Chickens and Other Poultry
"Whole spit-roasted chickens are ubiquitous to the point where I wouldn't know where to begin," says Raichlen, but pressed, he lists a few favorites, starting with a recipe for salt-crusted chicken cooked in a wood-burning oven that the Argentinean chef Francis Mallmann (the author of Seven Fires) shared with him for Planet Barbecue!. "When it comes out, he cracks the hard shell, and the chicken is incredibly moist," he says.
Another of Raichlen's favorite recipes for whole barbecued chicken comes from Cambodia, where the bird is spatchcocked (the backbone is removed and the bird is opened "like a book"), skewered on bamboo sticks, and grilled directly over a brazier that "looks a little bit like a flowerpot filled with charcoal."
Beyond chicken, Raichlen has feasted on whole quail wrapped in grape leaves or pumpkin leaves and roasted in embers in Uzbekistan, as well as Peking duck done over a grill in Macau. "Even in countries where the grills are tiny and can't be covered, people have figured out ways to cook whole birds," he says.