As much as I love summertime, the first taste of fall is always exhilarating. The cooler breezes and cozy nighttime temperatures always find a way to bring me new energy. Summer grilling is often a sticky enterprise with the combination of hot, humid air and the heat of the grill, but with the cooler autumn temperatures, it’s so appealing! When tasked to create a gathering for Gather, I used the changing seasons to inspire an outdoor dinner party cookout with their Kingsford charcoal. I love picnics of all kinds, but for this occasion I wanted to have fun with an elegant table and a show-stopping floral centerpiece. Today take a look at my menu, then tomorrow check out details on how to make the centerpiece, and this weekend I’ll share the table setting. Plus, for more entertaining tips and inspiration, you can visit Gather Now!
We visited the farmer’s market in Piedmont Park Saturday morning to pick up some fresh seasonal produce, like a huge Tasty Roaster squash, beautiful purple bell peppers, and eggplant. The preparation for the meal was super simple; we prepared a rosemary-lemon butter for the chicken, and basted it with this same butter plus olive oil while it cooked (find the recipe below). We cooked the squash wrapped in aluminum foil in the bottom of the grill in butter and spices, and the eggplant was grilled with oil and herbs and topped with grated Parmesan at the very end. By the time the grilling was done, it was golden hour and the sun lit the table beautifully for an early evening meal. The temperature cooled off perfectly as the sun sank, and combined with the freshly grilled fare, it made for a beautiful alfresco meal.
- 1 whole chicken
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup salt
- 4 tbs. butter
- Choice of herb (rosemary, tarragon, parsley, thyme)
- Sliced lemon (optional)
- 1 hour or more prior to grilling, cut backbone out of the chicken. Dissolve the sugar and salt in a bowl of water, and soak chicken in brine in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours.
- Soften butter and then combine it with your herb of choice. Let it sit to blend the flavors. Set-up the grill. Pat chicken dry, then gently stuff a layer of herb butter generously under the skin. If using lemon slices, place them on top of the butter under the skin. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken. Melt the remaining herb butter with 3 tbs of olive oil for basting.
- When coals are glowing, pour them into the baskets in the grill. Place the griddle over them and put the top back, vents open, on for 5 minutes. Brush off the grill. Place the chicken on top of the grill and replace the lid askance by about 1" with the vents open. Baste every 10 minutes. Cook for about 45 minutes or until the skin on the thighs pull back from the bone. Let rest for 10 minutes.
This post was sponsored by Gather but all writing, images, and opinions are all my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Thou Swell running!