Grilled Spatchcocked (Butterflied) Chicken

May 23, 2014

Who doesn’t love grilled whole chicken?  But getting the skin perfectly crispy while also making sure that the dark and white meat don’t get dried out can often be a challenge.  By butterflying the chicken and grilling it flat (a technique that is also known as spatchcocking) you are ensured a faster and more even cook, but are also able to crisp all of the skin at once by laying it flat on the grill.

Grilled Butterflied Chicken

Grilled Butterflied Chicken

Today we take it one step further by pressing the flattened chicken down with a heavy salt block in order to allow the skin to crisp evenly and add a touch of flavor from the block.  If you don’t own a salt block, you can wrap a couple of bricks with foil and place them on top of the chicken.

Salt Block Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken

(serves 4)


1 gallon water

¾ cup Kosher salt

½ cup brown sugar

3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 lemons, halved

1 orange, quartered

1 whole chicken (approximately 3-4 lbs.), backbone removed

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Additional Tools

1 8x12x2-inch Himalayan salt block (alternatively you can use two bricks, each wrapped in foil)



Combine water, salt, brown sugar, rosemary, lemons, and oranges in a large stockpot and stir until the salt and brown sugar have completely dissolved.  Add the chicken to the pot, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Prepare grill for medium heat cooking (approximately 350-375 degrees), placing the salt block on the main cooking grate as soon as the charcoal is added to the grill so that it can come up to temperature slowly and avoid cracking.

Remove the chicken from the brining liquid, rinse, and pat dry with paper towels.  Place the chicken on a cutting board skin side up and press on the breastbone so the breasts lay flat.  Season both sides of the butterflied/spatchcocked chicken with salt and pepper.

Place the chicken skin side down on the grill and move the pre-heated salt block using heavy-duty heat resistant gloves to the top of the chicken.

Salt Block Grilled Chicken

Salt Block Grilled Chicken

Place the cover on the grill and allow it to cook until the skin is crisp and browned, approximately 10-15 minutes.  Carefully remove the salt block using heat resistant gloves, flip the chicken skin side up, and place the salt block back on the chicken.

Salt Block Grilled Chicken

Salt Block Grilled Chicken

Cover the grill and allow the chicken to cook another 10-15 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh.

Remove the chicken from the grill, rest for 10 minutes, and either cut in to quarters or serve whole with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken

Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken

- Clint Cantwell, Editor

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