Spatchcocked & Grilled Chicken Recipe
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Spatchcocked is just a fun word to say. Why would you do this? It helps to cook the chicken more evenly so that the breast meat doesn't dry out as easily, plus it reduces the cooking time. (You can also reserve/freeze the backbone to make chicken stock — it adds delicious flavor.)
Use this rub or just season the bird with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs. Instead of grilling the chicken,you can also roast it in the oven or broil it if you'd like.
Click here to the see Winner, Winner, Grilled Chicken Dinner story.
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
- Zest of 1 lemon
- One 3-4 pound chicken, spatchcocked*
- Olive oil
In a bowl, combine all of the spices and lemon zest and combine. Set aside. Rub the chicken with olive oil and then with the spice mixture, separating the skin from the meat to place some rub inside there.
Heat your grill pan or grill. If using a grill pan, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Over medium-high heat, brown the chicken for 6-7 minutes skin side down, then flip and brown on the other side for 4-5 minutes. Then place in a roasting pan and cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through.
If using a grill, cook the chicken skin side down for 6-7 minutes, then flip and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Move to over indirect heat, cover, and cook for another 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through, moving and turning the chicken as needed. Let rest for 5 minutes, then carve and serve.
Spatchcock Chicken on the Grill
Amount Per Serving Calories 660 % Daily Value * Total Fat 48g 74 % Saturated Fat 12g 60 % Trans Fat 0g Cholesterol 267mg 89 % Sodium 238mg 10 % Potassium 0mg Total Carbohydrate 0g Dietary Fiber 0g Sugars 0g Protein 56g 113 % Vitamin A 40 % Vitamin C 11 % Calcium 0 % Iron 21 %
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Cut backbone completely out of the bird.
Cut up one side, cutting through the ribs close to the backbone and back down the other side. Kitchen shears work really well for this.
Using a paring knife, Pop out the breastplate by cutting underneath it on both sides and lift to remove.
Cut away any excess skin, wash clean and dry.
Rub chicken with vegetable oil and season with seasoning blend
My preference is low and slow. I like for the temperature to be 350F at the GrillGrate. Grilling time should be just over one hour.
Final internal temperature at breast and thigh should be 165F with juices running clear.
Preheat grill to 350F at the GrillGrate surface. Start grilling skin side down because GrillGrates protects so well and avoids grease fires, the skin will get golden brown and seared.
After 10 minutes, lift and twist while the chicken is still skin down on the GrillGrate. Let cook for 10 more minutes and lift with the GrateTool and gently turn the bird over.
Cook additional 10 minutes and reposition or twist the chicken again. Check internal temperature- once you reach 165F in the breast the chicken is ready. The thighs and legs can handle hotter temps and still be juicy.
Remove chicken from grill to cutting board. Carve the breasts from the carcass. Remove the thighs and legs for serving.
Check out this how to video done by our buddy Ken Hess of Big Bob Gibson BBQ
Grilled Spatchcock Chicken
Chicken reigns supreme during the summer months of grilling and we’re always looking for more ways to cook it up so it doesn’t get boring. A whole chicken on the grill is one of life’s simple pleasures but it takes forever and is hard to cook it evenly. Enter the Spatchcock Chicken. You’re going to love it.
Spatchcock sounds like such a funny word but it’s the magic word when it comes to cooking a whole chicken on the grill. This butterfly technique is simple to do and gives you the most flavorful, juicy grilled chicken you’ll ever sink your fork into.
We love cooking this chicken recipe for guests during the summer months because it’s super simple with minimal cleanup and you can season it with so many things. For this recipe, I used a simple garlic herb blend which is similar to my favorite Garlic Butter Sauce which you can also use. Then, drizzle the remaining all over the cooked chicken right before serving. Drooling yet?
What is Spatchcock Chicken?
A spatchcock chicken is, basically, a whole chicken with the backbone removed and then butterflied by pressing down on the breast bone until it’s flat.
It sounds complicated but it’s actually quite simple to do. The benefit of making a spatchcock chicken is it cuts the cooking time in half while the chicken stays juicy and tender.
You can roast spatchcock chicken, too but we really love cooking it on the grill.
The term “spatchcock” is said to be a 17th century shorthand for “dispatching the cock”, meaning to open a chicken carcass in order to cook it.
How to Spatchcock a Chicken
This technique is really simple to do and all you need is a good pair of kitchen shears to get the job done.
Place the chicken flat on a cutting board breast side down.
Using sharp kitchen shears, cut along the outside of the backbone and then repeat on the other side.
Flatten the chicken by opening up the sides and flip it over on the cutting board, breast side up.
Press down on the center of the breastbone to flatten completely.
Cut the wing tips off at the first joint so they don’t burn while cooking.
Now you spatchcocked your chicken and you’re ready to grill it!
How to Grill a Whole Chicken
You can easily season your chicken with whatever you like but for this recipe I like to use a really great olive oil blended with minced garlic and Italian seasoning. It’s really flavorful all on it’s own so I like to dress it simply.
Season your chicken over and under the skin, as well as, the inside of the chicken.
Prepare your grill.
Place the chicken skin side up on the indirect side of the grill with the legs facing the hotter side of the grill. (The legs take longer to cook than the breast.)
Cover and cook until an instant read thermometer reads 150˚F.
Move to the chicken to the direct heat side of the grill and cook for 3-4 more minutes.
Flip the chicken over and cook for 4-5 minutes to crisp up the skin.
Flip the chicken once more and check for doneness. If the temperature reads 165˚F, you are done.
Transfer to a platter and cover with foil.
Rest the chicken for 10 minutes before serving.
What To Serve It With
We love to keep things simple when serving our Grilled Spatchcock Chicken and it goes really well with these Grilled Potatoes with onions and garlic. We also love it with it with grilled asparagus and parmesan corn on the cob.
Or start things off with a Wedge Salad and pile high a mountain of German potato salad!
More Chicken Recipes
Looking for more easy Chicken recipes for summer…..we love this easy chicken breast recipe that you can make indoors or out.
This easy Parmesan Chicken is one of our all time favorites and this Cast Iron Chicken is nothing short of amazing.
If you’re looking for a smaller version with the same great flavor, these Cornish Hens are definitely the way to go.
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Start by spatchcocking your chicken. For directions on how to easily spatchcock a chicken, click here! After you’ve spatchcocked the bird, rub the outside skin of the chicken all over with the poultry seasoning.
Heat a grill to medium high (400ºF) heat and set up for indirect cooking with heat on only one side of the grill. Place the chicken on the unheated side of the grill with the skin up. Cook for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, flip the chicken so that the skin is facing down and keep it over indirect heat. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and the internal temperature reaches 165ºF. If the skin becomes crispy before the temperature reaches 165ºF, flip the chicken back over to skin side up and continue cooking until the bird reaches 165ºF.
Once done cooking, remove from grill and let rest for 5 minutes before carving. Carve into pieces and enjoy!
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Juicy & Tender Spatchcock Grilled Chicken – The Best Recipe
The term “spatchcock” refers to an old cooking technique that consists of splitting in half a bird, such as quail, chicken, or cornish hen, and then flattening it for roasting. The idea behind spatchcock chicken is not only aesthetic, but also convenient. The meat cooks through perfectly in less than 30 minutes, for an entire chicken.
Another way to call spatchcock chicken is “butterfly” chicken. This is because, as the word implies, the final product looks like the bird is laying down with wings spread out.
The basic idea behind spatchcock chicken is to remove the backbone of the bird. Once the backbone is removed, the breastbone is made flatter, and then the chicken is spread open like a book.
Which meats are best to “spatchcock”
Most any bird is worth spatchcocking. The idea is that the bird has enough meat and skin to make the process fun. If you do a quick internet search of spatchcocked birds, you may come across some very interesting candidates such as:
Why do people spatchcock anyway?
The idea behind spatchcocking a bird is to concentrate on cooking the meat of the bird without any added bones. It is also can be pleasing for those with culinary abilities to do a presentation that is not often thought of.
Another great benefit of spatchcocking is that it shortens the cooking time to half the usual time. For example, to roast a chicken in an oven may take up to an hour. You already know that a turkey takes a huge amount of time as well. Not with spatchcocking. A spatchcocked bird, the entire bird, can be thoroughly cooked in 30 to 40 minutes.
The recipe that you are about to see spatchcocks a regular, whole supermarket chicken weighing about 4 pounds. It is recommended that you thaw out the chicken, and pat dry it, prior to seasoning it.
This recipe is for grilling the spatchcock chicken. However, you can cook these birds however you want, from oven-baked, to air-fried!
We grill here! That is what we do! We promise you that the taste of the grill goes perfectly on this kind of cut. It takes care of the meat through indirect heat, and then it crisps the skin altogether, searing in the most amazing flavors you can imagine.
As with any chicken, the seasoning is up to you. These days, there are all sorts of rubs and sauces to marinate chicken prior to grilling. There is something called “chicken salt” which is a blend of seasonings designed specifically for the unique tenderness and flavor of chicken.
Grilled Spatchcock Chicken Tips!
In this recipe we spatchcock the chicken, so it cooks faster and more evenly. You can ask your butcher to spatchcock it for you or check the step by step below to do it yourself. You can do this!
How to spatchcock a chicken
Spatchcocking, or butterflying, a chicken is actually pretty easy. All we need to do is remove the backbone with either a butchers knife or some kitchen shears.
That’s it! The best part is, you can save the backbone to make homemade stock. It’s so good!
- 1 chicken (3-1/2 to 4 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons diced red or yellow bell pepper (optional)
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- fresh calmonsis or lime wedges for squeezing
For the marinade:
- 1/4 cup grated coconut (fresh or dried)
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and rough chopped
- 2 shallots, peeled and rough chopped
- 2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and rough chopped
- 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and rough chopped
- 2 2 hot red chilies, like jalapenos or horn peppers, seeded and rough chopped (for spicier chicken, leave the seeds in), or 2 tablespoons Malaysian chili paste
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
Orange Spiced Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken
A spatchcocked chicken is a chicken with the backbone removed so that it lies flat. It's always much easier to grill than a whole chicken and it's easier to carve at the end too.
“Spatchcock” is a fun word, isn’t it? It sounds a bit pretentious, a bit risqué, and a bit elusive all at the same time. Plus, it’s full of hard consonants which just makes it enjoyable to pronounce. It usually refers to a preparation of chicken where you remove the backbone and open the chicken so that it can lie flat. This makes it much easier to cook and allows it to cook faster. You could also say “butterfly” the chicken instead of “spatchcock”, but “spatchcock” really is much more fun, no? You could ask your butcher to spatchcock your chicken for you, but why bother when you could do it yourself with a handy pair of shears. If you’re interested in learning how to spatchcock a chicken, click here for photos and a good explanation in the cooking school.
The reason a spatchcocked chicken cooks faster than a whole chicken is because the breasts and legs get direct contact from the heat source when the chicken is skin-side down AND when the chicken is skin-side up. It’s easier to cook than a whole chicken (especially on the grill) because you’ve turned it into a flat piece of meat with two sides, rather than a circle with four sides. You simply flip the chicken over a couple of times on the grill, rather than rotating it around to ensure all sides get cooked evenly.
Grilling a spatchcocked chicken has advantage over grilling pieces of chicken too – you only have to flip one item rather than flipping several items on the grill and you only baste one larger piece of chicken rather than basting 6 or 8 individual pieces. In this recipe, you only baste the chicken after it has cooked for 40 minutes because as with most glazes, there is a relatively high sugar content which can brown or burn quickly. So, glaze only at the end of cooking and let the glaze bake onto the skin. You can serve any remaining glaze at the table for added flavor.
Do be careful when turning the chicken over – metal tongs can easily tear the skin of the chicken – but rest assured that if you start with clean grill grates and don’t try to flip the chicken too soon, you will be able to flip the chicken easily without it sticking. This is, of course, assuming that you control the temperature of your grill. In a perfect world, your grill should be between 350ºF and 450ºF when cooking the chicken and you should use indirect heat or the cooler part of your grill.
When it comes to cutting the chicken into pieces, it’s easy to slice right through a spatchcocked chicken, separating the legs from the breasts, and then the drumsticks from the thighs. You can cut it into 6 pieces as in the photo above, or slice each breast half in half again. While this recipe indicates that you can serve four people with this recipe, I really think you can squeak out six portions with a full 5-pound chicken.
It’s always nice to garnish foods with ingredients from the recipe, so have a couple extra oranges on hand to slice up around the chicken. Fresh herbs or salad greens are always welcome too.
Spatchcocked Grilled Chicken With Sicilian Salsa
Spatchcocking is a great technique to use when you’re short on time it can be used on chickens, turkeys, game hens, etc. If grilling isn’t an option, place a cooling rack in a rimmed sheet pan, put the bird on the rack, and roast in the oven. This recipe comes from master griller Steven Raichlen, a longtime member of the Club, whose TV show “Project Fire” airs on American Public Television.
- 1 roasting chicken, about 4 pounds
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea)
- 1 teaspoon cracked or coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or tarragon
- Juice and finely grated zest of one lemon
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional oil for serving
- 1 bunch fresh arugula, washed and dried, for serving
Sicilian Salsa, for serving (recipe follows)
- Spatchcock the chicken by removing the backbone with a sharp knife or kitchen shears. Turn the chicken over (breast side up) and gently flatten it with the palms of your hands. (Remove the cartilaginous breast bone, if you’d like, by running a sharp knife down both sides and popping it out.) Arrange the chicken in a large nonreactive baking dish.
- Combine the salt, pepper, hot red pepper flakes, rosemary, garlic, and lemon zest in a small bowl and mix with your fingers. Sprinkle this mixture over the chicken on all sides, rubbing it into the meat.
- Squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken, followed by the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Turn the chicken a couple times to coat it well. Refrigerate the chicken for at least 30 minutes (or even overnight).
- Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to medium. In the best of all worlds, you’d build your fire with oak chunks. Alternatively, you can toss some wood chips or chunks on the coals.
- Brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the chicken on the grate, skin side down. Grill for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the skin’s nicely browned. Carefully turn the chicken. Grill 15 to 20 minutes more, or until done. The internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh should be 165°F. Arrange on a bed of arugula that’s been tossed with a tablespoon of olive oil. Serve with the salsa.
Sicilian Salsa Ingredients
- 2 large ripe red tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
- 1 small white onion, finely diced
- 1/2 cup finely diced hothouse cucumber
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
- 16 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
- 2 tablespoons small brined capers, drained
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or basil
- 1/4 cup best quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
- Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
Sicilian Salsa Directions
- In a small mixing bowl, gently mix—a rubber spatula works well for this—the tomato, onion, cucumber, garlic, olives, and capers. Stir in the tarragon, olive oil, and lemon juice. Add salt (remember, the capers and olives are salty) and pepper to taste.
Serves 4—Recipe from Food and Wine, June 2007