Asian Rotisserie Chicken with Caramelized Bok Choy and Eggplant Recipe
A rotisserie chicken from the grocery store may be the solution for a fast and easy weeknight dinner, but with a little bit of planning, you can create your own version with juicy meat, crispy skin, and a bonus side dish, all done on your home grill’s rotisserie. First, season a whole chicken with a simple mixture of salt and five-spice powder, and let it hang out in the fridge overnight. Then, throw it on the rotisserie over a pan of bok choy and eggplant, periodically coating it with a sticky soy-and-brown-sugar glaze. Brush the bok choy and eggplant with the same glaze while they cook underneath the chicken, catching all of the flavorful drippings, and you’ve got an impressive but surprisingly easy dinner for the family. Toss any leftovers into a unique spin on basic fried rice.
What to buy: Oyster sauce is a thick brown sauce that’s made from oysters. Quality varies among brands; we like the Lee Kum Kee brand. Vegetarian oyster sauce, made from mushrooms, can be substituted. Oyster sauce is available in the Asian aisle of most grocery stores.
Special equipment: This recipe was tested on an outdoor gas grill with a rotisserie attachment; it was not tested on an indoor rotisserie appliance.
You’ll need butcher’s twine to make this dish.
Game plan: You will need to season the chicken for at least 6 hours before cooking, but for best results, season it overnight.
For the chicken:
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
- 1 (4- to 5-pound) whole chicken
For the glaze:
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
For the vegetables:
- 1 pound baby bok choy, halved lengthwise, rinsed, and dried
- 1 pound Chinese or Japanese eggplant, ends trimmed, quartered lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Place the salt and five-spice in a small bowl and stir to combine; set aside.
- Have 2 lengths of butcher’s twine ready, one 15 inches long and one 30 inches long. Place the chicken on a work surface or cutting board, remove the neck and giblets from the cavity, and discard them. Cut off and discard any extra fat and skin hanging around the cavity. Pat the outside of the chicken dry with paper towels.
- Using your hands, rub all of the spice mixture evenly over the outside and inside of the chicken. Wind the shorter length of twine around each leg once and then tie the ends tightly together. Wrap the longer piece of twine around the circumference of the chicken over the wings and tie it tightly. Trim off any excess twine. Place the chicken on a large plate and refrigerate it uncovered for at least 6 hours, or preferably overnight.
For the glaze:
- Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.
To cook the chicken and vegetables:
- Remove the rotisserie center rod (spit) and fork prongs from an outdoor gas grill with a rotisserie attachment. Turn on the rotisserie burner, turn on the left and right grill burners to medium (leave the middle burner off), and let the grill heat to medium (about 350°F to 450°F). Meanwhile, load the chicken onto the spit and prepare the vegetables.
- Slide 1 pronged fork onto the spit with the tines facing inward, setting it about 10 inches from the end of the spit, and tighten the fork halfway. Slide the spit through the cavity of the chicken lengthwise and push the chicken onto the fork tines until it’s firmly embedded. Attach the other pronged fork with the tines facing inward and slide it down until it’s firmly embedded in the chicken. If necessary, adjust the forks and chicken so that they are centered on the spit. Tighten both forks into place; set aside.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the bok choy and eggplant on the baking sheet, drizzle with the oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Turn the vegetables cut-side down on the baking sheet; set aside.
- When the grill is ready, load the pointed end of the spit onto the rotisserie motor. Place the sheet of vegetables directly on the grill grates underneath the chicken. Turn on the rotisserie motor, cover the grill, and cook for 30 minutes.
- Flip the vegetables and brush them and the chicken with the reserved glaze. Cover and continue to cook, flipping the vegetables and brushing them and the chicken with the glaze every 10 minutes (use all of the glaze), until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the inner thigh of the chicken (but not touching the bone) registers 165°F, about 30 minutes total.
- Turn off the rotisserie motor, rotisserie burner, and grill burners. Using potholders or kitchen towels, carefully remove the spit to a cutting board and loosen the forks. Remove the chicken from the spit and remove the forks. Tent the chicken loosely with aluminum foil and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Remove the tray of vegetables from the grill and cover with aluminum foil.
- Cut and discard the twine from the chicken. Carve the bird and serve with the vegetables and rice.