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Chicken al Mattone! Chicken Under a Brick

This is a beautiful Italian style roasted chicken. ‘Al mattone’ actually means “with a brick”. Roasting chicken with a brick accomplishes two things; it presses the chicken flat into the pan making it moist and juicy with a golden skin. It also makes it cook a little quicker. Buy a brick at any home and garden center, cover it with foil and you are ready to roll! Ask your butcher to cut the backbone out of a whole chicken leaving the chicken whole so it opens flat, like a book. Be very clear with your butcher or he will come back with two half chickens! Marinate overnight or all day. You will need: one brick per chicken, wrapped in foil. If you are making one chicken, use a large oven safe frying pan, for two chickens use a turkey roaster and double recipe. It is important chicken be as close to 4 lbs as you can get it. Bigger birds take longer to cook and won't press as flat.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword classic recipe, easy dinner recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 servings
Author Linda Spiker


  • This recipe is for one chicken, double recipe for 2 birds
  • 1 - 4 pound whole chicken, backbone removed so bird can lay flat like a book
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3 lemons, juiced (two for marinade, one for garnish)
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 3 small cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped for garnish


Prep chicken the night before or morning of:

  1. Open chicken flat like a book and place on a rimmed cookie sheet. Mix juice of two lemons, olive oil, lemon zest, rosemary, and garlic in a small bowl. Brush all sides of chicken with mixture. Place chicken skin side down on cookie sheet, cover and chill 12-24 hours.

Cooking Chicken:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place oven rack in second lowest position.
  2. Sprinkle marinated chicken with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
  3. Put a little olive oil in the bottom of and oven safe pan, skillet or roaster and place on cooktop at med/high heat. If using a turkey roaster to cook two birds, place roasting pan across two burners.

  4. When pan and oil are very hot place marinated chicken on pan, skin side down and cook until skin is golden brown (about 6 minutes).

  5. Move pan into preheated oven and place foil wrapped brick across the ribs of the chicken. Cook for 30 minutes, remove brick, flip chicken skin side up. Place the brick across the breast and continue roasting for 15 more minutes. Check thigh to make sure chicken is done, juices should run clear.

  6. Remove brick, transfer chicken to cutting board. Squeeze juice of remaining lemon over chicken, sprinkle with red pepper flakes and parsley. Serve.