Quick, easy and delicious on the grill, Rosemary and Lemon Spatchcock Chicken is a great recipe for grilling a whole chicken. There seem to be dozens of stories behind the origins of the term spatchcock, but the story I like the most is from 1700s Ireland.
An unexpected visitor would show up out of nowhere — hungry, of course. One would kill a bird, pluck it, remove its backbone so it lays flat, put it on the stove and have it on the table in half the normal roasting time.
Regardless of the origins of the word, spatchcock is a great way of roasting a whole bird. The technique dramatically decreases the cooking time. Whether on the grill over indirect heat or in an oven at a cooking temperature of 425F, from the time you start preheating the oven, you can have the Rosemary and Lemon Spatchcock Chicken prepped, roasted, rested and on the table, in around one hour.
Here’s how I make Rosemary and Lemon Spatchcock Chicken
- 1 whole chicken
- 3 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary, chopped
- 4 Tablespoons Butter softened
- 1 Lemon, zested
- 2 Teaspoons Salt
- 2 Teaspoons Black Pepper
-Light charcoal grill
-Place chicken breast-side down, with the legs towards you
-Using kitchen scissors or shears cut along either side of the backbone to remove it, save the backbone for stock
-Break the wishbone with your knife
-Turn the bird breast side up and just press down with the palm of your hand to make it lay flat.
-Make a shallow incision at the joint between the drumstick and thighs
-Make a shallow incision at the joint between the wings and breast
-Season inside and outside generously with salt, pepper, and brush with butter
-Pile the charcoal on one side of the grill, you don’t want the chicken to be directly over the flames.
-Place the chicken on the grill with the legs closest to the flames, but again, not over the flames
-Cover the grill and roast the chicken for 30-45 minutes, until and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh meat, reads 165F
-Let rest for about 5-10 minutes covered in aluminum foil.