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BBQ Spatchcock Chicken

BBQ Spatchcock Chicken is a great method for grilling a whole chicken that turns out so tender, juicy and flavorful. This recipe includes a simple brine that helps flavor the chicken and keeps it juicy on the grill. 

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Spatchcocking chicken is simply removing the backbone or butterflying the chicken so that it will cook flattened out. This reduces the cooking time and allows the whole chicken to cook more evenly. 

BBQ Spatchcock Chicken on a platter

Ingredients for BBQ Spatchcock Chicken:

  • Whole Chicken

Brine:

  • Warm water
  • Kosher Salt
  • Lemons or Limes
  • Fresh Garlic 
  • Peppercorns

For Grilling:

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How to Grill BBQ Spatchcock Chicken:

whole chicken in brine with lemons, limes, garlic

Step 1: Chicken Brine

  • About 2 hours before grilling, prepare the brine. Mix warm water with kosher salt until dissolved. Squeeze 1 – 2 lemons or limes or a combination of the two into the salt water. Go ahead and toss the rinds in as well. Add a few garlic cloves and peppercorns. 
  • Submerge chicken into the brine. Cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours but not more than 4 hours.
  • Drain the chicken well in a colander and discard brine. 

whole chicken on paper towels

  • Dry chicken, inside and out with paper towels. 

Step 2: Spatchcock Chicken

step by step - spatchcocking whole chicken

  • Use poultry shears or heavy duty kitchen scissors to cut down both sides of the backbone. Discard.
  • Flip the chicken over and slice between the breasts, not cutting all the way through. 
  • Turn chicken and flatten with the palms of your hands. 
  • Drizzle chicken with olive oil on both sides.

salt, pepper, onion and garlic in a bowl

  • Mix salt, pepper, onion and garlic together in a bowl.

spatchcock chicken with seasonings ready to grill

  • Season the chicken all over.
  • Prepare a grill fire to about 300° using pecan chunks or hickory for smoke flavor.

spatchcock chicken on a grill

  • Cook chicken over indirect fire, skin side up, with the grill closed. 

Smoked spatchcock chicken on a grill

  • Keep grill temperature at 300° to 325°, cooking for about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Pouring BBQ Sauce on chicken on the grill

  • Using a digital thermometer, check the chicken at the thick part of the thigh, near the bone.
  • When chicken reaches about 155°, coat with bbq sauce.

Grilled BBQ Spatchcock Chicken on the grill

  • Close the lid and continue to cook until internal temperature reaches 160°- 165°.

spatchcock bbq chicken on a platter, partially sliced

  • Remove from grill and rest 10 minutes before serving.

GRILLING FACTS FOR BBQ SPATCHCOCK CHICKEN:

  • Grill: Big Green Egg Large
  • Heat Source: Hardwood Lump Charcoal
  • Wood: Pecan Chunks
  • Grill Temperature: 300° – 325°

How to Store and Reheat:

Remove chicken from bones and store in an airtight container up to 3 days. 

Reheat in a skillet with additional bbq sauce over medium heat, stirring until heated through. 

More Delicious Grilled Chicken Recipes:

Pecan BBQ Chicken is a grilled half chicken recipe that makes a great meal prep recipe for sandwiches or easy weeknight dinners.

Smoked Chicken is one of our favorites to make over the weekend. This recipe features our homemade rosemary mustard bbq sauce and is always a hit.

Spicy Chicken Brine will knock your socks off with flavor. One of the best chicken recipes we’ve ever made.

Apple Cider Smoked Chicken is crazy delicious. Whole chicken is brined and then injected with a tasty apple cider marinade that adds tons of delicious flavor to grilled chicken.

Lemon Rosemary Smoked Chicken is full of citrus and herb flavors that is sure to please even the picky eaters of the family. 

Smoked chicken is one of my favorites to use for meal prep to make easy dinners though the week. We use it to make sandwiches, salads, casseroles and soups. 

If you haven’t tried the spatchcock method, it’s worth the effort. The chicken cooks a little quicker than a trussed chicken and the overall texture and taste is unbeatable. 

sliced spatchcock bbq chicken on a platter

Pick up a whole chicken or two to try this BBQ Spatchcock Chicken for dinner this week! It’s one of those recipes that you reach for when you are craving comfort food on the grill. 

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BBQ Spatchcock Chicken
Yield: 5 servings

BBQ Spatchcock Chicken

Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 2 seconds
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 25 minutes 2 seconds

BBQ Spatchcock Chicken with a quick brine and homemade bbq sauce cooked on the grill for a delicious family meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken

for the brine:

  • 4 quarts warm water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 2 lemons or limes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons peppercorns

for grilling:

Instructions

  1. About 2 hours before grilling, prepare the brine. Whisk warm water with kosher salt until dissolved. Squeeze lemons and/or limes into the salt water, adding the rinds as well. Add garlic cloves and peppercorns. 
  2. Remove the gizzards or parts form inside the chicken and discard.
  3. Submerge chicken into the brine. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours but no more than 4 hours.
  4. Drain the chicken well in a colander and discard brine. 
  5. Pat dry chicken, inside and out with paper towels. 
  6. Prepare a grill fire to about 300° using pecan chunks or hickory for smoke flavor.
  7. Place chicken on a baking sheet or cutting board. Using poultry shears or heavy duty kitchen scissors, cut down both sides of the backbone and discard.
  8. Flip the chicken over and slice between the breasts, not slicing all the way through. 
  9. Turn chicken and flatten with the palms of your hands. 
  10. Drizzle chicken with olive oil on both sides.
  11. Mix salt, pepper, onion and garlic together and season the chicken all over.
  12. Cook chicken over indirect fire, skin side up, with the grill closed. 
  13. Keep grill temperature at 300° to 325°, cooking for about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  14. Using a digital thermometer, check the chicken at the thick part of the thigh, near the bone.
  15. When chicken reaches about 155°, coat with bbq sauce. Close the lid and continue to cook until internal temperature reaches 160°- 165°.
  16. Remove from grill and rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Notes

Remove chicken from bones and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days,

Reheat in a skillet with additional BBQ sauce, stirring until heated through.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

5

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 463Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 105mgSodium: 932mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 1gSugar: 19gProtein: 33g

Nutritional information is estimated and may not be accurate.

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