Za’atar Chicken

In my prior post, I had finally found sumac in a local store and made Za’atar Spice.  It was time to use it. I decided to smoke a Za’atar Chicken.

While I made this chicken in my smoker, you can make it on a rack in a 350 F oven.

I purchased a 2 1/2 to 3 pound chicken. I spatchcocked  it. That involves cutting along both sides of the backbone with poultry shears to remove it. Then you slowly cut around the cartilage at the end of the breast bone. Cut underneath it to separate from the meat being careful not to cut the skin underneath. Then use the shears to cut along both sides of the ribs and pull the breast bone out.

You can see a demonstration of how to do this in my video on  Barbecue Rosemary Chicken.

I made up a marinade with the Za’atar Spice by mixing the following:

  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil.
  • 25 ml (2 tablespoons) Za’atar Spice
  • 25 ml (2 tablespoons) lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped

I put the chicken in a plastic bag and poured the marinade over it and sealed the bag. I put it in the fridge for 3 hours, turning the bag occasionally.

I preheated my smoker to 350 F and put the chicken in skin side down. I smoked it for 30 minutes and then flipped it. You don’t have to do this but, I find having the skin down for the first part of the smoke gives it a better texture.

I put my temperature probe in the thickest part of the breast and cooked to an internal temperature of 170 F. It took about 45 minutes.

I brought it inside and let it rest for 10 minutes.

I cut the chicken up. I started by cutting the drumsticks off. Then I cut the thighs from the breast. The wings were removed from the breast. Last, I cut the breast into halves and cut each half in two.

We served it with She Who Must Be Obeyed’s great broccoli salad.

The Verdict

This is not your usual smoked chicken. There is no sweet. No sticky sauce. The Za’atar Spice has a strong taste with the Mediterranean flavours of the coriander, cumin, thyme and oregano. The sumac gives it a rich almost floral flavour. If you haven’t had middle eastern food before, you will find a totally different flavour profile. I really like it but some of my friends found it too different for their tastes.

While I really liked the taste, I should point out the sumac makes a darker skin on the chicken than I am used to. The skin had a great texture but the colour is darker.

I think it is delicious and worth your effort to try it. Expand your horizons!

The Old Fat Guy

Za’atar Chicken

Za’atar Chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 to 3 pound chicken
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil.
  • 25 ml (2 tablespoons) Za'atar Spice
  • 25 ml (2 tablespoons) lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped

Instructions

  1. Spatchcock the chicken.
  2. Mix the remaining ingredients together.
  3. Put the chicken in a plastic bag and add the marinade.
  4. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 3 hours, turning the bag occasionally.
  5. Preheat the smoker or oven to 350 F.
  6. Put the chicken skin side down on the rack and cook for 30 minutes.
  7. Turn the chicken and cook to an internal temperature of 170 F in the thickest part of the breast, about 45 minutes.
  8. Remove it to a plate and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  9. Cut into serving pieces.
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2 thoughts on “Za’atar Chicken”

    1. Thanks, Jeff. Chicken takes a bit of work to smoke right but it is so worth it. As for Za’atar spice, it is totally different from anything I’ve done before. It seems to be a you love it or you hate it sort of thing.

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