Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken is the best way to grill a whole chicken! Crispy skin, juicy inside and cooked perfectly! So much quicker too!
I first published this Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken back in 2009. I've since then made it hundreds of times, but apparently never came back and updated photos (you don't want to see the originals) or the text or added a recipe card.
I am back today to right that wrong, because if there is one thing you need in your life, it's this.
I actually have 3 spatchcocked chicken posts on my blog, back before I knew not to just keep calling something the same thing over and over again.
So, I'm going to go back and update them in the next couple of weeks and have one smoked version and one oven roasted version. Stay tuned for updates.
For those of you that don't know, spatchcocked chicken is split or butterflied chicken. But it's much more fun to use the older term, spatchcocked, don't you think?
It provides a much more even surface for the grill and allows a whole chicken to grill in about 30 minutes.
For garlic rosemary rub:
- Olive oil
- Garlic Cloves
- Kosher Salt
- Fresh Rosemary
Expert Tip - note you don't have to use my rosemary rub, but it does had a lovely flavor. If not using the rub, if you can try to salt the chicken ahead of time.
Chicken - whole 3-4 pound chicken.
Rosemary garlic rub
Prepare the rosemary garlic rub.
Mince the garlic and the rosemary.
Combine the garlic, rosemary, kosher salt and oil in a small bowl.
How to spatchcock a chicken.
Begin by laying the chicken breast side down on a cutting board. I have my cutting board covered with a plastic mat that I only use for raw meat.
Using kitchen shears cut up on side of the backbone. I find it easier to start at the bottom.
Once one side is cut, I like to turn the chicken around to cut up the other side of the backbone.
Set the backbone aside (I store mine in a bag in the freezer until I have enough chicken bones to make Homemade Chicken Stock.)
Turn the chicken over and press firmly on the chest until the chicken is flattened.
Use my rosemary rub, or your favorite rub, or simply season the chicken with salt.
If you have time, place it in a dish and refrigerate it for 4-24 hours.
Grilling the chicken.
Note - I use a gas grill and these instructions are for a gas grill.
If you refrigerated the chicken, remove it from the fridge and bring to room temperature - I bring mine out about 45 minutes to an hour before I am ready to grill.
Preheat the grill to high for 15 minutes. Use a grill brush to clean the grates of the grill. Rub a paper towel dipped in oil over the grates.
Reduce the heat to medium and place the chicken on the grill skin side down.
After 15 minutes, flip the chicken. I use gloves, which you'll see in the last set of photos. So much easier than tongs (link will be in the recipe card.)
Note - I had a few flare ups and had to move the chicken around a bit. You can see that the one side got a little bit darker than the other.
After 15 minutes check the temperature of the chicken using an instant read thermometer in the thigh. The chicken is done at 165 degrees. Mine took about 5 more minutes after my first check.
So, total time on the second side was 20 minutes.
Remove from the grill (see those gloves!) and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Well, have I convinced you that you need to try grilling a butterflied chicken! It's so easy and the bird cooks so evenly.
Use your favorite rub or marinade, but honestly even just plain chicken salted is amazing.
More grilled chicken recipes
What to serve with grilled chicken
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Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken
Rosemary Garlic Rub
- 4 chicken whole chicken 3-4 pound
Prepare the Garlic Rosemary Rub
- Mix the garlic, rosemary, salt and olive oil in a small bowl.
- Place the chicken breast side down on a cutting board.
- Using kitchen shears cut up one side of the backbone and then other to remove the backbone.
- Turn the chicken over and press firmly on the breast to flatten the chicken.
Prepare and Grill the Chicken
- Rub the chicken on both sides with the rub and if time permits, place in the fridge for 4 to 24 hours.
- Remove the chicken from the fridge about 30-45 minutes before you are ready to grill.
- Preheat grill to high heat for 15 minutes. Then clean grates with a brush.
- Turn heat to medium and oil the grill grates.
- Place chicken skin side down and grill for 15 minutes. If flare ups occur, move the chicken around.
- Turn the chicken over and grill for 15 more minutes. Check with an instant read thermometer in the biggest part of the thigh. Grill until temperature reaches 165.
- Remove from the grill and let rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.
This post was originally published in 2009 and has been updated for 2020.