Spatchcocked Grilled Chicken

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Spatchcocked Grilled Chicken

In the Chicken Test Kitchen, Liv, our culinarian, set out to test grilling techniques for easy and flavorful summertime meals.

“Spatchcocking is SUPER EASY! It may seem intimidating, but it takes much less skill and experience than most butchery and it makes the bird so much easier to deal with, either on the grill or in the oven.”Liv
4-6 Entrée Servings
Dry Riesling

Inspired by Serious Eats Peruvian Style Chicken recipe, Liv knew that the smoky rub would pair perfectly with the flavor of the grill without overpowering the flavor of the chicken. She paired it with a slightly spicy, cool and creamy dipping sauce that is quintessentially summer.

  • For The Chicken
  • 1 Whole Organic Chicken (4-5 lbs), thawed/defrosted if frozen & giblets removed
  • 5 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 tbsp + 1 tsp Cumin
  • 2 tbsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 4 cloves Garlic, grated on a microplane or pressed
  • 2 tbsp + 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp + 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • For The Sauce
  • 3 whole Serrano Chiles, roughly chopped (remove the seeds & ribs if you prefer less heat)
  • 1 cup fresh Cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup fresh Mint leaves
  • 2 cloves Garlic, peeled
  • ½ cup Mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup Sour Cream
  • 2 tsp Lime Juice
  • 1 tsp White Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste


  • Make the Sauce:

Combine the serranoes, cilantro, mint, garlic cloves, mayo, sour cream, lime juice and vinegar in a blender. Blend on high speed, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed, until the mix is smooth.

With the blender running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The sauce will be thin, but will thicken as it sits.

Transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.

  • Prepare the Chicken:

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and set breast side-down on a large cutting board.

Using sharp kitchen shears, cut top-to-bottom along both sides of the backbone to remove it. (You can discard the backbone or reserve it to make stock with the giblets & other bones.)

Flip the chicken over and lay it out flat. Press firmly on the breasts to flatten the chicken. Tuck the wing tips behind the back.

Combine the salt, cumin, paprika, pepper, garlic, vinegar and oil in a small bowl. Mix with your fingertips or a fork and spread the mixture evenly over all surfaces of the chicken (front and back).

  • To Grill the Chicken:

For a charcoal grill: Light 1 chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit & covered with gray ash, pour the coals evenly over half of the coal grate, and set the cooking grate in place. For a gas grill: Set half of the burners to high heat. Cover the grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Brush the grilling grate with oil.

Place the chicken skin side-up on the cooler side of the grill with the legs facing toward the hotter side. Cover the grill with vents on the lid open and aligned over the chicken (if possible). Open the bottom vents of the grill. This creates convection that helps the chicken to cook faster.

After about half an hour, check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast. When the temperature reaches 110°F, use two tongs (or a pair of tongs and a large spatula) to carefully flip the chicken. Place it skin side-down on the hotter side of the grill with the breasts pointing toward to the cooler side. Press down firmly with a wide, stuff spatula to ensure there’s good contact between the chicken and the grill grates.

Cover and continue to cook for about 10 more minutes until the skin is crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breasts reads 145-150°F. If the chicken looks like it is burning (or might burn) before the internal temperature is reached, carefully slide it to the cooler side of the grill and continue to cook, covered, until done.

Note: To help ensure evening cooking and reduce the cooking time, keep the grill’s lid on when you’re not checking the temperature or moving the chicken.

When the chicken is done, transfer to a cutting board or large platter and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Carve and serve with the dipping sauce on the side.
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