"Spatchcock!" Grilling the Whole Bird

Of all the roast chickens I have made, and believe me, I have made a lot, this is the best method to the juiciest, most flavorful bird of them all.

I promise.

First I have to say that I love my butchers. These 2 guys at my supermarket are the best. They always go in the back and cut me a fresh piece and pick out the best cuts of meats, just for me!!!!

Why am I so special?
I'm really not. That is the butcher's job.
Just ask him, don't be shy.

Today, I asked him to butterfly a whole chicken for me, by removing the backbone and breastbone.
This saved me 30 minutes of frustration trying to remove those gnarly bones.
Thank you butcher.

You can watch this video if you don't have a butcher and you want to try to butterfly the chicken yourself.

I placed my now flattened 3 lb. chicken in a Pyrex glass pan and squeezed the juice of a lemon all over it.

Next I made a paste w/ fresh chopped thyme and rosemary, a bit of olive oil, 2 cloves of minced garlic and lots of kosher salt and pepper.

With my fingers I rubbed the herb paste underneath the skin and all over the top of the chicken. I sprinkled more kosher salt on top.

I covered the bird and placed it in the fridge for about 3 hours.

I have learned my lesson the hard way in the past by turning the grill flame up too high, and winding up with burned chicken, so keep your grill at low heat and always oil up your grill before cooking.

Place the chicken on the grill skin side up for about 15 minutes and close the lid.
Turn chicken over and cook breast side down for another 25 minutes. Keep an eye so it doesn't burn. If it is getting too blackened, then put a piece of non stick foil underneath the chicken to protect it.

The chicken is done when a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees and the juices run clear. While the bird is resting, it will cook a little more.

Let the chicken rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes before slicing.
Don't forget to save the skin for me!

This method of cooking chicken is also known as "spatchcock". I have no idea why.
All I know is that it tasted fantastic!


Ciao Chow Linda said…
I am one of those who have burned whole, flattened chickens on the grill. I want to try again, bolstered by your post and delicious looking results. I never thought to ask the butcher to debone it, but you're right about saving time idea. Marie of Proud Italian Cook also posted a whole grilled chicken. Great minds think alike.
Zoe said…
I need to ask my butcher to butterfly the chicken for me, I always have difficulty removing those bones. This recipe is so fresh and simple, perfect for a summer grill out!
How funny, what's the chance of that? Practicaly the same rub too!
We're zoned in! Well I can honestly say... This is all you said.
kat said…
Matt spatchcocks our chickens all the time & it is the absolute best way to cook it. He uses good sharp poultry shears which make the work a lot easier
The JR said…
Thanks, I didn't know that it had a special name. Looks sooooo good.
Michele said…
I really want to try this and I think it's a great idea to have the butcher help out with that. Where do you buy your meat? Whole foods? Not many butchers around these days that are willing to do anything!
Karen said…
Mmm, I've done this and it was the most delicious and moist bird ever! And 'spatchcock' just means removing the backbone, splitting it down the middle and grilling it!
Bob said…
Looks awesome. I've been wanting to try that for some time, but I'm not sure a butterflied chicken would even fit in my tiny oven.
StaceyEsq said…
If I had to hazard a guess, I would say that shameless flirtation from a hot lady would get anyone's chicken butterflied promptly!!

I'd fight you for the skin, though.

Have a lovely weekend!
figtree said…
Is anything better than grilled chicken? Looks delicious!!!!!!!!!!!! Figtreeapps
~~louise~~ said…
I just had to stop in to see what's grilling in New Jersey on this blustery day. Yes, the sun is shining!!! Spatchcocking sounds like the only way to go these days and boy oh boy yours sure looks good. (I'll take some of that skin too if you don't mind:)

I agree though, finding a good butcher is a chore in itself. Once you find him, never let him go. (is that a song:)

The first time I ever came across the term spatchcock was in an antique Irish cookbook. I think it just means butterflying the chicken. Thanks for sharing, Stacey. Have a GREAT weekend!
Mila said…
Stacy I must say I love your pictures! And this is one of my favorite, favorite ways of roasting chicken!
Foodiewife said…
I am trying to make healthier meals, now that I have time to swim more often. This and Proud Italian Cook's stuffed grilled onions is on my list. Duh-- my butcher would be more than happy to de-bone a chicken for me! Thanks for the delicious inspiration.
lisaiscooking said…
I love grilling a whole chicken like this! The marinade sounds great. But, wait, I thought you enjoyed cutting chickens?
Dewi said…
Stacey, I didn't know it will take that long just to remove the backbone? You see, I rarely cook the big chicken, I always use cornish hen, which is very small, and is so easy to butterfly. Probably take only 10 to 15 seconds? Your bird look absolutely perfect!!!
Btw, I made your mango salsa (added 2 more jalapeno) it was spicy and delish! I also made your absolutely superb potato salad. I think it's the best potato salad we've ever had (I made my own mayo). My family loved it so much, it's a real treat for them because I only made potato salad once, and wasn't good at all. Thank you for the recipe dear!
Lori Lynn said…
I look forward to trying this!

And you are special :)
Claudia said…
I watched a video, don't know if it was your posted one, about 10 times and did it finally myself. BBQ'd for the 4th with a Berber spice rub and it came out fine, if a bit charred on bits. I'll have to try your trick of getting the butcher to do it.
GiGi said…
This is the ONLY WAY I will eat chicken! I love this preparation - it keeps the entire chicken so moist! If only I had a grill (it only gets made when I am at home!)
lindsey said…
Just found your blog and this recipe is great! I've cooked millions of chickens and never had the gumption to butterfly it, but that video was great and it really wasn't too hard. Delish, thanks!
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