Grilled Spatchcock Chicken

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  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Entrée
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: American


Spatchcocking or butterflying a chicken before grilling helps it to cook evenly creating a juicy, perfectly done chicken. The presentation is pretty impressive too.


  • 1 (4 to 5 lb.) whole chicken
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper


  1. Preheat the grill to medium heat (350˚F).
  2. Remove chicken from packaging and remove giblets from body cavity and/or neck.
  3. Rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Lay the chicken on working surface breast-side-down. Locate the backbone. Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut along one side of the backbone (you’ll be going through some little ribs so press hard to cut). Repeat on the other side of the backbone. Discard the backbone or save it for making stock. Turn the chicken over and press on the center of the breast to flatten it. Tuck the wings under the body by grabbing the wing tip, pulling it toward the neck cavity, and tucking it under the body to secure.
  5. Massage olive oil over the breast, legs, and wings of the chicken.
  6. Season with salt and pepper making sure that the legs and wings are seasoned.
  7. Place breast-side up on a grill that has been preheated to 350˚F.
  8. Cook for 45 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, without touching the bone, reads 165˚F. If you are particularly skilled at turning chicken and not getting the skin-stick, you can start breast-side down for the first 15 minutes of cooking and then turn and finishing the last 30 minutes breast-side up. See note below for indirect heat instructions and placement of chicken.
  9. Transfer to a cutting board and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.


Prepping the Grill for Indirect Heat:

Three Burner Gas Grill – turn the left and right burners to medium and ignite. Leave the center burner off. Place the drip pan over the non-lit burner under the grate. You’ll place the chicken in the center over the non-lit burner

Four Burner Gas Grill – turn the two left burners to medium and ignite. Leave the two right burners off. Place the drip pan over the non-lit burners under the grate. You’ll place the chicken in the center of the two burners that are off.

Charcoal Grill – light the charcoal using a chimney lighter. Pour the charcoal out of the chimney and push over to one side of the grill. Leave the other side free of coals. Place the drip pan on the non-charcoal side under the grate. You’ll place the chicken on the side of the grill with no charcoal.