Golden Cockerel – Little Rooster on the BBQ
I’m not referring to the Russian Opera piece here! My Golden Cockerel is actually a BBQ twist on the legendary french recipe coq au vin. Allthough a twist might be the wrong word… Apart from the use of wine this golden cockerel has little to do with the traditional recipe. I used white wine and garden fresh green herbs to marinate the little rooster making it nice and juicy. Want to find out how to get the golden brown colour? Read on and I’ll tell you!
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Cockerel or Hen?
So what’s the difference? Actually it took me a while to find some good info on this subject. But that’s because stupid me didn’t think of asking the butcher… Is there really a difference in taste or not? When talking about a cockelet we are referring to a young rooster from less than 28 weeks old. The little rooster grows faster than a hen leading to a firmer meat texture packed full of flavour. You can recognize the yellowish colour of the cockerel. It contains less fat making it more at risk for getting dry. So using the low and slow technique and marinating the cockerel might be needed to save the juices. When older than 28 weeks the rooster grows to big and is more difficult to prepare than the hens who are mostly sold. (thx. Nick Vos Vanhoudt for the explanation).
It’s the first time I’m making a cockerel on the BBQ. I’ve done a lot of chicken but this is slightly different. The full taste of the meat is something beautiful so I chose not to use a regular rub. I’ve made a white wine marinade with some fresh herbs I took from the garden and flavored the cockerel with it. Think of herbs like (sage, rosemary, thyme and tarragon…) I’ve used the same herbs to flavorize the oil used to rub the cockerel. Besides these ingredients only salt and pepper where used to enhance it’s flavor. However you can use some cherry wood to smoke the golden cockerel I did not this time.
To obtain a flavorful piece of golden cockerel you want to prepare it skin on and rub thoroughly underneath the skin. To prevent the cockerel from drying out I made it low and slow. Another option is using a spitroast. This way the cockerel is fried in it’s own fat so you can cook it on slightly higher temperature and obtain a nice crispy skin. To simulate a similar effect I made a flavoured oil to baste the chicken with and raised the temperature of the grill in the end to colour and crisp up the skin. It’s not the same as when you cook it on a higher temperature for a longer time but somewhere in between with no chance of dry cockerel. If you don’t have a spitroast this might be a good alternative.
Have fun preparing this golden cockerel! Who knows it might be as pleasing you can fall asleep safely afterwards! So maybe there is a link with the Opera after all! In the end I’m sure it will disappear too! Btw don’t hesitate to show me your pics after you’ve made this recipe and share your insights! Oh and if you want to make the peach liquor carrots with them you might want to take a look at the recipe (over here). Have a great meal!
Coq au Vin is a legendary recipe in France and beyond. This Golden Cockelet recipe is derived from the cockelet in red wine recipe! Yet in this one I’m using white wine as a marinade and flavor it with some garden fresh green herbs. Made on the BBQ for a golden brown colour! Have a nice meal you BBQ lovers!
- 2 Cockerels or 4 in case of big eaters
- 1 handful fresh green herbs tarragon, sage, oregano, rosemary, …
- salt and pepper at taste
- 1 glass white vermouth
- 500 ml fruity white wine
- 1/2 lemon for the juice
Take a Bunsen burner to burn away the little feathers of the cockerel.
Add the wine, juice of a half lemon, dry vermouth and fresh herbs to a vacuum bag and add the cockelets. Let the cockelets marinate for 2 hrs in a vacuum (or 6-8 hours when not in a vacuum).
Remove the cockelets from the marinade and pat dry. Season them with salt and pepper and rub with a green herb flavored oil. Don’t forget to do the inside and underneath the skin.
Put the cockelets on an indirect heat source at 110°C/200°F until they reach an internal temperature of 65°C/150°F. In this stage you can add some smokewood (for once I didn’t).
Reform your grill so you get a direct fire source at 180°C/350°C. Rub the cockelets again with the flavored oil and put them back on the grill to crisp and colour the skin. The cockelets are done at an internal temperature of 75°C/167°F.