Whole roasted chicken is the perfect one-pot meal! But during the summer months, who wants to turn on the oven for a couple of hours and heat up the kitchen to make it? You could put it on the grill, but grilling a whole chicken can be a challenge. How do you get the skin crispy and golden brown, while making sure that the meat is cooked all the way through but not to the point that it becomes dried out? We’ll show you how to grill the perfect chicken by using a technique called spatchcocking.
The key to grilling (or cooking for that matter) any meat or protein is that you want it to be uniform thickness and to cook at the same rate. This is why a chicken is so challenging because it is round in shape (so not uniform at all), and has both white and dark meat, which cook at different rates.
If you have a TEC Infrared Grill, you are already ahead of the game. Because our grills cook with 100% infrared energy, we eliminate the hot air that dries out your food. So that means that a whole chicken is going to stay moist and juicy with no effort, and both the white and dark meat will be perfectly cooked. If you have our Infrared Smoker/Roaster accessory, you can use that to easily roast a whole chicken in about two hours.
But it’s summer time, and who wants to spend a couple of hours tending the grill? You can speed up the cooking time by cutting up the chicken, and grilling the pieces. Or this is where spatchcocking the chicken comes in. This is where you take out the backbone of the chicken, so that you can open up the chicken flat like a book. The result is that the chicken cooks in less than half the time, and you get crispy golden skin but still juicy meat.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Not all chickens are the same! And since the chicken is the star of the show here, you want to be sure you buy something that is a little better than your typical super market chicken. Look for chickens that are free-range and/or organic. You will be surprised at how much more flavorful and juicy these birds can be.
To help you make spatchcock grilled chicken, a good knife will do the job. But sharp poultry shears make the job even easier. Poultry shears are a great investment in your kitchen arsenal, and can be used for many tasks beyond just cutting up chicken. Your favorite knife maker, such as Wusthof, offer some great tools.
SPATCHCOCK THE CHICKEN
Watch this quick video to see how to spatchcock a chicken!
Rinse the chicken with cool water, and pat dry. Place the chicken on a cutting board, breast side down.
Find the backbone running the length of the chicken. Using a knife or kitchen/poultry shears, cut along both sides of the backbone and lift it out.
Turn the chicken over and gently press on the breast to flatten the chicken. You may need to also remove the wishbone to get the chicken to lay flat.
Cut off the wing tips and tuck the wings into the skin folds of the legs.
Rub the chicken all over with canola oil and your favorite BBQ rub or seasonings. Add salt and pepper too if it is not already in the ingredients of the rub.
GRILL THE CHICKEN
Preheat your grill on medium heat for 10 minutes with the hood closed.
Turn the grill down to medium-low to low.
Spread the chicken out across the grill, breast side down.
Grill the chicken until the skin is starting to crisp and brown, about 15 minutes. Carefully turn the chicken over, and if desired brush the top with BBQ sauce.
Grill for about 30 minutes (or until the internal temperature of the meat is at 160 degrees), and then brush again with BBQ sauce. Flip the chicken once more time, and grill for about 5 minutes, until the BBQ sauce caramelizes just a bit. Don’t let the sauce burn!
Remove the chicken from the grill, and let rest for 10-15 minutes to keep those juices inside the chicken.