Spatchcocked Chicken on the Grill

Spatchcocking is a technique where the back bone of a whole chicken is removed and it is flattened out. This allows for quicker and more even cooking. I like to spatchock chicken, coat it in a mustard based herb paste and grill it.

For an easy summer meal, roast potatoes on the grill at the same time and serve with a salad.


1 Whole Chicken, 5 - 6 pounds, giblets removed
1 large shallot or several smaller shallots, about 4 oz in weight
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup flat leaf Italian parsley
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence
1 tablespoon fresh Rosemary leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons himalayan pink salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 Cup Olive oil


  1. Rinse chicken in cool water and pat dry. Place on a cutting board, breast side down. Using sharp kitchen or boning shears, cut along both sides of the backbone to remove it. Open the chicken like a book.
  2. Turn the chicken over so it’s breast side up and press firmly against the backbone to flatten it out.
  3. Cut wing tips off so they don’t burn and trim off any excess skin and fat.
  4. In a food processor combine the remaining ingredients and pulse to make a thick paste.
  5. Rub the paste all over the chicken on both sides, coating liberally. Reserve unused paste for serving with the chicken.
  6. Cover and chill for at least an hour before grilling.
  7. Preheat your grill to 450 degrees. You can either use a smoker, or cook using an indirect heat method. If using the indirect method, heat your whole grill up to 450 degrees.
  8. For either method, place chicken on the grill breast side down directly on the grill grates. Close lid and cook for 8-15 minutes until the chicken is browned on breast side. Flip chicken over. If using indirect heat method, place chicken breast side up on 1/2 half of grill. Shut off burners under chicken and close lid. Chicken will brown with the initial contact with hot grates and then that side will cool and roast chicken for final cooking. If using a smoker, turn heat down to 350 degrees after turning chicken.
  9. For either method, keep grill lid closed and roast 30-60 minutes more. Check with a meat thermometer – grill to 160 degrees when thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the chicken breast.
  10. Remove from grill, rest for 10 minutes, cut and serve with any reserved herb paste.

I usually freeze the backbone for stock after removing.

I like to prepare the chicken and rub with paste in the morning. This allows time for the chicken to absorb flavors and it is easy to grill later in the day. However, the longer chill time requires additional cooking time.

Grill temperatures will vary. This is especially true with the indirect heat method and variations in outdoor temperatures. The first time you prepare this dish, allow an extra 30-45 minutes in your schedule in case the grill cooks more slowly than noted in the recipe.

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