What better way to celebrate summer than pulling out the grill and preparing this delectable but simple Grilled Spatchcock Chicken recipe?
Marinated in a luscious lemon chicken marinade with fresh rosemary and garlic, the meat fairly falls off the bone, and you will love the citrusy flavor.
I love grilling crowd-pleasing dishes like Grilled Half Chicken, Grilled Ham Steak, and Grilled Beer Can Chicken. However, this grilled spatchcock chicken recipe equals their grilled goodness and is quickly becoming one of our favorites too.
After just one taste of this juicy, tender grilled spatchcock chicken with hints of lemon, zesty garlic, and earthy rosemary, you will be smitten too!
A little preparation is involved in getting the poultry ready to grill, but once that’s done, you can settle back and let the grill do all the heavy lifting.
Why you will love this recipe:
- Quick and easy preparation: Spatchcock chicken is relatively quick and easy to prepare compared to other methods of grilling a whole chicken.
- Juicy and flavorful results: Grilling spatchcock chicken over indirect heat helps to retain its moisture, resulting in juicy and succulent meat. The flattened shape makes it cook more evenly, ensuring the dark and white meat is perfectly cooked.
- You can have a delicious and satisfying dinner cooked on the grill that everyone will enjoy without spending hours in the kitchen.
Here’s how to make grilled spatchcock chicken:
- Season the bird with kosher salt and lemon pepper on both sides.
- Add the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, and rosemary to a small bowl or mason jar and mix well to make the lemon chicken marinade.
- Place the poultry in a gallon-size plastic storage bag and pour in the lemon marinade. Squeeze out as much air as possible, seal, and squish around to make sure the marinade covers the entire thing.
- Place the bag in the refrigerator and marinate for a minimum of four hours up to 24 hours, turning the bag occasionally.
- When ready to grill, clean the grates with a wire brush and oil the grill racks. Place the charcoal on one side of the grill and prepare a medium-hot fire, 350 degrees F.
- Most of the coals should be glowing orange-red and covered with a faint layer of ash. If using a gas grill, turn the heat to low.
- When the grill is ready, place the meat on the cooler side. Place it skin side up and weigh it down with a heavy dish or cast iron pan. You can even use a brick wrapped in aluminum foil. Cook for 12-15 minutes, or until the underside is golden brown.
- Using long tongs, turn the meat over, skin side down, and place the weight on it again.
- Place the lemon halves on the grill, cut side down. Cook the poultry for another 12-15 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown.
- Insert an instant-read meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh but not touching the bone to check the temperature. It should read 165°F.
- Remove the chicken from the grill and place on a cutting board. Cover with foil or a plate and allow it to rest for at least five minutes.
- Cut it into quarters, squeeze some lemon juice over each piece, and serve immediately.
How to butterfly a chicken:
Butterflying or spatchcocking a whole bird helps it to cook quickly, evenly, and keeps it juicy.
- First, remove any giblets. Place the whole bird breast side down on a cutting board. Take a pair of kitchen or poultry shears, and starting at the neck cavity, cut down each side of the backbone to cut it out.
- Discard the backbone or save it to make stock or soup.
- Turn the bird over and press down hard to flatten the entire thing. That’s it! Of course, you can also ask your butcher to do this for you too!
Still, have questions about how to butterfly your bird? Check out this video from Bon Appétit.
What to serve with grilled spatchcock chicken:
My favorite side dish to pair with this dish is Southern Potato Salad, but these sides would also complement it: Pearl Couscous with Preserved Lemon Easy Southern Corn Salad, Purple Hull Peas, and Creamed Potatoes.
My Strawberry Jello Pie, Strawberry Trifle, Orange Sherbet, or Strawberry Sherbet would be great for dessert. And, if you need something lighter, check out my easy two ingredients, Watermelon Popsicles.
Need more ideas, check out all of my side dish recipes here.
Do you need to flip spatchcock chicken?
Flip your spatchcock chicken on the grill about halfway through the cooking time to ensure it cooks evenly.
I prefer a charcoal grill for this recipe because I love the smoky taste, which you can only get with charcoal. We use a Big Green Egg, for this recipe
If you are using a charcoal fire, it’s best to make the fire on one side of the grill for indirect heat and then cook the poultry on the other side. However, you can also use a gas grill set on low.
It takes about 30 minutes for the meat to cook, and by cooking it slowly, it ensures that it is cooked all the way through without burning on the outside. grill is the best?
This is a simple recipe; I only used kosher salt and lemon pepper to season it. Then the meat is placed in the lemon marinade.
The secret to this unbelievably delicious dish is a grilled chicken marinade made with olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice. The meat does need to marinate for at least four hours. But it can go for up to 24 hours.
Remember to take care of this step ahead of time.
I confess that several times I have only marinated the poultry for 30 minutes, but it still was delicious. However, I recommend a minimum of four hours for the maximum flavor!
By using indirect heat, you’ll achieve a juicy and evenly cooked spatchcock chicken with nicely browned skin.
Expert tips and tricks:
Use a sharp pair of kitchen shears: Spatchcocking requires cutting through the backbone. Ensure you have a sturdy and sharp pair of kitchen shears to make the process easier and safer.
Flatten it evenly: Press firmly on the breastbone after removing the backbone to flatten. This helps to ensure even cooking and faster grilling time.
Preheat the grill properly: Allow it to preheat before placing the chicken on it. This ensures that the grates are hot and helps to create a good sear and prevent sticking.
Maintain a two-zone fire: Set up your grill for indirect cooking by creating a two-zone fire. This involves having one side of the grill with direct heat and the other side with indirect heat. This setup allows for better control over the cooking process and helps prevent flare-ups.
Monitor the temperature: Use a reliable meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. This helps you avoid undercooking or overcooking the meat. Aim for an internal temperature of 165°F in the thickest part of the thigh.
Let it rest: Once the chicken reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the grill and let it rest for about 5-10 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, producing juicier meat.
More recipes for the grill:
Sometimes, it’s just too hot to cook on the grill, too cold, or raining. When the weather isn’t perfect, why not try one of the most popular recipes on my blog, Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs? You will never know they weren’t cooked on the grill.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐⭐⭐ If you make this dish, please leave a comment and give this recipe a star rating. I would love to know how you liked it!
Thank you for visiting Grits and Pinecones! I hope you come back soon!
Grilled Spatchcock Chicken Recipe with Lemon Chicken Marinade
- 1 whole chicken, three to four-pounds, butterflied
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon lemon pepper
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
- 2 lemons, halved
- Season the chicken with kosher salt, and lemon pepper on both sides.
- Add the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, and rosemary to a small bowl or mason jar and mix well to make the marinade.
- Place the chicken in a gallon-size plastic storage bag, and pour in the marinade. Squeeze out as much air as possible, seal, and squish around to ensure everything is covered. Place the bag in the refrigerator and marinate for at least four to 24 hours. Turn the bag occasionally.
- When ready to grill, clean the grates with a wire brush and oil the grill racks. Place the charcoal on one side of the grill and prepare a medium-hot fire, 350 °F. When the coals are ready, most of them should be glowing orange-red and covered with a faint layer of ash. If using a gas grill, turn the heat to low.
- When the grill is ready, place the chicken on the cooler side, skin side up, and weigh it down with a heavy dish or cast iron pan. You can even use a brick wrapped in aluminum foil. Cook for 12-15 minutes, or until the underside is golden brown.
- Using long tongs, turn the chicken over, skin side down, and place the weight on it again. Place the lemon halves on the grill, cut side down. Cook it for another 12-15 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and a meat thermometer reads 165 °F. when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh but not touching the bone.
- Remove the chicken from the grill and place on a cutting board, cover with foil or a plate, and allow to rest for at least five minutes.
- To serve, cut it into quarters and squeeze a little lemon juice over each piece from the grilled lemon halves.