Italian Mattone 'Brick House' chicken - perfect for Summer grilling

Mattone means "brick" in Italian and refers to a technique of splitting a chicken and cooking it pressed under a stone or "a la mattone". Here is a simple adaptation of this method for the backyard barbecue.


  • 1 whole chicken (4 pounds)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Coarse Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper


Preheat grill to 400°F. Lay chicken breast-side down, and using a heavy knife, split along the middle of the back, opening it like a book. Season the bird front and back with garlic, olive oil, salt and black pepper.

Place on seasoned grill, skin-side down for 7–8 minutes, with the lid closed. Carefully lift, rotate the bird 90 degrees and cook another 7–8 minutes, lid closed. When lifting off the grill, the bird should release easily. If it sticks, slide a thin metal spatula between the chicken and the grill to help release it.

Flip the bird over, cover with foil, place a brick or cast iron skillet on top, and grill for an additional 8–10 minutes, lid closed. Cook until internal temperature reaches 165ºF. Remove brick and remove from heat, allowing the bird to rest, covered, for 10 minutes. If foil sticks, keep the skin intact by gently sliding a butter knife between the chicken and the foil. Drizzle with fresh lemon juice, and sprinkle generously with parsley and crushed red pepper.

Recipe and photo compliments of Nugget Markerts 

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