Grilled Spatchcock Chicken

Grilled Spatchcock Chicken makes preparing a whole chicken easy. No frills. Just juicy, flavorful chicken with charred, crispy skin. It’s a great, healthy option for a weeknight, weekend, or special gathering. No one will ever know how freaking easy this was. 

A spatchcock chicken is a chicken that has been butterflied—which means it is split by removing the backbone and then flattened. Butterflying chicken allows the chicken to cook faster and more evenly. Spatcocking your chicken retains the flavor and keeps the chicken moist.

A grilled spatchcock chicken plated and waiting to be carved and served.

Why KJ Loves Grilled Spatchcock Chicken

I love the naturally smokey and char-grilled flavors of grilled chicken and this recipe is just that! Grilling a spatchcock (butterflied) chicken is one of the easiest ways to grill a whole chicken with getting it all cooked evenly. No raw chicken worries over here! Make it even easier by asking the butcher to spatchcock your chicken for you so that you don’t have to do it at home. That way, you can just throw the chicken on the grill and get to cookin’!

A spatchcock chicken waiting to be rubbed with seasonings and fresh herbs.

How to Butterfly a Chicken

A spatchcock chicken is a whole chicken that has been butterflied by removing the backbone. All you need is a sharp pair of kitchen scissors. Here’s how it works: 

  1. Unwrap the whole chicken. Pat it dry with your partner’s bath towel (JUST KIDDING…use a paper towel) and place on a cutting board.  
  2. Flip the chicken over with the back-side up and the breast side down. Run your finger down the middle of the chicken to locate the backbone. 
  3. Using a pair of sharp kitchen scissors, cut along both sides of the backbone, removing it completely. Discard the backbone or use it to make homemade chicken stock if you’re a go-getter.  

That’s it. Really.

Make it Easier

Outsource the spatchcocking.

Still overwhelmed by the idea of butterflying your own chicken? Most meat counters and butchers will do it for you if you ask pretty please.

A seasoned spatchcocked chicken waiting to be grilled.

How to Grill Spatchcocked Chicken

In order to bring this Grilled Spatchcock Chicken to life, zone grilling is your best friend! What is zone grilling, you ask? Great question! Essentially, all zone grilling is having one side of the grill being hot and the other side of the grill being a “cool” zone. 

Zone grilling allows the whole chicken to cook over the “cool” or “off” zone, all while the hot part of the grill heats the whole entire grill like an oven. This grilling method also keeps the chicken from burning and flaring up since chicken fat is, well, fatty! Once the chicken reaches the right temperature, it’s flipped over onto the “hot” zone to get a nice, crispy char on the skin. 

If you’re using a gas grill, you’ll want to start the chicken on low heat or “cool/off” zone until it reaches 165°F. Then, flip it over to the high heat to get the skin crispy. 

If you’re using a charcoal grill, start the chicken on the cooler side of the grill. Cook until the chicken reaches 165°F. Then, move the chicken to the hot side to get the skin nice and crispy

A spatchcocked chicken on the grill.

Tips & Tricks

Finish in the oven.

If your grill flames up or you’re worried about getting the chicken to the right internal temperature, there’s no shame in finishing the chicken off in the oven. You’ll still get the crispy, smoky grill taste that makes this spatchcock chicken recipe so great. Simply cover with foil in a roasting pan and let the oven do the rest of the work for you if need be. 

Outsource the spatchcocking.

Still overwhelmed by the idea of butterflying your own chicken? Most meat counters and butchers will do it for you if you ask pretty please. 

Use dry herbs

If you’re short on time or forgot the herbs at the supermarket, you can use dry herbs instead. They’re more intense than fresh herbs, so you’ll only want to use one teaspoon of each.

An over-head shot of a grilled spatchcock chicken on a platter.

FAQ

Do you flip a spatchcock chicken on the grill?

It’s important to flip your spatchcock chicken on the grill so it cooks evenly and chars on both sides. Use a good pair of tongs or even this large spatula that’s so worth it!

How long does it take to cook a butterflied chicken on the grill?

Your chicken will cook differently depending on your grill, temperature and size of your chicken. Always check the temperature with a thermometer to ensure all parts of the chicken are at least 165°F. It can take anywhere from 40 – 60 minutes. 

How long does a spatchcock take on BBQ?

This recipe takes about an hour, from start to finish. 

Which side of a spatchcock chicken goes down?

You will need to grill the chicken on both sides, but when you serve it, the underside of the chicken should lay flat on your serving platter. I like to start the chicken breast and skin side up to cook the majority of the time on the “cool” zone, then flip it over to the hot zone to get the skin extra crispy. 

A close-up photo of a grilled spatchcock chicken.
A platter of carved grilled spatchcock chicken.

Looking for other Chicken Recipes? Check these out!

Chipotle BBQ Pulled Chicken

Chicken Salad

Apricot Baked Chicken

 

Print

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A grilled spatchcock chicken plated and waiting to be carved and served.

Grilled Spatchcock Chicken


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  • Author: KJ & Company - Kate Poskochil
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x

Description

Grilled Spatchcock Chicken makes preparing a whole chicken easy. No frills. Just juicy, flavorful chicken with charred, crispy skin. It’s a great, healthy option for a weeknight, weekend, or special gathering. No one will ever know how freaking easy this was. 

A spatchcock chicken is a chicken that has been butterflied—which means it is split by removing the backbone and then flattened. Butterflying chicken allows the chicken to cook faster and more evenly. Spatcocking your chicken retains the flavor and keeps the chicken moist.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 1/24 pound chicken, spatchcocked (butterflied)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat your grill to 450-500 degrees using the zone grilling method, meaning one half of the grill will be on high heat and the other half of the grill will be off or a “cool” zone.
  2. Pat the skin of the chicken dry. Rub both sides of the chicken with the olive oil, then evenly season with the fresh herbs and seasoned salt.
  3. Place the chicken breast and skin side up on the “cool” zone of the grill. Allow the chicken to cook for 30-45 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 165 degrees. Rotate the chicken one or two times during this process to insure even cooking.
  4. Then, carefully flip the chicken over onto the hot zone of the grill to char the skin and get those wonderful grill marks, about a few minutes. Carefully remove the chicken from the grill so as to not tear the charred skin. Flip over onto a plate or platter to served breast and grilled skin side up.
  5. Allow the chicken to rest for several minutes before carving and serving. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Have your butcher spatchcock the chicken for you to save you time and make this recipe even more hassle-free!
  • If using dried herbs instead of fresh, use 1 teaspoon of each.
  • Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the chicken and how hot your grill cooks.
  • Nutritional information for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Grilling

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 323
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Fat: 23.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 0.6g
  • Fiber: 0.4g
  • Protein: 26.7g

Keywords: Grilled Spatchcock Chicken

A close-up photo of a carved, grilled spatchcock chicken.

Share the love!

If you make this recipe and love it as much as I do, I’d love to hear from you! Comment below, rate the recipe, or share a picture tagging @kjandcompany or using #kjandcompany so that I can see your fun pictures 🙂

Thanks for following and cooking along with me!

 

Affiliate Links

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that KJ & Company would receive a small commission if anything is purchased. Thank you for supporting KJ & Company in all the ways that you do!

Recipe originally posted on September 10, 2018 – updated on June 20, 2022.

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