And now, due to popular request but mostly just to prove that occasionally we do eat something other than cupcakes or tea cakes . . . I give you Joe’s recipe for


MUSICA?  OK!  . . . Most likely, the manly piece of kitchen equipment needed for this cooking project won’t be in your kitchen drawer!  So put “one brick” on your shopping list!  Or head out to the garage to begin the search!

This lemony, herby, butterflied chicken dish is as delicious cold as it is hot; we often pack it up for the beach or a picnic in the summertime.

You can make it the day before you want to serve it, let it marinate in the overnight in the fridge, or cook it immediately, whichever is easiest for you.

So, after you raid your garage or garden and find a brick, brush it off, but don’t wash it, you don’t want it to be wet; wrap it twice in aluminum foil. First once, and then again.  I just remembered, I have a video of Joe making this last summer, here you go, don’t blink or you will miss it!  I think when you hear it sizzling, you can almost smell it!


If you ever, by the way, want to see some of my other very short videos, you can go to my Youtube Channel and see them; I know someone was asking for a video of my house, and there are a few there.

 OK, so anyway, after you get your brick wrapped, preheat the oven (if you plan to cook the chicken right away).

This photo ought to sear it into your memory!  I do love these big photos! 🙂  So, in case you didn’t notice, you should set the temp for 400°.

First make the Garlic Lemon Sauce.  I’ll put the condensed recipe at the end of all this, easy for you to print out.  But here’s the How-To:

You will need fresh lemon juice, olive oil, garlic cloves, and fresh lemon thyme leaves (other herbs that would work would be sage, savory or rosemary).  The thyme grows in our garden; be sure to plant this amazing herb in your own garden, put it in everything; it’s just delicious in salads too!  I also love to mix the purple flowers into creamy vanilla ice cream, yum!  (Write that on your calendar for July!)

 Save some thyme leaves to sprinkle over the chicken just before serving.  So lemony fragrant!

Mix all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.  Now for the chicken:

Prepare yourself, there is a horror-show aspect to this back-bone removing method that reminds me somewhat of feeding time in the Eagle Nest in Decorah, Iowa.  (If you’ve been watching it, you’ll know what I mean!)  I took the photos as daintily as I could. The plan is to remove the backbone; you start by putting the chicken on his head on a cutting board, as shown, and get a grip on his tail.

With a sharp knife, carefully cut all the way through, close to each side of the backbone down to the bottom.

 And remove it.

Save that beautiful backbone for chicken stock.  Now you have a butterflied chicken.  Easy huh?

Bend it open as hard as you can.

Use the heel of your hand to push and flatten as much as possible.

Until it looks like this.  Joe split the breast bone a little bit, can you see that?  Cut off any bits of excess fat; rinse the chicken well; dry it well with paper towels (so that it will cook evenly); put it into a roasting pan or baking dish and . . .

. . . gently rub the garlic-lemon-oil mixture over both sides of the chicken and under the skin.  At this point, if you like, you can cover and refrigerate the chicken for an hour, or overnight, turning occasionally.

When ready to cook, add another tablespoon of olive oil to a heavy oven-proof skillet.  Regulate the heat so it’s hot and sizzling.

Put the chicken, skin side down, into the hot oil; adjust the heat to medium-high.

Pour all the extra sauce on top of it.  Salt and pepper it, and cook until the chicken is golden brown; don’t turn it or move it for five minutes; then check it and make sure it’s golden brown.

 Now pull out your fancy new kitchen equipment and lay it over the thickest part of the chicken.

And into the oven she goes.

Roast it for twenty-five minutes; remove the pan from the oven; set the hot brick aside.  See that pan back there?  That’s what Joe put the hot brick on.

Turn the chicken over, remembering that everything is hot, so be careful.

Replace the brick, again over the thickest part of the chicken, and put it all back into the oven to cook for another ten minutes.

And that’s it.  Cool, cover, and chill; or cut it into pieces and serve.

Sprinkle it with the additional lemon thyme, mmmm so so so so good!

Tender, juicy, lemony, and delicious.  Thank you Joe!  Take a bow my man! 

HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY ♥  Here’s that recipe!


  • 1 brick, double wrapped in aluminum foil
  • 1 2½ to 3½ lb. chicken, organic if you can do it
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 lg. garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 4 Tbsp. fresh lemon thyme leaves, minced and divided (or sage, savory, or rosemary)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

There are a lot of words here, because telling about a brick takes a lot longer than showing you a brick; but I think you can see this is a very easy recipe!

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and 2 Tbsp. of the lemon thyme leaves and set aside.  If cooking immediately, preheat oven to 400°.

Rinse chicken in cold water, rinse and pat dry with paper towels.  Remove the backbone from the chicken: put the chicken upside down, standing on its neck, on a cutting board.  With a sharp knife, starting on one side of the tail, carefully cut cut down the back, close to the bone, all the way through.  Cut along the other side, remove the backbone and save it for chicken stock.

Place the chicken skin-side down on the cutting board; with both hands bend the chicken backwards to flatten; you can also crack the breast bone with your knife, then, using the heel of your hand, press to flatten as much as possible.  Remove any excess fat from the chicken, rinse and dry the bird well with paper towels and put it in a large roasting pan.

Pour the reserved garlic lemon sauce over the chicken; rub it all over and under the skin.  At this point you can cover it, put it in the fridge, and keep it overnight, turning it at least once).

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet until hot and sizzling.  Place the chicken, skin-side-down, in the skillet regulating the heat to medium-high.  Cook, without moving the chicken for about five minutes, check it and cook until golden brown.

Place the wrapped brick on top of the thickest part of the chicken and place the skillet in the oven.  Roast for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven, use potholders to remove hot brick, set aside (Joe put it into another pan) while you carefully turn the chicken over.  Replace the brick, and put it all back in the oven for another ten min. until chicken is done.  Put a fork into the thickest part of the thigh meat, if the juice runs clear, it’s done.  Sprinkle it with the remaining lemon thyme leaves.  Serve immediately or cool, then cover and refrigerate.  Best hot or at room temperature.  Depending on size of chicken, and hunger of humans, this serves either two or four. 


  1. judi says:

    Oh you two, what trouble you have gotten me into. I am making this dish (I am not a comfortable cook:). A couple of weeks ago our local grocery had whole roasting chickens on sale .99 #. I bought 2 and froze them with the idea of making this recipe. Took one out to thaw a day ago in frig. So…got ready to make it and THEN looked at the recipe. Well, my chicken is egad…almost 7 #’s. I did manage to cut out the backbone w/assorted knives – next time would cut down a little on each side till get to the bottom. Mixed up the marinade but, of course, I don’t have a pan big enough to flatten chic in so improvising:) It is in frig whilst I plan my next attack. Have my brick wrapped and even planted lemon balm in a pot a bit ago – almost forgot what I wanted to use it for:))) More to follow – later:)) Sure you are having a fab time shopping in London with your super friends Rachel & Paul.

  2. judi says:

    OK, you two are not in trouble anymore:) Just took the chic out of the oven about 20 min. ago (had to use the roaster I make my 23# turkey in) and just ate a wing – delish. Cooked it at 400 for a total of about 1 1/2 hours. Husband thought I was crazy with the brick but now he is salivating – woo hoo, will have PLENTY of leftovers (just us two – 5 kids have flown the coop long ago:) Oh yes, I’m from Mpls., MN, the home of Betty Crocker – I call myself Betty Bandaid. Susan I actually took pictures of each step and intend to mail them to you at some point so you and Joe can have a HUGE chuckle. Hugs, Judi

  3. Julie says:

    Thanks for your photos along with the recipe. I just happened upon this post this morning, but had been considering trying the brick method after hearing about it. Now that I see what the finished bird looks like (totally beautiful and yummy looking) and how to remove the back bone, it’s totally doable in my mind. Can’t wait to try it! Thanks.

  4. Darlene says:

    Hi Susan, I made this for dinner yesterday and it was amazing! It really wasn’t complicated to make, the entire house smelled incredibly delicious and it came out juicy and tender and so good!! I sent my husband on the hunt for a brick and I have to say he was very curious and cooperative lol! My family loved it and this will be a new favorite of ours! Thank you for sharing and thank Joe too!!

  5. Oi Susan,estou com água na boca só de ver a receita.Vou fazer,acho que minha família vai adorar.Obrigada pela dica.

    • sbranch says:

      What she said:
      Hi Susan, I’m salivating just looking at the recipe. I think my family will love it. Thank you for the tip.

      And I say … Obrigada Solange!

  6. Diane P. in Sacramento says:

    Happy New Year Susan!
    My wonderful hubby got me a pair of shiny new poultry shears (at my request 😉 for my birthday last Saturday. Next time I’m at the grocery store, I’m going to pick up a whole chicken and (finally!) take this recipe for a spin! I already have my brick picked out, yay!
    Thank you so much! xoxo

  7. Laurel Larsen Stokes says:

    Sounds great! I’ll have to try this once before I serve it to my dinner guests on Feb 14th! Now to find a brick! Most off the “bricks here in Taos are adobe, (though that might be something to try), Maybe I’ll try our Habitat for Humanity store, if all else fail Ace should have something.

  8. Sara says:

    Well, that just looks wonderful! Loved the how-to, and I have all the ingredients. The only problem is where do I get a Joe? Hahaha! But seriously, got any ideas where?

  9. Annie says:

    Pollo alla matone. One of my all time favorites!

  10. Sandi Dumesnil says:

    This looks divine and I’ll definitely be trying this!!!! Hope my neighbor doesn’t miss one of his bricks!!! I’m thinking this recipe would be wonderful on pork, as well!!! 🙂

    Thank you for sharing!!!!

    • julie eden says:

      better than your neighbor missing a chicken!! that they might notice. you could also share some of the delicious results!!

  11. chris (in Florida) says:

    The first time we made this I used a brick from our old house in NH. Made the chicken just that much tastier – not that it wasn’t incredible without the brick. Sorry Joe (whew!). My grandson asks for this dish pretty often. This is the kind of recipe that keeps those Treasures pulling in the driveway 🙂 And you’re right……that brick is one of the most important cooking accessories I own now.

  12. Becki Barker says:

    Hmmm sounds yummy but wondering where I can get lemon thyme this time of year…

  13. JoAnn from SoCal says:

    That’s it! Need to go out and buy a heavy frying pan….and brick! Thank you, Susan!

  14. Tom Bogany says:


    I am desparate and need your help!!! On our public television I saw a chef grill chicken breasts using foil-lined bricks, and they looked delicious. I don’t have a grill so I googled recipes to use my oven, along with bricks to bake 3-4 breasts. I have looked through countless websites but only can find recipes using whole chickens or grilling them; there are none just using the breasts. I would greatly appreciate your help by giving me some information about the baking temperature and how long to bake them. I am going to use your marinade recipes above and look forward to receiving this information. Thank you so very much.


    • sbranch says:

      Well, everything depends on size and thickness. The oven is set at 400 degrees and you are going to brown the meat, so I don’t think it would take much time at all to cook the breasts. Maybe ten minutes, to be on the safe side. You can always put them back in. You can lower the heat if you like, then go 15 min. Fingers crossed that this will work for you.

  15. Tana says:

    I’ll be lucky if the brick doesn’t taste better than the chicken. I wonder if you could do this with a turkey and a couple of bricks? What do you say Joe?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *