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Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

Few things say Happy Independence Day better than grilling outdoors. Why? We've no idea, but we are huge supporters! 

This recipe was created as a labor of love from chef Ty Hatfield, and perfected over a number of test weekends upstate last summer. And while test-taking follows closely behind pulling a double in the hierarchy of things we'd rather not do, this is one kind of test we were thrilled to be part of.

So don't be discouraged if it takes a few trials to get the dish down, happens to the best of us and even the mistakes are often a delicious day with friends.

Recipe by chef Ty Hatfield


2 poulet rouge chickens (any 12-16lb bird will do quite nicely as well)
1/2 cup smoked paprika
1/4 cup oregano, chopped
1/4 cup sage, chopped
2 tbsp. garlic, chopped
2 tbsp. red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup light brown sugar
Kosher salt

Pepper Sauce

2 cups fresno chilies
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil


Combine 1 cup light brown sugar and 1 cup kosher salt with 2 quarts of water and bring to a simmer to dissolve. Remove from heat. Remove chickens from packaging and rinse, and remove the backbone of each bird using poultry shears. Submerge chickens in the brine in an appropriate sized container and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, remove from brine and dry the birds. Combine paprika, herbs, garlic, chili flakes, and pepper and rub chicken with the dry rub. Let marinate overnight in a ziplock container.  Before grilling, rub the chickens with a small amount of neutral oil and season chicken with salt.

Spatchcocked birds cook best when using the chicken umbrella as seen here. Tie birds with cooking twine and hang from the umbrella leg about 2' from the fire. You may need to move the birds and / or flip them half way through the cook so make sure the ties can be untied and retied easily. Remember the fire gets hot so you can also use heat-resistant gloves! Birds can also be grilled over moderate heat until cooked through (grate grills works best).

Cut chicken into pieces as desired. Serve pepper sauce on the side.

To make the sauce

Remove stems from chilies and split in half lengthwise. For less heat, remove seeds. Process chilies and remaining ingredients in food processor until chunky. Season with salt to taste.