I know spatchcock is a crazy sounding word, but it is a pretty easy and effective way to get an evenly cooked and delicious whole chicken in about half the time that it would normally take. Often, when cooking a whole chicken, the breast meat will be done before the rest of the chicken, and it will end up drying out. This method eliminates that problem! I have included the recipe for my Grilled Spatchcock Chicken below, as well as a video explaining the method.
To spatchcock a chicken, you simply cut out the backbone using a pair of kitchen shears, and then cut into the chicken a little to cause it to lay flat. I also like to place a heavy object on top of the chicken when it is grilling to ensure even heat exposure. I like to use a cast iron skillet like this one, but you could also used a couple bricks wrapped in foil. This method can also be done in the oven, but you may need to alter your cooking times.
Grilled Spatchcock Chicken
- Something heavy (I used a cast-iron skillet)
- Kitchen shears
- 4 lb whole chicken
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 lemons juiced
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1½ tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- To spatchcock the chicken, place the chicken breast side down on a cutting board. Find the backbone, and using a pair of kitchen shears cut along each side of the backbone to cut it out completely. You will have to cut through the ribs to do this. Use a large knife to cut into the sternum slightly to flatten the chicken out. (I have attached a video in the post above.)
- In a small bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients and whisk together. Place the chicken in a large dish and rub it on both sides with the oil mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
- When you are ready to grill the chicken, turn all of your grill burners on medium-high and allow them to heat up. After the grill is heated, turn the burners on one side of your grill off. If you have a 2 burner grill turn one off. If you have a 3 burner grill, turn one off. If you have a 4 burner grill, turn 2 off. Place the chicken breast side down on the side of the grill with the burners OFF. Place something heavy on top of the chicken. I used a cast iron skillet. You could use a couple bricks wrapped in foil. Close the grill and allow the chicken to cook for 20 minutes.
- Flip the chicken over, place the heavy object back on top and cook for approximately 20 minutes longer.
- Flip the chicken over once more (breast side down) and place it on the side of the grill with the burner ON. Allow the chicken to grill until the skin has become crisp.
- Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before carving.