It’s a beautiful day, so turn on the grill! This is one of the juiciest, smokiest chickens we have ever made, and you will NOT regret taking the time to hone your butchering skills to prepare this bird.
Spatchcocking a chicken serves the purpose of allowing all of the chicken parts to be on a level playing field. That means you will get more even, quicker cooking that allows for maximum juiciness. You can Google plenty of videos that will demonstrate exactly how to do this, but I’m going to give you an even simpler step-by-step guide:
- Acquire a whole chicken.
- Remove the guts from the inside of the chicken and discard (or keep to do with them what you will).
- Place the chicken on a sturdy cutting board breast side down.
- Feel for the thick backbone with your fingers. Once you’ve found it, use kitchen shears (or industrial strength scissors) to make an incision along each side of the bone (go right through the ribs, really get in there and work it!). Remove the backbone, using a butcher knife to separate any lose ends at the top of the bone. Save the backbone to make stock later!
- Turn the bird over so it is breast side up, and use both hands in a Heimlich maneuver fashion to press down on it hard to flatten it out.
Whole bird before the butchery:
Here’s the bird after the backbone has been removed and he has been flattened.
Once you have all of that out of the way, you butter him up, and pile on lots of herbs and garlic! (I have also used this method to prep a turkey for oven roasting, and OMG it was incredible. So yes, you have the option of putting your bird on a rack on top of a bunch of veggies on a tray and sticking it in the oven instead)
…but we grilled it. Look at that color!!!
Check out that juice factor:
You can adapt this recipe to flavor the chicken however you’d like.
After spatchcocking the chicken, I buttered it liberally, then I rubbed it down with salt, pepper, and a mixture of 1 tbs each of fresh minced parsley, chives, rosemary, thyme, and garlic (inside and out). Skewer the flattened chicken (horizontally through the wings and horizontally through the thighs). Grill the chicken breast side down for about 15 minutes, then flip it and grill it breast side up for 20-25 minutes more, checking regularly. The thickest part of the thigh should reach 165 degrees to indicate doneness. Depending on the size of your bird, cooking times may vary. Also, as J was grilling the bird, he occasionally basted it with a mixture of melted butter and some leftover minced herbs and garlic. Enjoy!