“Spatchcock” is a fun word, isn’t it? It sounds a bit pretentious, a bit risqué, and a bit elusive all at the same time. Plus, it’s full of hard consonants which just makes it enjoyable to pronounce. It usually refers to a preparation of chicken where you remove the backbone and open the chicken so that it can lie flat. This makes it much easier to cook and allows it to cook faster. You could also say “butterfly” the chicken instead of “spatchcock”, but “spatchcock” really is much more fun, no? You could ask your butcher to spatchcock your chicken for you, but why bother when you could do it yourself with a handy pair of shears. If you’re interested in learning how to spatchcock a chicken, click here for photos and a good explanation in the cooking school.
The reason a spatchcocked chicken cooks faster than a whole chicken is because the breasts and legs get direct contact from the heat source when the chicken is skin-side down AND when the chicken is skin-side up. It’s easier to cook than a whole chicken (especially on the grill) because you’ve turned it into a flat piece of meat with two sides, rather than a circle with four sides. You simply flip the chicken over a couple of times on the grill, rather than rotating it around to ensure all sides get cooked evenly.
Grilling a spatchcocked chicken has advantage over grilling pieces of chicken too – you only have to flip one item rather than flipping several items on the grill and you only baste one larger piece of chicken rather than basting 6 or 8 individual pieces. In this recipe, you only baste the chicken after it has cooked for 40 minutes because as with most glazes, there is a relatively high sugar content which can brown or burn quickly. So, glaze only at the end of cooking and let the glaze bake onto the skin. You can serve any remaining glaze at the table for added flavor.
Do be careful when turning the chicken over – metal tongs can easily tear the skin of the chicken – but rest assured that if you start with clean grill grates and don’t try to flip the chicken too soon, you will be able to flip the chicken easily without it sticking. This is, of course, assuming that you control the temperature of your grill. In a perfect world, your grill should be between 350ºF and 450ºF when cooking the chicken and you should use indirect heat or the cooler part of your grill.
When it comes to cutting the chicken into pieces, it’s easy to slice right through a spatchcocked chicken, separating the legs from the breasts, and then the drumsticks from the thighs. You can cut it into 6 pieces as in the photo above, or slice each breast half in half again. While this recipe indicates that you can serve four people with this recipe, I really think you can squeak out six portions with a full 5-pound chicken.
It’s always nice to garnish foods with ingredients from the recipe, so have a couple extra oranges on hand to slice up around the chicken. Fresh herbs or salad greens are always welcome too.
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This was the most amazing chicken I have ever had. As soon as I got the recipe I had to make it. It was just a coincidence that I had taken a whole chicken out of the freezer for supper this evening. I think the smoked paprika and cumin really stepped the flavor up. Fabulous recipe !! Thanks Meredith, keep them coming !!
Orange glazed spatchcock
Chicken. Will this recipe adapt to being cooked on my cooks essential air fryer
Hi Adele, You could cook this in the air fryer as long as you cut the chicken so that it fits in the basket – or use pieces of chicken. I would rub the chicken pieces with the spice rub and then spritz with oil. Cook at 380ºF according to the times in the air fryer cooking chart depending on what you are cooking (breasts, thighs, legs, and how big). Then, glaze for the last 5 to 10 minutes.
I’ve been waiting a while to make this and I’m glad I finally got it done. This is the first time I’ve spatchcocked a chicken. It’s so simple and makes makes for such a head-turning presentation. The glaze is delicious. I wish I had put the rub underneath the skin, but I was feeling kind of lazy, and worried that it would take away from the finished appearance (which was amazing). The only thing I’d do differently is maybe brine it next time. It’s nice though, not to have to plan that far ahead and still be able to have such a delicious, show-stopping entree.
Made the Spatchcock Chicken yesterday evening. It was outstanding!! The chicken cooked perfectly on my charcoal grill, and the orange spiced bbq sauce was absolutely wonderful and oh my so delicious. My super-fussy sister raved about this chicken! And believe you me, she doesn’t rave about anything! I wanted to pair this with a white/wild rice combo, or even make my grandmother’s rice dish, but I only had white rice available so I made that, and put the chicken on top of the rice on the plates so it would at least grab some of that sauce’s flavor, and I grilled some yellow squash. I don’t care for jarred bbq sauces as most of them have an overabundance of that fake liquid smoke flavor. Previous recipes I’ve tried were not worth the bother to make again, and all seemed to have the same old “ketchup, mustard, molasses or brown sugar, and liquid smoke.” The smoked paprika was a perfect “hint of smoke” and the red pepper flakes gave off just a tad of heat. I admit I did go a little skimpy on the pepper flakes. This is a 5 Star recipe. Thank you, Meredith!
I have been bored with cooking the same ole recipes! I stumbled upon “Blue Jean Chef” Facebook page! She opened up a whole new world of making fun and delicious foods! The Spatchcock Chicken is quite a delight and very very delicious! My husband loves the marinate and has requested it two times already! I also prepared the Brined Pork Chops and “Oh WOW!”, they were very moist, very tender and extremely tasty, For our Sunday Evening dinner, I am making Spatchcock Chicken, Chicken Rice, and steamed peas! I will serve it with a glass of white Chardonnay wine garnished with an orange slice and a sprig of mint from my tiny little herb garden.
Once I am in my kitchen making Orange Glazed Spatchcock Chicken. I am going to roast it in the oven this time. My husband requested the Orange Glazed Spatchcock for dinner tonight!
Can you give directions for making this on a gas grill? Would you also cook it on indirect heat…with top down?
Hi Carolyn. Yes, I would turn off one of the burners in the gas grill so that you have a hot are and a cooler area (could be front and back or side to side). You just want to make sure the outside doesn’t burn before the inside has a chance to cook through. So, indirect heat and top down.
This is one of the best chicken recipes ever. We grilled on our. Big Green Egg using a deflector . When I make it next time I an doubling the basting sauce for more dipping
Just made this on my gas grill! Fantastic! I love this! It was perfect! Now someone keep me from eating the whole thing!😂
Easy, delicious, and very impressive looking. A few roasted veggies and you have a “wow” company meal.
This turned out fabulous, I served with roasted sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts. I will defiantly make this again. Thinking about that glaze with some grilled shrimp!
I’ve been on the spatchcock train for a few years now for all poultry. But this glaze was an AMAZING addition!!
In the recipe it says to put glaze ingredients in a small saucepan, so I assumed this meant to heat it.. I did that, and think it helped it come together nicely. BUT it made the glaze a bit thin when trying to slather it on. So in the future I will probably not heat before basting in order to get a thicker application. I could see Ginger as a nice add to make this lean more Asian, but as is I’m planning to add to my thanksgiving spatchcocked turkey that I brine with orange and clove.
Hi Shannan. So glad you liked it! I’ve changed the instructions so that you do simmer the glaze for a few minutes to thicken it before basting as well as to concentrate the flavors. I think it would be perfect with cloves and orange for Thanksgiving.
Delicious , made for Labor Day
Could you please share what temp and time to cook this in a regular oven. Thank you.
In a regular oven, roast it on a sheet pan at 425˚F for about 45 – 55 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken. Go for 165˚F internal temperature of the chicken breast – read on an instant read thermometer.
I would really like to try this recipe but we only have a wood pellet grill. Would it be possible to make it on that? There really isn’t a way to cook on it indirectly.
You can use any grill to cook a spatchcocked chicken, just make sure you keep it on medium to low heat so the inside cooks through without burning the skin on the outside.
What alterations if cooked ln conventional oven; time and temp?
Hi Bob. If you’re cooking this in your conventional oven, I would put it on a sheet pan and roast it at 425˚F for about 45 – 55 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken. Your goal is 165˚F on an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the breast meat.