Home Chicken Grilled Spatchcock Chicken

Grilled Spatchcock Chicken

by

Spatchcock is the best way to cook a whole chicken when you want it perfectly done throughout and be juicy on the inside with a beautiful crispy skin. It’s our favorite way to roast, smoke, and grill a whole chicken. This grilled chicken has great seasoning to compliment the meat and the smoky grilled flavor.

Grilled Spatchcock Chicken

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “Spatch…whaaat?” when I tell people about this chicken. At first, I was surprised that so many people never heard of it but then it turned out that people simply know this as “butterflied chicken.”

So I want to show you our favorite way to make spatchcock chicken on the grill, whether you call it butterflied chicken or spatchcock chicken.

No matter what you call it, results will be finger-licking-good! It’s because this chicken comes out evenly cooked throughout, beautifully seasoned, with juicy meat on the inside and crispy skin on the outside.

What is Spatchcock Chicken?

Simply put, a spatchcock chicken is basically a butterflied chicken. Spatchcock actually refers to the cooking technique. To “spatchcock” the chicken means to remove the back bone and butterfly it out. This technique helps the chicken cook evenly throughout, get crispier skin, and the cooking time is also very short.

The term “spatchcock” came from somewhere in the 17th century and came from the saying “spatching the cock,” which means to open the bird carcass and cook it.

Number one thing to remember when making this chicken, is don’t be anticipated. This method of cooking a whole chicken may seem scary, but it’s really simple! The first time, you may still be a little unsure of yourself but power through it. Once you get a handle of what you have to do, you’ll get it done in a flash.

Ingredients You Will Need:

Whole chicken – you will be a whole chicken that is about 4 lbs.

Oil – use oil that has a high smoke point and not an overpowering flavor. Stick to canola, vegetable, or avocado oil.

Lemon – you will be using zest off the lemon, so make sure lemons are nice and ripe.

Seasoning – for the grilled version, I use a little bit of a different seasoning mix than I use on smoked and roasted one. Grilled version does not contain any sugar and I keep it to the basics that go well with chicken. So you will need salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and dried herbs like oregano, sage, thyme, and parsley.

Equipment you should have:

Make sure you have a drip pan that you can place under the grill grate, under the chicken. It will really help you with the cleanup because this chicken will drip a lot.

You also need an instant read digital meat thermometer. It’s best if you have a leave-in thermometer that you can insert and leave in the chicken while it cooks. This will limit the times you open the grill and poke the chicken.

The easiest way to take the backbone out will be by using kitchen shears. They are nice and tough and cut through the bone no problem.

How to Spatchcock a Chicken

First – Remove the whole chicken from the packaging and remove any giblets. Save the giblets (and the backbone) for homemade chicken stock, if you’d like. (I put them into a zip-lock freezer bag and freeze them until I need to make stock. By that time, I have 2-3 backbones, if not more.)

Next – cut off the excess fat that is often found at the bottom of the chicken, near the tail. Place the chicken breast down on a large cutting board. Now, all you need is kitchen shears to remove the backbone.

Then – Using the kitchen shears, cut along the spine on one side, all along the backbone, and then on the other side of the backbone. Remove the backbone and flip the chicken breast side up.

Finally – Using the bottom part of the palm of your hand, put a lot of pressure in the center, right between the two breasts. Push down to flatten the breast plate until you hear a small crack. The chicken is now ready for a rub down and cooking!

How To Grill Spatchcock Chicken

To prepare the wet rub – simply combine oil, lemon zest, and seasonings in a small bowl and mix it well.

To rub the chicken – You will want to use a little bit of the wet rub to get under the skin on the breasts. Use your fingertips to very gently pull the skin away from the breast meat and add some rub over the breast meat. Use about 2/3 of the rub for the top, skin side of the chicken, and about 1/3 of the rub for the underside. Make sure you rub on both sides!

Prepare the grill – Set a drip pan under the grill grate, underneath where you will be cooking the chicken. Prepare the grill to have two temperature zones because you will be cooking the spatchcock chicken over indirect heat and then finish it over direct heat. You are looking for a medium temperature of (375°-400°).

To grill the chicken – insert the leave-in meat thermometer probe into the breast meat, into the thickest part, along the bone but not quite touching the bone.

Place chicken on the grill breast up and close the grill. Cook spatchcock chicken over indirect heat for 45-50 minutes, until it reaches 160°.

Open the grill and use long metal tongs to move the chicken over to the direct heat. Let it cook over direct heat for a couple of minutes on each side, until the internal temperature gets to 165°.

Take chicken off the grill and let it rest on the cutting board for 5-10 minutes before serving.

What to Serve with Spatchcock Chicken

I love to cook whole small potatoes on the grill at the same time as the chicken because it makes an easy dinner and takes about the same amount of time. If space permits, simply cook potatoes in a cast iron skillet or in an aluminum pan over indirect heat. Use my grilled potatoes recipe for guidance.

You can also serve any of your favorite vegetables, mashed potatoes, or pasta with this grilled chicken. Some easy grilled vegetables include grilled zucchini and grilled broccoli.

PIN THIS RECIPE FOR LATER

Grilled Spatchcock Chicken

Spatchcock is the best way to cook a whole chicken when you want it perfectly done throughout and be juicy on the inside with a beautiful crispy skin. 

Print Recipe

CourseMain Course
CuisineAmerican
Keywordwhole chicken
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes
Servings4 (serves 4-6)
Calories648kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 lb whole chicken
  • 2 lemons – zest only
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 tbsp kosher coarse salt more or less to taste
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried rubbed sage
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley

Instructions

To spatchcock the chicken:

  • Remove the whole chicken from the packaging and remove any giblets. Save the giblets (and the back bone) for homemade chicken stock, if you’d like.
  • Cut off the excess fat that is often found at the bottom of the chicken, near the tail. Place the chicken breast down on a large cutting board. Now, all you need is kitchen shears to remove the backbone.
  • Using the kitchen shears, cut along the spine on one side, all along the backbone, and then on the other side of the backbone. Remove the backbone and flip the chicken breast side up.
  • Using the bottom part of the palm of your hand, put a lot of pressure in the center, right between the two breasts. Push down to flatten the breast plate until you hear small crack.

Seasoning the chicken:

  • Combine oil, lemon zest, and seasonings in a small bowl and mix it well.
  • Use your fingertips to very gently pull the skin away from the breast meat and add some rub over the breast meat.
  • Use about 2/3 of the rub for the top, skin side of the chicken, and about 1/3 of the rub for the underside. Make sure you do rub on both sides!

Prepare the grill:

  • Set a drip pan under the grill grate, underneath where you will be cooking the chicken.
  • Prepare the grill to have two temperature zones because you will be cooking the spatchcock chicken over indirect heat and then finish it over direct heat. You are looking for medium temperature of (375°-400°).

Grilling spatchcock chicken:

  • Insert the leave-in meat thermometer probe into the breast meat, into the thickest part, along the bone but not quite touching the bone.
  • Place chicken on the grill breast up and close the grill. Cook spatchcock chicken over indirect heat for 45-50 minutes, until it reaches 160°.
  • Open the grill and use long metal tongs to move the chicken over to the direct heat. Let it cook over direct heat for a couple of minutes on each side, until internal temperature gets to 165°.
  • Take chicken off the grill and let it rest on the cutting board for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 648kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 52g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 25g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 163mg | Sodium: 1901mg | Potassium: 482mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 701IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 3mg

You may also like

Leave a Comment