We’ve partnered with Shenandoah Valley Organic to bring you this super flavorful Korean-style grilled chicken recipe made with spicy gochujang, soy sauce, and punchy alliums, and a visual step-by-step guide to breaking down a whole chicken. Jump to recipe.
A few weeks back, I drove over the Blue Ridge Mountains to visit Horseshoe Bend Farm in Bridgewater, Virginia, which was just as beautiful and bucolic as I’d imagined it would be. Having never been to a working poultry farm, though, I had no idea what to expect inside.
I’m glad to tell you that the chickens at Horseshoe Bend Farm were healthy and happy. At the time of my visit, the chickens were just 23 days old and kept to the clean, well-kept 21,000 square foot chicken house. As their feathers grow in more fully, they’ll have access to the meadows surrounding the chicken house.
Shenandoah Valley Organic works with partner farmers throughout the Shenandoah Valley. Their system is impressive, not only because their chickens are so well cared for, but because the farmers, like Horseshoe Bend’s owner Harry, can make a good living raising chickens humanely. The ultimate proof of this care and quality was in the chicken itself. SVO chicken is wonderfully flavorful and some of the best chicken I’ve tasted.
Brian and I weren’t quite sure how to do justice to such great chicken, but we’ve meant to do a tutorial on breaking down a chicken and I’ve had a Korean-inspired recipe in mind, so we combined the two. Brian broke down the chicken (more on that below), while I mixed the marinade in the blender. Then I poured it over the chicken pieces and set it in the fridge overnight. The next day, we fired up our charcoal grill and grilled the chicken. It was super juicy and hit all the right spicy, sweet, and salty notes. If you’ve been searching for a go-to grilled chicken recipe, this is absolutely it.
As I mentioned, because the process of breaking down a whole chicken is daunting for many, we’ve put together a simple guide to get you started.
Breaking Down a Whole Chicken Step-by-Step
Trim any excess skin from the neck and cavity at the bottom of the bird. Remove the neck and/or giblets if they’ve been placed in the cavity.
Place the bird on a cutting board breast-side up. With a sharp kitchen knife, cut into the skin where the leg meets the breast, then slice the leg from the breast. When you reach the point where the thigh meets the back, place a hand on the heel of the knife and bear down with some weight to get through the bone. Repeat for the other leg.
Flip the bird over and slice through the ribs where they meet the spine on both sides. If you’d like, you can set the back aside and freeze to make stock later. Otherwise, discard.
Flip the bird back over and make a cut down the center line of the breast. Cut through the skin and meat first, then cut through the sternum, using your weight if you need to. If you have poultry shears, you may find it easier to use these to cut though the sternum.
Using the tip of your knife, cut around the base of the wing, exposing the joint. Cut through the joint to separate the wing. Lay the wing flat and cut the wing tip off and reserve for stock or discard. Repeat with the other wing.
Take one of the legs and cut at the joint to separate the drumstick from the thigh. Repeat with the other leg.
A super flavorful Korean-style grilled chicken recipe made with spicy gochujang, brown sugar, soy sauce, and punchy alliums.
- 1 yellow onion , rough chopped
- 4 cloves garlic , smashed and peeled
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 1/4 cup gochujang (fermented red chili paste)
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 4-6 pound whole chicken (or a mix of chicken pieces)
- 3 green onions , sliced thin
- rice , for serving
Start by breaking down the chicken (instructions above). Set pieces in a large container with a tight-fitting lid.
To make the marinade, combine onion, garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, gochujang, and rice vinegar in the pitcher of a blender and puree. Pour over chicken, turn to coat pieces, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, prepare a hot grill. Bank coals to one side.
Place chicken on the grill over the hot coals. For pieces like breasts and thighs that have skin on one side, place skin-side down first. After 30 - 45 seconds, give all pieces a gentle shake with tongs to keep skin from sticking.
Cook 3 minutes, flip, and cook 3 minutes more.
Move chicken to the side of the grill without coals, skin-side up. Cover grill, leaving vents open, and cook over indirect heat 5 - 10 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165 degrees F. Remove from grill.
Serve with rice and top with green onion.
Thanks to Shenandoah Valley Organic for sponsoring this post!