Spatchcock Chicken

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Heather says:

I have said it before, but whole chickens are often a great buy.  I am a huge fan of cooking once and eating several times, but how do you reap the benefit when it is is too warm for the oven?  You grill it, of course.  Rather than cutting the bird into parts first, I decided to experiment with spatchcocking.  This method allows for more even cooking as a larger surface is presented to the grill.  Spatchcocking is simply an old Irish term that means to butterfly; I just think it’s fun to say.

To accomplish today’s project you will need:

In order to not offend our more sensitive viewers the pictures and tutorial follow the jump.

First wash the chicken and remove the giblets and any pin feathers.

Turn the chicken over so it is breast side down.

Using kitchen shears cut alongside the spine, you will be cutting through some small bones, so it will take a little strength.  Cut all the way through.

Then cut on the other side of the spine. You will be removing about a one inch strip.  It does not have to be exact.

Now, open the chicken like a book.  There are two small bones above the breasts that may be broken in the process, that’s just fine.  The chicken should lie flat on the cutting board.

If you would like you can remove the breastbone, but it’s unnecessary.

Add your rub or seasoning and grill over a medium hot* grill for one hour.  Watch for flare ups, but try to not move the chicken.  If you must move it, use tongs.  Piercing the skin or meat will result in a drier bird.

Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken is fully cooked. (160°F in the thigh with an instant read thermometer, 180°F in the breast)  Also make sure the juice is running clear.  Allow it to rest for five to ten minutes before carving.

Cooked meat is difficult to photograph, I would like to assure you that the chicken was not overdone, as the photo may suggest.  It was fab.

To crisp the skin, turn the bird skin side down for the final 10 minutes.


*To determine the temperature of your grill hold your hand about five inches over the grill, if you can hold it there for 3-4 seconds** your grill is at the optimum medium hot temperature.

**Testing the heat of your grill is not the time to prove your manhood.  If you can comfortably hold your hand, not if you must grit your teeth while your eyes are watering.

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3 thoughts on “Spatchcock Chicken”

  1. Ooh! That looks tasty! Do you think it would work with turkey? I have a coupon for a free turkey that I keep putting off getting for lack of freezer space. It expires on the 31st so I’m planning to get it and cook it on Sunday. Let me know what you’d recommend for the seasoning of this bird!

  2. this works just as well in an oven (for those in places where it’s *not* too hot to use the oven yet) with the chicken over a layer of chunky root veggies

  3. @Stephanie Absolutely, but you must be using a large grill so the bird can cook with indirect heat. This means only turn on one burner and place the bird away from that, if you have a gas fired grill. With a charcoal grill you create your charcoal bed on one half of the grill.

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