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May 29, 2010

Aromatic Whole Grilled Chicken

By Worker Bee
75 Comments

As spring in our part of the world finally gives way to summer, cooks start their migration outdoors, turning off ovens and firing up grills. But saying goodbye to your oven for the summer doesn’t have to mean saying goodbye to slowly roasted, succulent meat. As reader Rich Freund has pointed out when submitting the following recipe, meals like whole roasted chicken are just as good, if not better, when cooked on a grill. The trick lies in a culinary technique with an extremely technical term.

Ladies and Gentleman, let us introduce you to spatchcocking.

We swear we did not make that term up. Neither did Rich, although he has perfected the technique on his own backyard barbecue. Spatchcocking involves slicing the bird down the backside to remove the backbone before cooking. This makes a chicken more flexible so you can flatten the bird out, insuring that all parts cook evenly. Removing the backbone can be done with a sharp knife, but is easiest with kitchen shears. Some cooks take spatchcocking one step further by also breaking the wishbone (clearly visible once you remove the backbone) and then cutting out the keel bone, which is the dark breastbone in the middle of the chicken. You can watch a tutorial on how to remove the keel bone, but to be honest, we don’t think it’s entirely necessary. Rich’s chicken always cooks evenly when he only removes the backbone and so did ours, so why bother with an extra step?

A spatchcocked (that word is embarrassingly fun to say) chicken can be seasoned or marinated any way you like, but you’re definitely going to want to give Rich’s dry rub a try. More aromatic than spicy, his blend of salt, pepper, sweet paprika, chili powder, garlic and turmeric brings deep color and flavor to the bird. The skin on this grilled chicken, layered with flavors from all the spices and cooked to crispy perfection, just might be our favorite part. Although the incredibly moist meat was a revelation, too. Who knew grilled chicken – even the breast meat –  could be so moist?

Spatchcocking the bird (we couldn’t resist saying it one last time) is largely responsible for this, but keeping the grill at a steady heat without any flare-ups is important too. Most grills have a temperature gauge, and you’ll want to keep it between 325-375 degrees Fahrenheit. Rich cooks his chicken over white-hot lump charcoal on the barbecue (sometimes with smoke chips) and roasts the bird near the fire, not right on top of it.  We cook our chicken on a gas grill, lowering the heat when needed and moving the chicken away from direct flames, with equal success. The last thing to remember is that the bird should be turned every 15 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees.  Flipping the bird will help the chicken cook evenly and prevent burning. As Rich says, “the challenge is to get the outside nice and crispy!”

A 3-4 pound chicken should take just over an hour, which gives you plenty of time to relax outside with friends in the great outdoors while your chicken roasts to juicy perfection on the grill.

Rich’s Whole Grilled Chicken (submitted for the Primal Blueprint Reader-Created Cookbook Contest)

Ingredients:


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground pepper (try a mix of white and black)
  • 1-2 tablespoons smoked sweet paprika (or just sweet paprika if you can’t find the smoked variety)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder or dried minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

Instructions:

Get the grill started first, so it comes up to at least 325 degrees Fahrenheit before you put the bird on.

Mix the dry ingredients together and set the rub aside.

Set the chicken breast-side down and remove anything that’s inside the cavity. Using a sharp knife or kitchen shears, cut down each side of the backbone to remove it.

The backbone runs right down the middle of the chicken. When the backbone is removed, the chicken will fold open.

Rub the bird with olive oil then rub the spice mix generously all over the bird.

Cook the chicken with the grill lid on, checking and turning the bird every 15 minutes. Watch out for flare-ups and try to avoid letting the chicken comes in direct contact with flames. Cook until an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit is reached.


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75 Comments on "Aromatic Whole Grilled Chicken"

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Organic Gabe
6 years 4 months ago

That looks delicious!

Willow
Willow
6 years 4 months ago

This sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing. I had never heard of “spatchcocking”. Now I feel so smart, having learning a new big word today! Have a nice weekend Mark!

Anna
6 years 4 months ago

I love to make spatchcocked chicken (& other birds) on the grill or in the oven. If roasting in an oven, place the bird on a flat cooking rack set in a shallow sheet pan. I don’t bother turning it when roasting in the oven.

Spatchcocked chicken provides more of that nicely browned and crispy skin, too, and the presentation is quite nice on a large platter. It’s also easy to quickly cut the bird into serving pieces, right at the table, without mangling the bird. All-on-all, it’s a great technique!

j b
j b
3 years 7 months ago

what oven/internal chicken temp and for how long?

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[…] Original post by Worker Bee […]

Aaron Blaisdell
Aaron Blaisdell
6 years 4 months ago

This post kills two birds with one stone, so to speak. Getting rid of that pesky backbone greatly improves joint mobility and leads to a nice cooking technique.

PJ
PJ
6 years 4 months ago

THREE birds — the removed back makes a great foundation for stock.

Grol
Grol
6 years 4 months ago

I use tin snips as kitchen sheers — thank you Alton Brown.

Rich Huntley RH Martial Fitness

This is a good one… i will have to give it a whirl sometime : )

Scott
Scott
6 years 4 months ago

We spatchcocked our last Thanksgiving turkey … made for the best turkey I’ve ever had. My wife has been doing almost every whole bird the same way ever since, makes for a nice, evenly cooked bird, with LOTS of deliciously crispy skin.

Pootzen
Pootzen
6 years 4 months ago

Yum! I’m buying a gas grill in order to make this…

Carl Dyer
Carl Dyer
6 years 4 months ago

This looks awesome. I’m going to make this tonight.

Wakka
Wakka
6 years 4 months ago

Great looking recipe and chicken backs make amazing broth so you might wanna freeze it for later. Unless I guess you don’t want your freezer to turn into the unlabeled horror show mine looks like at the moment.

Kitty
Kitty
6 years 3 months ago

the way to avoid lost chicken parts in the freezer is to take a quart sized freezer bag, label it chicken parts for broth, then start adding the parts. when full, you can start a new bag and use the old one.

Primal Toad
6 years 4 months ago

I have never heard of spatchooking before but it is for sure a term I will be using quite often this summer. Thanks for the recipe! About to print and will use next week 🙂

Primal Toad
6 years 4 months ago

I meant spatchcocking! I messed that up twice on my facebook….

Andrew
6 years 4 months ago

Two spatchcocked birds on the grill now…

Tiffany
6 years 4 months ago

Looks delicious! I’ll add this to my menu for next week =D

Dusty
Dusty
6 years 4 months ago

I wonder if removing my backbone would make me more flexible…Naw, I think my problem is in the hip bone…

wocko
wocko
6 years 4 months ago

Oh wow! Just made this for the family exactly as described. My wife commented that it was better than any type of gourmet BBQ chicken she has bought from a specialty store. Kudos to the submitter!

nathan
6 years 4 months ago

That’s funny. I have made chicken like that twice in the last two weeks. I cut out the spine with shears and then rip the breastbone out with my teeth, or a knife. I use a Turkish Grilled Chicken recipe of cinnamon, tumeric, salt, and paprika.

You can use a George Foreman grill too, it is actually better if grease fires are a problem on your BBQ.

Silviu
6 years 4 months ago

You should try having a brick wrapped in foil on top of the chicken while grilling,it makes it even better.

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[…] Aromatic Whole Grilled Chicken | Mark's Daily Apple […]

Michelle
Michelle
6 years 4 months ago

Ok, I have to say it because I’m still mentally thirteen- something is really quite amusing in a Beevis & Butthead kind of way about dry rubbing a spatchcock…

Charlie Golf
Charlie Golf
6 years 4 months ago

I have been looking for a good tutorial on spatchcocking for a while. Thanks for the awesome link Mark!

This came just in time. We are doing a impromptu pre-Memorial Day grill-n-smoke and my contribution is last season’s harvested ducks with the rub from this recipe. Smoking of hickory now!

Jeff
Jeff
6 years 4 months ago

Fixed a 1/2 dozen chicken thighs this way last nite. They were great! Cooked them for 40 minutes 10 minutes a side (twice) and they are a keeper. Thanks for this one.

Jeff H.

Julie Aguiar
Julie Aguiar
6 years 4 months ago

Butterflying a whole bird (of any sort) is really the only way to go if you enjoy moist breast AND dark meat. Otherwise the dark stays moist and the breast turns to sawdust….But this is fabulous! Cheers!

Buzz Chop
Buzz Chop
6 years 4 months ago

Spatchcocking?!? Haha! Who knew? We’ve been cooking our birds this way for years, over indirect heat on a charcoal Weber. Delicious! Thanks for the new word of the day ^_^

Karl MacPhee
6 years 3 months ago

Made this tonight for the first time. It was easy and the taste was incredible. Can’t believe that I used to cook/eat chicken without the skin!

You have to try it.

Kristin J
Kristin J
6 years 3 months ago

This was the absolute best chicken I have ever made. Definitely among the top 5 chicken I have ever eaten. I didn’t have any turmeric, so I made up a spice rub. It turned out so good that I couldn’t believe I had cooked it. This technique is simple yet incredibly effective. Go try it!!

Lars1000
6 years 3 months ago

Making it tonight! Can’t wait.

melissa crosby
melissa crosby
6 years 3 months ago

and no one commented about you saying “flipping the bird!”

Have to try spatchcocking…I think that flipping a turkey(hey, a new cuss phrase??) would be difficult though. oven would be much easier.

Paramjit
6 years 3 months ago

Spatchcocking! Those last 2 pictures look awesome. That bird really looks tasty. Thank you for the elaborate write-up.

Cherie
Cherie
6 years 3 months ago

I am lazy….I had the butcher do it. I used the same rub I use for pork (I make up a lot of it at a time and keep it in the freezer). The chicken is awesome!

NB
NB
6 years 3 months ago

My local butcher, Carlo’s in East Lyme CT, prepares these chickens and I have been loving them for months!

We grill them and serve with a big salad!

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[…] sliced them rather thin and pan roasted them in our wok with excellent results. We served ours with Mark’s Aromatic Whole Grilled Chicken. A great […]

susteph
susteph
6 years 3 months ago

wow, i made these for company yesterday partly (ok, mainly) because i really liked the word “spatchcocking.” we got our first distribution from a poultry csa and invited over 6 friends. i did two chickens. the first one didn’t come out looking quite right, but the 2nd one looked just like the pictures. fun, easy, and delicious. what’s not to like?

Danny
Danny
6 years 3 months ago

Cooked this yesterday, AWESOME!!!

CarolineK
CarolineK
6 years 3 months ago

Just made this – is incredibly good! Will be making this at least weekly! My only recommended change, is to decrease the salt, and do it w/a bigger chicken – this one went way too fast!

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6 years 3 months ago

[…] 14, 2010 by The Foodee Aromatic frilled chicken marks daily […]

Kate
6 years 3 months ago

Superb and delicious. I made one addition to the dry rub – some corriander powder.

Claudia
6 years 3 months ago

This chicken was succulent and delicious, I’ve now made it impromptu on two occasions at BBQ’s and its been the star of the table. You can really improvise with whatever dry spices you have available. at the last one I didn’t have turmeric but substituted tandoori spice.
For a Sth American feel use (cumin, oregano, garlic, paprika, chilli, salt and pepper) these are the stables of any Chilean BBQ rub. Enjoy your tasty birds!

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[…] come pouring in for the Primal Blueprint Reader-Created Cookbook contest, we’ve boiled chicken, grilled chicken, baked chicken and now, finally, we’re frying chicken. Jeanne Chun supplied the recipe for the […]

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[…] Aromatic Whole Grilled Chicken Chicken Curry Clafouti Sesame Chicken and “Rice” with Fiery Ginger and Chile Sauce Crispy Nut and Herb Fried Chicken with Creamy Avocado Spicy Chicken and Bacon Poppers Butter Chicken in a Silky Sauce […]

Maura
Maura
6 years 2 months ago

Do a search on “brick chicken” for instructions on how to cook a spatchcocked chicken using a foil-wrapped brick as a weight to really get the skin crispy.

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[…] planning to try this method – still basically whole, but helps the chicken cook a bit faster. Aromatic Whole Grilled Chicken | Mark's Daily Apple __________________ S, mama to A and E ***MY ISO*** My […]

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[…] flesh. You’ve got your prime rib, your salmon, your rack of lamb, your steak, or your roasted chicken, and I highly doubt any of my readers would object to any of those dishes. Sides generally include […]

Fred Mathieu
Fred Mathieu
6 years 2 months ago

I tried this today. We got a winner! Even the kids loved it.

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[…] Aromatic Whole Grilled Chicken […]

NourishedMom
NourishedMom
6 years 26 days ago

Raw backbone is good for dogs, along with veggies and whole eggs, etc

Grace
Grace
6 years 12 days ago

This was FANTASTIC. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Dogs got the raw back and they shared the offal with the cat.

David Grim - Get Fit Get Lean
5 years 11 months ago

I’ve made this several times and I love it. It is my favorite way to cook chicken.

David

Meredith
5 years 8 months ago

Agreed. This recipe is incredibly tasty.
I am lazy though, so we cooked it on a rotisserie instead of spatchcocking (insert giggle here). I know, not getting to say that takes away half the fun – but it doesn’t remove any of the yumminess!

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