As the days grow longer with sunlight and the temperatures rise, the urge to grill begins to grow among many people. While “Grill Masters” have grilled all year-long, many of their friends and neighbors have been holed up in their warm cozy homes waiting for the winter thaw. Every now and then, the smell of a freshly lit grill will fill the neighborhood with that unmistakable aroma that means something delicious is on the way. The smart neighbors become friendly with their nearby grill masters and always find a way to venture outside to see “what’s cooking?” Grilling using unique methods has a way to bring people together as they inspect the process or the cook’s meat of the day being prepared. Grilled chicken will always create the aroma to bring out the neighbors.
Perfect Grilled Chicken
There are many ways to grill and many cuts of meat to use. Chicken is one of the most popular choices for grillers. It’s delicious on the grill and can be done many ways involving bone-in, boneless, or even whole chickens. What we’re going to focus on is the best way to grill whole chickens. It’s called “spatch-cocking”, and results in chicken that is moist and delicious.
Spatch-Cocking Your Bird
The term “spatch-cocking” refers to the method of splitting a chicken in half and grilling it opened and flat. This method keeps all the parts together and helps keep the juices in the bird while it cooks. You will need some sharp kitchen shears or a sharp knife to get your chicken ready to grill. For more info on the spatch-cocking process check out this from The Spruce
“Scholars are unsure of the exact origin of the term, but most agree it dates back to 18th-century Ireland. The word is used as a verb, (ie., to spatchcock a chicken), as an adjective, (as in spatchcocked chicken), and as a noun on its own (like in “the finished spatchcocked bird”).”
- 1 Whole Chicken
- Olive oil
- Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
- Granulated Garlic
- Black Pepper
- Cajun Seasoning (for spicier chicken)
Grilled Chicken Prep Time
- Take the knife or shears and cut along next to the backbone on one side. You can completely remove the backbone if you choose or leave it on the bird.
- Rinse the chicken in water and dry with paper towels
- Give the chicken a light coating of olive oil and your seasonings all over inside and out.
- Set up your grill to cook indirect with 30-35 briquettes on one side of your grill. Light the charcoal and wait for that “perfect grey”.
- Once your coals are ready, place your chicken on the opposite side of the grill away from the heat. Cover the grill with the lid making sure to leave the vents open above the chicken.
You can also use wood chips to add smoke flavor to your chicken as another option. Mesquite or apple wood chips work really well with all poultry.
After the grilling begins, be sure to check back on the chicken every 30-40 minutes to “make the flip”. Turning the bird over as you go will ensure even grilling, and it also is a good time to add more wood chips if you’re smoking. Grilling time will vary, but should take 2-3 hours tops. Use a meat thermometer to check the thickest part of the chicken. You will want to take the bird off the grill as soon as it reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
Allow your bird to rest for five minutes and then carve it up into halves or quarters. Serve with your favorite side dishes such as baked beans, cole slaw, or potato salad.
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