I enjoy BBQing up a variety of proteins and chicken is one that gets much love in my household (even though it may not on my social media accounts). I love cooking chicken spatchcocked and this Spatchcocked Lemon Garlic Chicken is a simple recipe that packs great flavor. I have partnered with the folks at Twist’d Q to come up with this Spatchcocked Lemon Garlic Chicken recipe using their Crazy Chick Lemon Garlic seasoning.
CHOOSING A CHICKEN
You can find a whole chicken at pretty much any grocery store. They sometimes are labeled as “fryer”, “broiler”, or “roaster”. What’s the difference? Mainly, the size. Fryer and broiler-labeled chickens are smaller, usually around 2-4 lbs while roaster chickens are 5-7 lbs.
You may see birds that are labeled as “natural”, but that is a very loose term because the USDA does not regulate it. In other words, every chicken can be labeled as natural. The organic ones are naturally raised (no antibiotics, hormones, etc.) in a free-range environment and fed organically. This also means the organic ones will cost about three times as much, too. Choose how fancy (and healthy) you want the bird to be.
WHAT DOES ‘SPATCHCOCKED” MEAN?
If you could filet a whole chicken, spatchcocking it would be the closest way to do it. Spatchcocking is fairly easy, you turn the bird onto it’s front and cut out the backbone. This can be done using some sharp kitchen scissors (and a tight sqeeze of the hand). Don’t have kitchen scissors? Using a chef’s knife and cutting along the sides of the spine should do the trick. For more about how to spatchcock a bird, check out my blog post about…well, spatchcocking a bird.
PREPPING A SPATCHCOCKED CHICKEN
Now that you have the chicken flattened by spatchcocking it, get some olive oil and rub enough on the chicken to lightly coat it. This will help the seasoning to stick to the bird and also help give it a little crispier-looking skin while it cooks. Once that is done, take your Crazy Chick Lemon Garlic seasoning packet and use most of the packet to coat the skin.
The remainder of the seasoning I like to put under the skin where the breast section is. To get under the skin, you will want to take your fingers (preferably with a nitrile glove on) where the cavity of the head is and start separating the skin from the meat by wiggling your fingers around until you get an initial break in the fascia that keeps the skin and muscle together. Once you get through that, you can move your hand down most of the white meat. I like to take an icing spatula and put a tablespoon of butter on it and spread it around on one side of the chicken breast. Then I take another tablespoon and spread it on the other side of chicken breast (left side or right side). Then I take the rest of the seasoning packet and pour the remainder in between the skin and the meat. Massage it in there if you need.
FIRE UP THE GRILL!
Before prepping the spatchcocked lemon garlic chicken, it would be best to get your grill up to temp. For this bird, I’m using my pellet grill and getting it up to 375F with pecan smoke. Once the grill is up to temp, take your flattened bird and lay it on the grill with the front of it facing up. Cooking times can vary on the size of the bird: if the bird is 2-4 lbs, it should take about 45 minutes to an hour; if 5-7 lbs., try 90 minutes.
Ultimately, using a digital thermometer to check the middle of the thickest portionof the white meat is the best way to determine doneness. The USDA recommends internal temps for poultry to be 165F, but there are chefs out there that usually pull off the grill a little under that because thicker meat tends to cook internally a few degrees after it is removed from the cooking chamber (in this case, our grill).
REST, THEN SLICE
With most meats, it’s important to let it rest before digging in. A couple of reasons why is 1) the meat will most likely continue to cook a little more internally and 2) as the meat cools down the juices build up. In the case of this spatchcocked lemon garlic chicken, let it rest about 20 minutes before slicing into it. If you want to add a little more lemon-y flavor, squeeze a quarter of a lemon on top while resting.
- - 1 whole chicken, 2-4 lbs.
- - 1 Tbsp olive oil
- - 1 packet Crazy Chick Lemon Garlic by Twist'd Q
- - 3 Tbsp butter
- - 1/4 lemon, squeezed
- Remove whole chicken from packaging. If not brining, rinse bird. If you want to brine, check notes for a simple brine recipe.
- Preheat grill to 375F on indirect heat. Back to the chicken, cut backbone out of chicken by placing bird front side down on the cutting board and using either kitchen scissors or a chef's knife, cut along one side of the backbone all of the way down Repeat on other side. Remove backbone and pull the two sides apart. Turn chicken around and push down to help flatten the bird a little.
- Pour olive oil on the chicken and spread around with either your hand or a food brush. Open packet of Twist'd Q Crazy Chick Lemon Garlic and use 3/4 of packet to spread across the outside of the bird.
- Using hand, start to dig your fingers under the skin of the bird on top the cavity where the head used to be. Wiggle fingers to separate skin from the chicken breast meat and slide down on left side of the chicken breast. Repeat on the right side. Once done, use an icing spatula with a tablespoon of butter and slide in between skin and breast meat, massaging in from the outside of the skin. Repeat process on other side. Pour remainer of packet under skin.
- With grill up to temp, lay chicken on grill front side up and cook for an hour or until internal temp on thickest part of white meat reaches 161F. Remove from grill and let rest for 20 minutes before slicing. Squeeze 1/4 lemon on turkey to taste (optional).
- Brining the bird is recommended, but not mandatory. You can create a simple brine by using one cup of kosher salt and one cup of sugar per one gallon of water. Brining in a five gallon bucket is ideal.
- To keep tips of wings and bottoms of legs from burning, wrap them in foil
- Spritz with apple juice and/or apple cider vinegar once during the cook to help keep meat from drying out.