Grilled Spatchcock Chicken is a delicious and juicy way to cook chicken. Just follow three simple steps: spatchcock, season, and grill, and you’re on your way to a perfect weeknight dinner.
A spatchcock chicken is a chicken that has had its backbone removed to allow the chicken to lay flat. This means the chicken can be opened up, and it provides a quick way to cook your bird.
If you spatchcock a chicken before you cook it, you will greatly decrease the amount of time it takes to cook. You also have a nice, flat chicken, and your meat will cook more evenly (which means you get juicy legs, thighs, AND breast!).
Whenever I’m short on time and want to ensure my bird comes out cooked thoroughly, I’ll spatchcock it first. Even though it can appear intimidating at first, once you get the hang of it, you’ll be a spatchcocking master!
How to Spatchcock a Chicken
For those of you who are spatchcock veterans, this should be quick work for you. If you’ve never spatchcocked a chicken before, no worries! It’s not as difficult as it seems. Simply follow these steps, and your chicken will be ready for the grill in no time! Remember – all you’re trying to do is cut out the backbone. You’ve got this!
- Cut the bird. Place the bird on a large cutting board, and flip the bird onto its breast with the bottom cavity facing toward you. Using sturdy scissors or kitchen shears, cut a straight line up the right side of the backbone, from the tail end to the neck. You may have to double hand the scissors when you are cutting through a couple of parts, but if your shears are sharp this shouldn’t be too hard.
- Repeat on the other side. Repeat this cut on the other side, from tail to neck going up the left side of the backbone.
- Remove the backbone. Once removed, you can either discard the backbone, or better yet, save it to make some chicken stock!
- Break the breastbone. Flip the chicken back over (breast side is now facing up). Separate the back and press the breast down with the heel of your hand until the chicken is laying nice and flat on your cutting board.
- Tuck and turn. Tuck the tips of the wings behind the shoulder so they don’t burn and turn out the legs so they are even.
Congratulations! You just spatchcocked a chicken! If you want a quick video tutorial for spatchcocking a chicken, head to THIS POST.
Spatchcock Chicken on a Grill
Once you have your chicken spatchcocked, cooking it on a grill, specifically a charcoal grill, makes for a wonderfully flavorful chicken. I like to cook this chicken using two-zone cooking by placing my chicken on the indirect heat on the grill for the initial cook, and then moving it to the direct heat for the final 5-7 minutes.
If you like your birds a little saucy, go ahead and add some sauce while grilling, or have some on the side for dipping (this is my kids’ preferred method of eating this chicken. That way everyone can enjoy their favorite sauce with the juicy chicken!). My favorite sauce for this chicken is my Whiskey Peach BBQ Sauce.
Just remember! If you add sauce while this chicken cooks it will soften the skin. Also, don’t add it until the last 5-10 minutes of cooking, or else the sugars in the sauce will burn.
Spatchcock Chicken Seasoning
This recipe uses my Hey Grill Hey Signature Chicken Seasoning, and it’s available delivered straight to your door from Patio Provisions. I made this seasoning specifically for no-frills chicken just like this. It’s made with a balanced blend of herbs and spices with just a little heat.
If you don’t have some Chicken Seasoning on hand, try out my recipe for my Simple Lemon Herb Chicken Seasoning. It’s another delicious seasoning for chicken, and you likely already have all the ingredients at home! Word of warning: I do not recommend using a sugar-based rub if you want crispy chicken skin. The higher temperature cooking needed to crisp the skin will caramelize the rub too much and you’ll be left with burnt chicken skin.
Also, don’t forget to use olive oil on your chicken before you add your seasoning. The olive oil acts as a binder to help the seasoning stick to the chicken and crisp the skin.
More Spatchcock Chicken and Turkey Recipes
Feeling confident in your new spatchcocking abilities? Don’t stop at chicken only. You can spatchcock a turkey too (and it’ll cook nice and fast for Thanksgiving dinner!) Try your hand at these other spatchcock recipes from Hey Grill Hey!
Grilled Spatchcock Chicken Recipe
Follow the recipe, and I’ll teach you the simple steps to making your own grilled spatchcock chicken at home. Hey Grill Hey is dedicated to help you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero. You can find more of my smoking and grilling recipes and videos on YouTube, Instagram, or our Facebook Page.
Spatchcock Chicken on a Charcoal Grill
- 1 2-3 pound whole fryer chicken
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey Signature Chicken Seasoning
- Preheat grill to two-zone heating to 350 degrees F.
- Spatchcock the kitchen by cutting out the backbone with sharp kitchen shears on both sides of the backbone.
- Drizzle both sides with olive oil.
- Season on both sides with Hey Grill Hey Signature Chicken Seasoning
- Place chicken on indirect heat on the grill and cook for approximately 30-40 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 145 degrees F.
- Transfer chicken to direct heat side of the grill. Skin side down if you want grill mark on the top of chicken. If you would like to keep your chicken intact, place it bone side down.
- Grill on direct heat for 5-7 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 160 degrees F.
- Remove from heat to cutting board or serving platter and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes.