Step-by-step instructions for making a Grilled and Butterflied Whole Chicken with Barbecue Sauce (also known as a Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken).
One of my favorite dinners to make for my family is oven roasted whole chicken. But, this is Las Vegas, and in the summer, turning on my oven is the last thing I want to do. I avoid it as much as possible.
My solution for enjoying inexpensive whole chickens in the summer is throwing them on the grill. And I don’t mean cutting them up and grilling the individual pieces — I grill spatchcocked (or butterflied) chicken. Okay, okay…I don’t actually grill it, my husband does. Must give credit where credit is due. But I get it ready and that accounts for something, right?
What is a butterflied or spatchcocked chicken? It means cutting the backbone out of a whole chicken so it can be pressed flat. And it’s very simple to do. And I’ll show you how.
For this recipe, we’ll be brushing our butterflied chicken with barbecue sauce. I used our favorite homemade Sweet & Spicy Barbecue Sauce, but feel free to use your favorite barbecue sauce recipe or a bottled BBQ sauce.
Now, here’s how to make a grilled butterflied whole chicken. First, get your whole chicken…
Open the packaging and remove the liver, gizzard, neck, etc (whatever you find) from the inside cavity of the chicken. Give the outside and inside a rinse with cold water. Place the chicken on a cutting board.
Turn the chicken over so the breast side is laying down on your cutting board, but the back of the chicken is facing up. Using kitchen shears, cut along the backbone of the chicken. Cut one side and then the other side. This can also be done with a knife, but I find the shears to be the easiest way to do this. I usually give it another rinse with water after I remove the backbone.
Set the backbone aside and now you will be to flatten the chicken. I find it helpful to cut a bit at the top of the breastbone with a sharp knife to help the chicken lay more flat.
Turn your chicken over, rub with some olive oil, and season with some salt (and pepper, if you like) and it should look something like this:
You start by grilling your chicken breast side down until you develop a nice char and grill marks on the skin. If your chicken needs help laying flat, you can lay a large cast iron skillet on top of the chicken, or even a brick covered in foil works well too.
Once that is done, you carefully flip the chicken over to continue the cooking. You’ll grill it until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 155 degrees F.
Once it reaches 155 degrees F, brush with barbecue sauce. If you would like barbecue sauce on the underside too, carefully flip your chicken over and brush the other side, and then flip it back over and remove from the grill.
TIP: When I am flipping and/or removing the chicken from the grill, I do it mostly with a large BBQ spatula and with the help of a pair of BBQ tongs.
Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes. Then, cut it into pieces. I like to cut it into 6 servings: 2 leg quarters (the leg and thigh together), the 2 wings, and the 2 half-breasts. Other ideas are to cut the whole chicken into quarters for 4 large servings or cut the leg quarters into separate legs and thighs, which would give 8 servings.
Enjoy with those that make you happy! That’s a must.Print