Publican Chicken Recipe (2024)

Recipe from Paul Kahan

Adapted by Frank Bruni

Publican Chicken Recipe (1)

Total Time
40 minutes, plus marinating
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This quick, easy-to-put-together chicken comes from Paul Kahan of The Publican, a restaurant in Chicago. The ingredient list is short, and may include much of what you already have on hand. But the flavor it yields is paramount: Serve it with wedge fries and a frosty beer for a meal that will lift the most flagging spirits. —Frank Bruni

Featured in: In a Third Act, Pig Is the Star

Learn: How to Grill

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Yield:2 servings

  • ½cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1tablespoon Espelette pepper or Spanish smoked hot paprika
  • 1tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2garlic cloves, sliced
  • ½teaspoon salt
  • ¼teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1(3-pound) chicken, backbone removed

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (2 servings)

1521 calories; 124 grams fat; 28 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 68 grams monounsaturated fat; 21 grams polyunsaturated fat; 12 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 8 grams sugars; 87 grams protein; 912 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Publican Chicken Recipe (2)


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine oil, lemon juice, brown sugar, Espelette pepper or hot paprika, oregano, garlic and salt and pepper. Mix well.

  2. Step


    Flatten chicken and add to marinade, turning it until coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.

  3. Step


    Prepare a grill, arranging coals or gas flame so it is hot on only one side. Place chicken skin-side down on unheated side of grill (so it will cook by indirect heat). Grill, basting every 5 minutes and turning chicken once about halfway through, until juices run clear when chicken is pierced near joint of thigh, about 30 minutes.

  4. Step


    Remove chicken from grill and allow to rest 5 minutes. Carve as desired, and serve.



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Cooking Notes


I do not have a grill, so I did this under the broiler per a suggestion for a similar recipe in Food & Wine. However, I recommend broiling on "low" and from the middle position of the oven. Otherwise, the skin gets too charred.

Alan C Brownmd

A keeper. Haven't made it to the Weber yet with my new hip. Roasted it in the oven in a Pyrex baking dish. 425 for 20 minutes skin side up, then flipped it and turned oven down to 375 for 10 minutes, then flipped it again and it was done after another 10 minutes. Can't wait to try it on the grill but this method worked quite well.


Baste with what? For sure that sugar solution will burn black. Is that intended?


Per @LEL below, agreed that basting should not be done with anything that had raw chicken in it - - unless you put it on the stovetop and heat it to at least 165 degrees and THEN use it as a baste. If it is done early in the cooking process, the temperature should be sufficient to destroy pathogens. But I certainly would not baste with raw marinade later on in the process.


I made this with boneless chicken breasts and it is one of the best marinates I have ever used. I did not have hot paprika but used the following substitute found on the Internet: sweet smoked paprika with a pinch of cumin and a pinch of Cayenne.


Watched a video with the chef. He butterflies the chicken, removes the wings, and let it sit overnight in just salt before marinating. He grill it until it starts to char and then transfers to the oven, pouting some of the drippings from the oven pan and a lemon over top. I will be attempting to grill start to finish, though I may use some drip pan juices to pour over top if it gets hot enough. (Obviously I am new to grilling!)


Not sure it is a good idea to baste with solution in which raw chicken soaked. Perhaps basting should end well before the chicken is ruled "done" to be sure the liquid is sufficiently heated to kill bacteria. Hope any toxins accumulated during the marinating time are protein based and detoxified by heat. I'd use a different liquid or fresh batch of marinade to baste.


If cooking in oven do you still baste every 5 minutes and if broiling the entire time how long?


Put some marinade aside that never goes on the raw chicken for basting later...


Paul Kahan chef /owner of Publican has a video on the web where he makes the dish. He does NOT baste the chicken with the marinade after starting to grill it. Matter of fact he advises making sure that you drain it well to avoid flare ups from the oil in the marinade.

Pat from Yorktown NY

Delicious! I used just a single teaspoon of the smoked paprika, and even that was more than enough for our taste. When I was ready to grill the chicken—and it cooked beautifully on the gas grill—I drained the marinade and simmered it in a small pan on the stove. I didn’t use it to baste—there was no need, in my opinion—and I served it as a sauce at the table. Next time, I’d increase the marinade, so that there would be more left to serve—and there definitely WILL be a next time!

Linda S.

Cooked tonight in 450 oven. Skin down for around 25 minutes, broiled for 5; skin up for 20, broiled for 5. Dumped the marinade right into the pan and basted. Delicious!

Andrew Reimers

I read the instructions and watched the video, and in both cases I'm a little perplexed how they keep the skin from sticking. In my experience, it's easier to keep the skin side up while the bird roasts on the indirect side. This slowly dries the skin out, which makes it less prone to sticking when it's flipped onto the hot side over medium+ heat. Recipe looks great, and I intend to try making it soon.

Bill C

I’ve made this several times, cooking it in a bit of olive oil,skin side down, in a very hot cast iron pan for 5 minutes. Then pop it into a 450 oven in the same skillet for 18 minutes—the first 10 minutes leaving skin side down, then flipping for the last 8.Amazing! (But a fair amount of smoke from the oven)


Baked 5 chicken legs (thigh drumstick) instead with the same amount of ingredients, marinated overnight: delicious!


I have made this numerous times, always in the oven@ 375F. Today I made it and used the marinade to braise cubed butternut squash, with a little cinnamon and chicken broth added. I warmed the marinade and broth, added the squash, stirred and let it cook covered in the oven. Delish!


Really good. Quick and easy. I used only 2 T olive oil, and that was plenty. I’d use half the sugar next time. Cooked boneless thighs and breasts bc that’s what I had over indirect heat on a gas grill. Planning on using it in salad. Entering the rotation.


This is delicious. The first time I made it, I just marinated as described. It turned out okay, but needed more flavor and moisture. I decided to brine overnight, as some have suggested the restaurant’s owner had shared, and marinate for 6 hours the following day. Cooked offset with charcoal. It was moist and flavorful.

Keith in Cincinnati

It's fine. Not really much to write home about. I'd add salt to the marinade so it tenderizes the chicken.

Jared S

My chicken absorbed all the marinade (about 4.5hrs soak time) so there was nothing to baste with. You would need to up the marinade to baste during the cook - but I don't think it needs it. The cooking time is off. Recommend setting charcoal grill to 425, with a total cooking time about 1hr (40min - flip - 20min). With indirect heat, the skin got crispy the final 10 minutes. Some reviews complained of it being burnt: only the flats of the wings came out burnt, the rest was perfect.


I sub chicken thighs for the whole chicken and roasted in the oven at 375 until internal temp. registered 165, about 30 mins.Flavor is complex and delicious.Will try on the outdoor grill next.


Perfect, no notes. Came out sublime.


One of my favorite recipes here. Just a couple of notes:Cut the oil in half, maybe more. You only need enough to wet the bird. Too much and you will get a lot of flare ups on the grill.Baste the bird for extra flavor. I baste it after I flip it. Yes the marinade has raw chicken, but the air temp in the grill in 400-500 degrees and will kill any bacteria in about a minute. Just don't baste it after you take it off the grill...And, it's just as good with smoked paprika.

Josh K

Made with chicken breasts. Pretty successful. 3 mins then flip for 2 mins


8 oz chicken, 1/2 portion turmeric, flour salt; 12 oz asparagus. Full sauce except 2 T honey, add 1/3 t red pepper flakes. Add grated garlic and ginger with asparagus. Really good!


Chic thighsRoast 450 skin down in a preheated cast iron

i swag, i cook

Good way to do chicken

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Publican Chicken Recipe (2024)


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