Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken

March 17th, 2011

Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken

What the heck is a spatchcock?  That was the first question I had when I saw this technique described on my favorite go-to grilling blog, Another Pint Please. Spatchcocking means, basically, cutting the backbone out of a whole chicken so that it can be grilled flat. Simple enough idea for such an odd word.  The result is a tasty, juicy bird with crisp skin in about half the time it takes to roast one in the oven. (Not that there is anything wrong with that!)

You just sort of cut right along the sides of the backbone… poultry shears are highly recommended. I borrowed a pair of super shears to get this grisly job done.

Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken

And then dispatch the spine.  What a lame joke!  Alfred Spatchcock!  I’m done.

Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken

Then crunch the whole thing down flat. I used a couple of skewers to keep it nice and sturdy on the grill. I also slathered the chicken with thyme, tarragon, salt, pepper and olive oil. Then, on to the preheated grill. Direct medium heat on both sides for 10 minutes each, followed by indirect medium for 25 minutes or so.

Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken

I happened to have the same vegetables on hand that Mike suggested as a side and so I grilled them up as well. Asparagus spears tossed in extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper were a perfect side to this delicious chicken and only take a few minutes on the grill.

Making a honey glaze for grilled carrots is simple. In a saucepan, mix 2 tsp cornstarch with 1/2 cup of orange juice. Heat over medium heat and whisk in 2 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp honey until thickened. Brush over whole carrots on the grill as they are starting to become tender (10-15 minutes).

Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken

Ingredients
  • 1 whole chicken
  • a few springs of thyme
  • tarragon
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Preparation
  1. Preheat and clean an outdoor grill and then set to medium heat.
  2. Dry the chicken thoroughly (wet meat doesn’t sear or crisp, it steams) and cut along the backbone until you are all the way through and the chicken is opened up.  Cut along the other side of the backbone to remove it completely.
  3. Flip chicken over and press down to flatten.
  4. Rub with thyme, tarragon, salt, pepper and a light coating of olive oil.
  5. Place chicken skin side down on grill over direct medium heat for 10 minutes.  Flip chicken over so that the bone side is down and cook another 10 minutes.  Move to indirect heat (or turn off the gas burner directly below the chicken) and cook with the grill closed for 25-30 minutes or until juices run clear.
Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken
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“Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans ... are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit.”
~ Anthony Bourdain