Grilling a whole chicken is an easy way to enjoy roast chicken without heating up your home. By learning how to spatchcock a chicken you’ll learn how to quickly cook a whole chicken for a comforting, filling meal that will please the whole family without spending a ton of time. A grilled chicken in the perfect meal to enjoy on a busy weeknight that feels like a luxury.
Once April hits, it’s hard to convince me to cook indoors. For one: I refuse to heat up my house any more than it already is.
For two: dishes. Cooking indoors means at least 3 times as many dishes as cooking outdoors makes. Since have no dishwasher, and reduction in pots and pans used is a win for me.
The problem is, grilled food gets boring quicker than you might expect. Especially if you have a relatively picky husband who wants meat and not much fancier than that.
Enter: how to grill a whole chicken.
Have you ever heard of spatchcocking a chicken? It’s a method of flattening a whole chicken so that it cooks quicker and more evenly, ensuring the most juicy chicken you’ve ever had and the ability to cook it on the grill.
And that, my friends, is how you’re going to grill a whole chicken – by spatchcocking it.
How to Spatchcock a Chicken for the Grill
Now, before you get all panicky, I promise it’s super easy. So easy, the first time I did it my husband walked me through it via text message. #marriagewin
- Rinse your chicken and pat it dry. Place the chicken breast down on your cutting board. If you’re confused, just make sure the wing tips are facing down toward the cutting board.
- Using good, sturdy scissors cut along the backbone on each side to remove. The ribs should be pretty simple, but there is a solid bone at the top that can be difficult.
3. Remove the backbone and either toss it or save it for stock later. I like to use mine when making stock for my foolproof chicken soup.
4. Make a small notch in the center of the breastbone (where the arrow is pointing) and score down the middle to make a guide of sorts.
5. Flip over your chicken over and with the heel of your hand, press on the breast bone to flatten. You’ll probably hear a snap – a good sign you’ve done it well.
And boom! You just learned how to spatchcock a chicken for the grill.
But knowing how to spatchcock a chicken is no help if you have no idea how to cook it! Which brings us to..
Tips for grilling a whole chicken
- My chicken typically takes about 30-35 minutes. Timing will really just depend on how big the chicken is. I’ve found a good rule of thumb to be 6-7 minutes per pound.
- To ensure the chicken is done, make sure the temperature of the breast reaches 160F. It will continue to rise and will hit 165 while resting.
- Allow to rest 5-10 minutes before cutting – the perfect amount of time to get the table set and the sides like this best ever roasted broccoli recipe finished!
- If you have stainless steel grates, consider using some kind of grill cooking spray as there is the potential for sticking. If you have cast-iron grates, this is unnecessary
How to Grill a Whole Chicken
Grilling the now spatchcocked chicken is super simple.
First, completely dry off your chicken with paper towels before liberally seasoning with salt and pepper. You honestly don’t need more than that – no fancy oil or butter under the skin, no crazy herbs.
If you have the time, allow it to dry, uncovered, over night in the fridge. This will give you the best chance at super crispy skin.
Remove from the fridge before you preheat your grill. Crank it to high and allow about 20-30 minutes to get it to full heat.
Once heated, place your chicken skin down onto the rack. Reduce heat to medium low, close the lid, and allow to cook for 15 minutes. Finally, flip the chicken and cook another 15 minutes.
Remove from heat when the internal temperature is 160 degrees, then allow to rest for about 10 minutes. Enjoy a perfectly cooked whole chicken without heating up your home!
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How to Grill a Whole Chicken for the Grill
- 1 whole chicken spatchcocked
- Salt and pepper
Completely dry your spatchcocked chicken with paper towels. Season liberally on both sides with salt and pepper.
Put into your fridge for 12-24 hours uncovered (put it on a shelf by itself for contamination purposeto dry out.*
Remove from the fridge before preheating your grill to high. Allow to get as hot as possible.
Once the grill is heated, place the chicken skin side down. Turn the heat to medium, close the lid, and leave for 15 minutes.
Flip the chicken, close again, and continue to cook for about 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reached 160F.
Allow to rest for 10 minutes or so before cutting and serving.
- If you have stainless steel grates, consider using some kind of grill cooking spray as there is the potential for sticking. If you have cast iron grates, this is unnecessary
- The dry out period isn’t a requirement, but will help with creating really crispy skin!
- Remove at 160F – as it rests, the temperature will continue to rise to the recommended 165F.
Enjoy! I serve ours all summer long. It’s really such a versatile meal. You can also chop up or shred the meat to top a salad or this pesto pasta salad. Such the perfect summer meal.
So tell me – do you find yourself looking to use the grill more in the summer? A fan of cooking outside? Let me know in the comments!
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