Prep 4 hrs
Cook 1 hr 15 mins
Adapted from "Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Chicken", by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2008).
- 1 (12 fluid ounce) bottle hard apple cider
- 1⁄2 cup table salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon peppercorn
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 1⁄2 cups ice water
- 1 whole chicken, about 4 lb
- 1 cup wood chips (apple-wood or hickory)
- canola oil, for grilling plus 2 tsp
- 2 golden delicious apples (we used local Romes instead)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
- kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Brine the bird: In a small nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, combine the cider, table salt, the 2 Tbs. chopped sage, the rosemary, peppercorns and bay leaf and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt. Pour the brine mixture into a large, deep nonreactive bowl and let cool slightly. Stir in the ice water. Add the chicken, submerging it completely. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 to 6 hours.
- Soak the wood chips in cold water to cover for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Drain the wood chips before using.
- Prepare a grill for indirect grilling over high heat. Sprinkle the drained wood chips over the coals or use a wood-chip smoker box on the gas grill. Replace the grill grate and lightly oil it.
- Remove the chicken from the brine and discard the brine. Place the chicken, breast side up, on the cool side of the grill. Cover the grill and cook the chicken until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast, away from the bone, registers 160°F, about 1 1/4 hours. Transfer the chicken to a warmed platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes before carving it. Grill the apples while the bird rests.
- Peel and core the apples and quarter each apple lengthwise. Toss the apples with the 2 teaspoons oil to coat. Place the apples on the hot side of the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until seared with grill marks on all sides and tender-crisp, about 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl. Add the 2 teaspoons chopped sage and the butter to the apples and toss to coat. Season with kosher salt and pepper.
- Arrange the apples on the platter around the chicken. Carve the chicken and serve immediately. Serves 4.