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Grilled Butterflied Whole Chicken Recipe

Grilled Butterflied Whole Chicken Recipe

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A whole bird cooks evenly and quickly on the grill when butterflied, and it's a great way to feed a crowd as several cook as easily as one.


1 2 1/2 - 3 lb chicken

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup salt

12 - 15 cups water

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 Tablespoons honey

2 Tablespoons cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

1/2 teaspoonfresh minced garlic


Remove the giblets and keep for another use. On a cutting board, place the chicken breast side down. Using poultry or heavy-duty kitchen shears, cut along each side of the backbone and remove. Flip the chicken over so it's almost flat. Press down firmly to crack the breastbone and so the whole chicken lies flat.

Marinate chicken in brine made of sugar, salt, and water to cover. Marinate 3 hours.

Make basting sauce with soy sauce, honey, vinegar, ginger, and garlic.

Remove chicken from brine and rinse well.

To cook, preheat the grill to medium-high. Place the chicken bone side down on the grates, cover the grill and grill about 45 minutes or until throughly cooked through. Baste after 20 minutes every 10 minutes with sauce during grilling. Remove from the grill and let rest about 15 minutes before slicing.

Some fresh pineapple slices can be grilled along with the chicken.


Grilled Butterflied Chicken With Lemongrass Sauce

Butterflying or spatchcocking the chicken speeds up the cooking process and helps the meat cook more evenly on the grill. (You can also use skin-on, bone-in parts—just make sure they add up to the same weight.) This recipe is from Union Hmong Kitchen, a regular pop-up restaurant in Minneapolis where chef Yia Vang works his wood-fired magic.

Mix the butter, herbs, garlic, and salt and pepper together in a small bowl.

Using your fingers, carefully separate skin from each side of side of the breast and thighs and spread about 1 tablespoon of the herb butter under each area. Season skin with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals out evenly. Place chicken skin-side down on the grill and cook until skin is deeply browned and crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. Flip chicken over and continue to grill until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast registers 160°F, about 10 to 15 minutes more. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Carve and serve.

Servings 8
Preparation time 20mins
Cooking time 110mins
Adapted from

Step 1

Mix the chopped rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in a small bowl to make a paste.

Place the chickens on a sheet pan, skin side up, and loosen the skin from the meat with your fingers. Place 1/2 of the paste under the skin of each chicken. Rub any remaining paste on the outside and underside of the chickens.

Turn the chicken skin side down and scatter the lemon slices and sprigs of rosemary over each chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Roll each chicken up, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Heat a grill with coals. Spread the coals out in 1 dense layer and brush the grill with oil. Unroll the chickens, place them on the grill and cook for 12 minutes on each side.

A spatchcock chicken (“butterflied”) is a technique used to remove the backbone and flatten the chicken for a more even cooking in less time than roasting it whole, ensuring a juicy chicken with crispy skin.

  • To start, be sure to have the chicken on a clean cutting surface breast side down. Starting at the neck area using kitchen scissors or poultry shears, cut along each side of the backbone towards the legs to remove it, cutting through the rib bones as you go. Discard the backbone or freeze for soup stock.
  • In the center area there will be a triangle of cartilage right where the breastbone starts. Using a sharp knife, cut down a quarter inch and spread the cut area open to reveal the breast bone.
  • Flip the chicken over and press down. OR after removing the back bone, spread the chicken out and turn over. Flatten the breastbone using the heel of your hand so that the meat is butterflied and all one thickness.
  • Sprinkle the dry rub all over the chicken and using your hand rub into the skin to adhere. Set aside while you start up your grill or smoker to 325°F.

Recipe Summary

  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1 whole chicken (3 to 4 pounds), rinsed

Combine vinegar, oil, garlic, paprika, and salt in a nonreactive baking dish or large resealable plastic bag.

Remove backbone from chicken using kitchen shears. Place chicken, breast side up, on cutting board, with legs extended on both sides. Press firmly on breastbone to break it and flatten chicken. Add to marinade. Cover dish or seal bag, and refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight), turning occasionally.

Preheat grill to medium. (If you are using a charcoal grill, coals are ready when you can hold your hand 5 inches above grill for just 5 or 6 seconds.) Remove chicken from marinade discard marinade. Place chicken, skin side down, on grill. Close cover, and grill 15 minutes. Flip chicken, and close cover. Grill until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the breast registers 165 degrees, about 20 minutes more.


Heat grill on high. Cut the top off the garlic bulb (not the root end). Place the garlic on a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, and close foil around garlic to seal. Place on grill. Close cover of grill and cook for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from grill and allow to cool until able to handle. Squeeze garlic cloves out of bulb into bowl of a processor.

To garlic, add all ingredients for herb and lemon sauce. Process until smooth and reserve.

Place rosemary and thyme under chicken skin. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place chicken, skin side down on grill. Grill for 5 minutes then turn. Close grill, reduce heat to medium, and continue to grill for 25-30 minutes or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F (74°C).

Remove from grill and place chicken on a cutting board. Allow chicken to rest for 15 minutes. Place on serving dish and drizzle generously with herb and lemon sauce.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 (3 pound) whole chicken
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

To make the chicken easier to grill evenly, remove its backbone. Do this by placing the chicken breast side down on a work surface with the tail end facing you. With a boning knife or sturdy kitchen shears, cut from front to back next to the backbone. Turn the chicken so the neck end faces you and cut on the other side of the backbone. Remove the backbone and use it for making stock or discard. Turn the chicken over and cut through the tailbone or wish bone. Spread the chicken out flat so it's 'butterflied.'

Mix together the sour cream, red onion, garlic, oregano, dill, salt, and pepper in a bowl and blend thoroughly. Gently lift the skin from the chicken being careful not to puncture or break the skin. Spoon the sour cream mixture under the skin, and massage gently to ease the mixture into all areas of the chicken. Cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or overnight.

Preheat a grill for medium heat. Lightly oil a grill grate, and place 4 inches from the heat source.

Lightly brush the chicken with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Place chicken on prepared grill skin side up. Cover the grill, and cook until the meat is firm and juices run clear when pierced with a knife, 45-55 minutes. There is no need to turn the chicken over.

Recipe Summary

  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

Preheat grill to high heat. Why? Thin cuts cook quickly high heat will give the exterior a good sear quickly without overcooking the meat.

Slice 1 breast half horizontally, cutting to, but not through, the other side. Open halves like a book, laying chicken flat. Repeat with remaining chicken. How? Place one hand flat on top of the breast to hold it steady. Hold knife parallel to cutting board with other hand, and make a long, smooth cut horizontally through the middle of the breast. Stop about 1/2 inch short of cutting all the way through.

Brush oil evenly over chicken. Combine sugar and remaining ingredients sprinkle evenly over both sides of chicken.

Why? You've doubled the surface area of the meat--meaning more room for the spice rub and more area to pick up chargrilled flavor.

Grill chicken 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until done. Why? Because the butterflied breast is half the thickness now, it will cook very quickly.

Whole grilled butterflied chicken

Based on the findings of J. Kenji López-Alt on



  • Preheat your grill with a two-zone setup.
  • Butterfly the chicken:
    • Using good kitchen shears, cut the backbone out of the chicken.
    • Make an incision on the underside of the breastbone to help the cartilage separate.
    • Place the chicken rib-side down and press firmly on the breasts, breaking the rib bone, and flattening the chicken.

    You’ll find that this recipe for whole grilled chicken is delicious and easy enough for a quick weeknight dinner. And with the aid of the ThermaQ and the Thermapen Mk4, it’s also practically foolproof. Whether you decide to dress it up with a tasty butter under the skin or just let the chicken shine with some salt and pepper, the juicy meat and the shatter-crisp skin scented with grilled flavors will have you hooked on this method in no time.

    Watch the video: Butterflied Spicy Mesquite Roast Chicken - Video Recipe


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