Spatchcock Chicken

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Butterfly Grill a Whole Chicken

You guys, I have to tell you…living without a/c will be the death of me. This weekend, it got up to 100 degrees. Triple digits, people. That’s basically unheard of in Portland and psychologically speaking, I was definitely not prepared.

On Saturday, I was supposed to run 12 miles for this blasted marathon training. {Did I mention I’m running a marathon? Well I am….and am sort of cursing the day I registered for it online. WHATWASITHINKING.} I started around 8 am….and within the first mile I wanted to kill myself. Not a good sign, people. After forcing myself to run 5 1/2 miles, I came across a McDonalds and stopped for some cold water and a little a/c action.

And behold she did sign praises to the golden arches on high. Amen.

I felt a little better so I kept going. 8 miles in, I had to stop again for more water and seriously considered peeling off all my clothes to run the last few miles naked. It was sooooooo hot. But I kept going.

At some point I texted my husband and told him to fetch me some cold gatorade and to meet me at home….I think…..things got a little hazy.

Then, 2 miles later, I called and told that sweet husband of mine to come find my shriveled carcass on the side of the road. Bless his heart, he came to my rescue and even brought me that cold gatorade too.

I ran the last few miles on a treadmill and I surprisingly felt fine. But it was at a gym. In the air conditioning. With a fan blowing directly on me the entire time. While watching the food network. So that’s no surprise.

And then life was good again. Until I returned to my hotbox of an apartment.

Enter BBQ.

We have been grilling this whole weekend out of necessity to keep our house as cool as possible. See this chicken right here? It’s totally worth the time and effort. AND it’s easily the tastiest grilled chicken I’ve ever made. It stayed completely moist and tender and had a smokey flavor from the grill. Slather it with a little more bbq sauce and that my friends is heaven.

We ate this with grilled corn and some salad a few nights back and it was seriously just awesome. All you need is a whole chicken, a grill, oil, salt and bbq sauce. Really–it’s a whole lot easier than you think:


I start out by lighting my charcoal. I have  a small round grill that I love. When doing big pieces of meat like this, I like to have a hot side and a cold side so that if my chicken starts to burn I can move it over to the cooler side or vice versa. That way you don’t just have one crazy hot bbq….and one burnt chicken.

Cutting raw chicken

While your grill is getting hot, we’re going to butterfly this chicken. So, turn our little friend over and with some kitchen shears, cut out the back bone. Then, I like to make a little cut in the breastbone so the chicken will lay flat and that’s it!

Raw chicken on a grill

Brush the whole thing with oil and sprinkle with salt and place skin side down over the hot side of the grill.

Grilled Whole Chicken

A few minutes later, the chicken is browned and lovely, so flip it over to the other side to finish cooking. It will stay like this the rest of the time on the grill.

Basting Chicken

Feel free to add some bbq sauce or other flavorings you like. And make sure you’re cooking this with the lid on! It’ll help it cook faster.

Internal Temperature of Chicken

After 15-20 minutes, check the temperature of meat. You’re looking for 165 or above.

Grilled Chicken

Now you can pull the chicken from the grill, cover with foil and rest 10 minutes. Then cut and serve! Makes for a perfect hassle-free diner party idea. 🙂

Here’s the printable:

Butterfly Grill a Whole Chicken
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Spatchcock Chicken

These are simple instructions on how to butterfly and grill a whole chicken also known as Spatchcock Chicken!
servings 4 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes



  • Clean and rinse whole chicken. Using kitchen shears or a very sharp knife, cut out the backbone of the chicken. Open the whole chicken up and cut a little notch in the breastbone to help it lay flat.
  • Brush the whole bird with some canola oil and sprinkle with salt. Place chicken on hot grill, skin side down. {I used a charcoal grill with all my hot coals on one side so I could have a hot side and a cool side, just incase my bird was cooking too quickly or not quick enough.}
  • Flip chicken over once skin has browned and brush with bbq sauce. Continue cooking on the other side until meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  • Remove from grill and cover with foil to rest 10 minutes. Cut and serve.


Calories: 409kcal | Protein: 35g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 133mg | Potassium: 360mg | Vitamin A: 267IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Butterfly and grill whole chicken

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21 Responses
  1. Elaine Brueckmann

    My son made two of these last weekend on the grill and it was fantastic! Best way to cook chicken on the grill!

  2. Heidi @foodiecrush

    What a funny girl you and your tired carcass are! Which is probably why you took it out on this lil’ ol’ carcass, grilling it up just right. I’m totally trying this. Keep going girl, you can do it!

  3. Natalie

    You’re my hero, Lauren. Not for running, though. (I have zero marathon aspirations. You truly are insane.) But for grilling a whole chicken without setting it on fire. I’ve done it twice now. Clearly, I need to adjust the temp on my grill…

  4. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes

    I’m the worst about running in hot weather. I always feel like I’m gonna die! haha. I give you a lot of credit.

  5. Russell at Chasing Delicious

    This is an incredibly helpful post! I’ve got a whole chicken waiting to be used so I think I know what I’m doing with it now! Thanks!

  6. Anna @ hiddenponies

    I don’t even make it outside when it’s this hot, I am beyond impressed with your running feat! I have a hard time even thinking about food in the heat…I am all about temperature controlled gyms/malls/etc. 🙂

  7. Amy V.

    Congrats on the 12 miler! I’m training for a half and have to be out the door by 5:30 to beat the heat, you are brave. I love this idea because even though my ac is cranking away as I type, it’s always a good time to BBQ.

  8. Candice

    I’m also in PDX and I’m only training for a 5k so I did it at the gym. Awesome job for going so far outside! I feel like I’m such a baby from living in this climate but I hate it when it gets that hot.

  9. Pat Dohaney

    We love to do our chicken like this in winter or summer. We call it Brick Chicken because we put heavy bricks, wrapped in foil, on top of the chicken to flatten it and allow it to cook faster and more evenly. Great tutorial. Thanks.

  10. Stephanie

    Good luck on your marathon! Would it help if you ran with cool wet rags draped all over you?

    And thanks for the chicken recipe!

  11. Rebecca Walker

    LOL–I mean…I’m HUGELY sorry it was such a nightmare for you, but I admire your perseverance and it made for an entertaining read. 😀 And I can’t wait to try the chicken!

  12. Cookin' Canuck

    Oh Lauren, good for you! There’s nothing harder than a long run in the blazing sun. The only way I can do my summertime running is to start at about 6am. I’m such a wimp about the hot weather!

    This is a fantastic tutorial. I’ve never grilled a whole chicken, but you make it look so easy.

  13. Ali @ Gimme Some Oven

    Totally bookmarking this post! I have never tried this myself, but looks amazing!!

    And I’m so inspired by your training! 🙂

  14. DessertForTwo

    Who cares if you didn’t finish a marathon? Butterflying a chicken is WAY harder & I have more respect for knife skills & cooking than running, lol.
    I hope your AC gets fixed soon! If not, come stay with us 🙂

  15. Jenny @ BAKE

    this is a brilliant tutorial! and well done you for actually running the 12 miles I would have given up at macdonalds! my friend and I are starting half marathon training in a couple of weeks and I’m terrified!

    1. cookingmommy

      You are right this is a brilliant tutorial What an absolutely beautiful chicken recipe. I substituted Coconut oil for the canola oil. We are going to serve this to our dieting group on Saturday. As for running the marathon, Chicken is very healthy and causes great weight loss.