarket poultry case.
Ga Ro-ti, spatchcock style
- 1 whole chicken, preferably a 4.5 lb or smaller fryer
- 1 T finely minced fresh ginger
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 T fish sauce
- 2 T fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- 4 T low sodium soy sauce
- 1/8 cup vegetable oil
Using poultry shears, cut backbone from chicken. Place chicken into a gallon sized zip-top plastic bag. Stir together remaining ingredients and pour over bagged chicken. Refrigerate for 2-6 hours, turning every hour or so to redistribute marinade over chicken. (Longer-marinated chicken will result in darker skin after cooking.) To cook, heat a charcoal grill to medium-high; remove chicken from marinade and place skin side up atop preheated, oiled grill. (On a Big Green Egg, use a dome temperature of 375–400 degrees; direct-cook on a raised grid). Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, or until thigh meat registers 165 degrees. Rest cooked chicken, tented with foil, for 20 minutes before serving.