What is spatchcock chicken anyway?
Spatchcock isn’t a type of chicken if that’s what you were thinking. If you’re familiar with spatchcock chicken this might seem funny, but I’ve actually been asked that before. So just to be clear, spatchcock is a way to prepare a chicken. Specifically, it means removing the backbone from a whole chicken which provides a number of benefits when grilling.
The benefits of spatchcock chicken
There are a number of benefits to using the spatchcock technique. First, your chicken will cook more evenly when it’s laid flat on your grill. When compared to a whole chicken, it will cook faster as well. Aside from that, the presentation looks amazing. What’s most important to me, however, is how crispy the skin can get using this technique. That’s just due to how close you can get the entire surface of the chicken when you grill skin side down over to the hot coals.
Is it hard to spatchcock a chicken?
Absolutely not. Check out my video below which shows how easy it is to spatchcock your chicken. There’s really not much to it, but I do recommend this type of poultry sheers. You can use whatever kitchen scissors you have, or even a sharp knife, I just find it easiest with the plier type sheers because they don’t hurt your thumb like regular kitchen shears do.
Tips for grilling spatchcock chicken:
- Save the spine you cut out and freeze it. When you have 5 or 6 of these, they’re great to make chicken stock from.
- If you like extra crispy skin, cook the chicken over indirect heat till almost finished, then place the chicken skin side down directly over the coals to finish it off.
- The sky is the limit for seasoning. Today we’re doing rosemary salt but feel free to use your favorite rub. Just remember if your rub contains sugar it may burn when placed directly over the coals.
- Check your internal temperature at both the breast and the thigh to ensure it’s safe to eat.
- This chicken is a great leftover because it’s so juicy. Chicken tends to be a bit dry so reheating it is a challenge, but I use it all the time in my smoked chicken enchiladas and it’s perfect.
- Invest in a reliable instant-read thermometer or leave-in thermometer, they’re a must for nearly all things grilling.
Now that we have all the talking out of the way, let’s start grilling. Don’t forget to tag me on social media when you try this recipe!
Spatchcock Rosemary Grilled Chicken
Serves: 4 | Active Prep Time: 10 min | Cooking Time: 35 min
How to Make Spatchcock Rosemary Grilled Chicken, Step-by-Step
Step 1: Light your grill and set it up for two-zone cooking. Using a reliable thermometer set your grill temperature to 385°F.
Step 2: Remove the spine from your chicken and place it skin side down on your cutting board. Using a basting brush, evenly coat the inside of the chicken with olive oil and liberally sprinkle with rosemary salt.
Step 3: Flip chicken over and repeat skin side up.
Step 4: Place leave-in thermometer in the thickest portion of the thigh and put your chicken on your grill over indirect heat, facing the legs closest to the heat. For some added flavor, try adding a pecan wood chunk to the hot coals. Close lid on your grill.
Step 5: When the internal temperature reaches 160° F in the thigh, the chicken is ready to come off the grill.
Step 6: Allow chicken to rest for around 10 minutes, carryover cooking will bring the final temperature of the chicken to 165° internal which is what the USDA recommends for dark meat chicken.
Step 7: Drizzle with chimichurri if desired, carve, and serve.
Make Spatchcock Rosemary Grilled Chicken:
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- 1 whole chicken 3-4 lbs
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp rosemary salt
- 1 cup chimichurri (optional)
- Light your grill and set it up for two-zone cooking. Using a reliable thermometer set your grill temperature to 385°F.
- Remove the spine from your chicken and place it skin side down on your cutting board. Using a basting brush, evenly coat the inside of the chicken with olive oil and liberally sprinkle with rosemary salt.
- Flip chicken over and repeat, skin side up.
- Place leave in thermometer in the thickest portion of the thigh and put your chicken on your grill over indirect heat, facing the legs closest to the heat. Close lid on your grill.
- When internal temperature reaches 160°F in the thigh, the chicken is ready to some off the grill.
- Allow chicken to rest for around 10 minutes, carryover cooking will bring the final temperature of the chicken to 165°F internal which is what the USDA recommends for dark meat chicken.
- Drizzle with chimichurri if desired, carve and serve.