EZ BBQ roast chicken

When the “feels like” temperature threatens to hit 35C, as it does this Canada Day weekend, there’s only one place to cook – outdoors.

For the easiest summer meal ever, roast a chicken on your barbecue.

I realize it’s even easier to grab a pre-roasted supermarket chicken, but have you ever thought about the poor, pathetic bird you’re getting for that super low price, and how much salt is added to give it flavour?

We prefer to buy our own buxom 3-lb. (1.5 kg) bird from a meat market or a private label supermarket brand. Our local Sobeys Urban Fresh sells Yorkshire Valley Farms organic chickens from Peterborough, Ont.

Look for the phrase “air-chilled” when you buy whole chicken or parts. It means the newly-deceased bird was cooled quickly with a blast of air to prevent bacteria from forming rather than being dunked in icy (and unappetizing) chlorinated water.

Next, you need a vertical roaster. While a tall beer can works well, we love the posh $50 poultry roaster from Weber we’ve used for years. Sandro says it’s worth it – works well and easy to clean. I’ve also noticed cheaper versions from GrillPro and Fox Run.

Preparing the bird can be as simple or complicated as you like. We usually salt and pepper the interior, then stuff the bird with half a lemon, two garlic cloves and a handful of thyme sprigs. Rub the outside with your own spice mixture or buy poultry seasoning. Lately, we’ve been using salt-free Club House La Grille chicken seasoning.

If your roaster has a tray, add wine, beer or juice. We’re not convinced this makes a difference, but it won’t hurt!

Preheat a gas grill on high for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn off one burner to create indirect heat.

Impale your seasoned bird on the roaster or beer can, place it on the cool side of the Q and close the lid. Cooking time: about 1 hour 15 minutes. Resist peeking — there’s really nothing to do and you don’t want all that heat to escape.

When done, the juices should run clear when you poke the bird, the legs should wiggle and the thermometer should read 180F (82C).

Let your moist, tender, beautifully burnished bird rest 5-10 minutes before carving, then dig in.

Happy Canada Day!

For Weber accessories, visit www.weber.com for a dealer near you.

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