Juicy, succulent chicken thigh meat wrapped in a flavourful spice paste and cooked over live fire. This is so good, and for once I’m not going to tell you that you can recreate this using your oven. You just can’t. But you don’t need a rotisserie to cook it either. You can achieve the same tasty results using any BBQ that has a lid.
I first cooked this last summer and was blown away. Since then, I’ve tweaked the recipe and now I’m really, really happy with it. It’s a great recipe if you’re having guests over (or not) and you can easily double the amount of chicken without needing to alter the amount of spice paste. The leftovers are amazing too! Sandwiches, mixed with a bit of mayo and mounded on top of a baked potato, scattered over a crisp, green salad. It’s so versatile.
Less of the chat, I’ll just get right down to the recipe.
Serves 6 (enough meat for 12 flatbreads)
1.8 kg boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 tbsp tomato puree
4 garlic cloves, minced
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
2 tsp onion granules
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
3 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
8 tbsp olive oil – Don’t be alarmed by this amount, the majority will be left behind after marinading
Set up your BBQ either with a rotisserie attachment, as I’ve used, or for indirect cooking at 190-200˚C/370-390˚f (I still mean to do a video on this, bear with me).
Place the chicken in a large bowl and, in a separate bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients together really well. Don’t worry about the amount of oil. Its purely there for marinating purposes and won’t all end up in the finished dish.
Pour the marinade over the chicken thighs and mix everything together thoroughly. You want every bit of chicken smothered in the paste. I like to get my hands in there but I recommend wearing a pair of disposable gloves if you do.
Leave to marinade for at least a couple of hours, overnight is best.
If you have a rotisserie I find that attaching one fork, holding the bar vertically and threading the chicken on from the top works best, so far as having a nicely balanced doner goes. When all the chicken has been threaded on, slide on the second fork and make sure both are tightened up snugly against the chicken. I also like to use a bit of ‘scaffolding’, and I take some metal skewers and insert them on each side too. This stops any stray pieces flopping about while it’s on the rotisserie and keeps it nice and neat.
If you’re not using a rotisserie, you’ll need 6 large metal skewers. Take 3 of the skewers and lay them side by side. Thread your chicken onto the skewers so that you have one central skewer and one either side. When all the meat is threaded on, insert the remaining skewers from the opposite end, securing everything together.
The photo below was taken prior to me inserting another 4 metal ‘scaffolding’ skewers. You don’t have to use them.
Now place the chicken on the rotisserie and cook, lid on the BBQ, until the internal temperature reaches 165˚f/74˚C. It took about 1 hour 45 minutes for this particular cook, however cooking times will vary depending on the size of your chicken thighs. I usually check it after 1 hour, and every 15 minutes after that. If you feel it’s browning quicker than you’d like, just wrap a piece of foil loosely around the meat. You want your chicken cooked all the way through but no over cooked and dry.
If using the indirect cooking method on your grill, set the meat on the cool side of the grill and place the lid on. Turn the doner over every 20 minutes until you achieve the correct internal temperature. You can finish it off over the coals to get some nice crispy bits.
We serve it sliced straight off the spit into homemade flatbreads stuffed with salad and our favourite sauces. If you fancy making your own flatbreads I’ve included the recipe.
500g Strong white bread flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
7g sachet of fast action yeast
3 tbsp olive oil
300 ml warm water
Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix to form a dough. The dough should be soft but not too sticky. Kneed well for 10 minutes (I use a stand mixer because I’m lazy). Place the dough in a bowl and cover with cling film or a tea towel and leave to sit somewhere reasonably warm, like your kitchen, until it has doubled in size.
Knock the air out of the dough and tip out onto a lightly floured work surface. Give it a quick knead and divide into 12, shaping into balls. Place these onto a floured tray or plate and cover until you need them.
I cook my flatbreads over direct heat on the BBQ, but a hot griddle or non-stick frying pan will work too. Roll each ball of dough out nice and thinly on a floured surface. Place it directly onto the cooking grate or into the pan and wait until you see bubbles start to appear.
Check the colour of the underside and, when nicely browned, flip it over and give the other side a few seconds to colour. Repeat with the remaining dough and you’re done! These can be made in advance and kept in a warm oven covered in foil. I get my daughter to help with making the flat breads. She’s a bit of an expert now lol.
Try them brushed with a flavoured butter, straight off the grill. Delicious!