ZESTY GRILLED SPATCHCOCK CHICKEN, ROASTED BACON & BRUSSELS SPROUTS, and SKILLET CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE (all on the grill)

Zesty Grilled Spatchcock Chicken, roasted bacon & Brussels sprouts, skillet chocolate chip cookie
This complete meal was cooked up on the pellet grill at 375 degrees.

This post is sponsored by Kingsford and I used Kingsford Wood Pellets for cooking all of these recipes in this post.

Most folks who cook on the grill primarily use it for meats. While cooking meat on the grill is my jam, just know you can use your grill to cook other foods as well. In this post, I put together a whole meal you can cook on one grill at the same cooking temps throughout. We start with a zesty spatchcocked chicken, then bacon & Brussels sprouts, and then finish it off with a skillet chocolate chip cookie for dessert! I will break down the cooking for each dish separately and all recipe cards will be at the end of each section. Used Kingsford wood pellets for each of these recipes

Grilled Zesty Spatchcock Chicken

Zesty Grilled Spatchcock chicken coming off the grill.
This zesty grilled spatchcock chicken getting pulled off the grill when internal temp of white meat reaches 161 degrees (carryover temps take it to 165).

In the BBQ world, chicken doesn’t get as much love as it should. Don’t get me wrong, I do love me a good brisket and some pulled pork, but spatchcock chicken is a winner to cook because not only is it super flavorful, but it’s also cheap to buy and quicker to grill.

Before you cook the chicken, it is important to note that you will want to brine the bird overnight. I suggest you buy your chicken the day before and brine it before you go to bed. Brining helps bring more flavor to the bird and adds much needed moisture to the white meat parts. You can do either a wet or dry brine, but for this recipe I’m using a wet brine. Simply get a food grade bucket (preferably five gallon size) and fill it with two gallons of water, one cup of kosher salt, one cup of sugar, a couple of tablespoons of Santa Maria seasoning, and a cut up lime. Stir these ingredients together and place the chicken in brine. Place bucket in fridge to keep cool for at least 18 hours. NOTE: you don’t have to spatchcock the chicken for the brine as this can be done afterward.

Pouring Kingsford wood pellets into the hopper of my pellet grill.
Pouring Kingsford wood pellets into the hopper of my pellet grill. Note that I used the Classic blend (hickory, oak, and cherry).

When it’s time to cook your grilled zesty spatchock chicken, make sure you have begun to preheat your pellet grill to 375 degrees on indirect heat using Kingsford Wood Pellets (I used the Classic blend of hickory, oak, and cherry). Also, take the bird out of the bucket and rinse it off. This way, the bird doesn’t taste too salty. Once done, place on a large cutting board.

To spatchcock, the bird, get a sharp pair of kitchen scissors or a sharp chef’s knife. Either way, make sure you use a sturdy, sharp blade. turn the chicken on it’s front and press down hard on the spine. Doing this will help break bones in the back of the chicken and make it easier to cut. Then take your scissors (or knife) and cut along one side of the spine from bottom to top. Repeat on the other side of the spine. Once this is done, turn the bird back over and make sure the legs fold inward (they will be much looser since disconnected from the spine).

Prepping the zesty grilled spatchcock chicken by applying some zesty Italian dressing.
After rinsing off the brine, spatchcock the chicken and apply some zesty Italian dressing along with some Santa Maria seasoning.

With the bird spatchcocked, it’s time to make it zesty! Get a bottle of zesty Italian dressing and pour over the chicken, enough to cover the whole bird. the zesty Italian dressing is runny so you shouldn’t have to use a ton. Spread with either your hand or with a basting brush. Then bust out the seasoning and put on a moderate amount. I like to use Santa Maria seasoning, but feel free to personalize this recipe and use whichever seasoning or rub floats your boat.

Now that the bird is spatchcocked and seasoned, it’s time to place on the grill. Make sure to place the chicken on one side of the grill with enough space to add the pan (or skillet) of bacon & Brussels sprouts (we’ll get to the side dish very soon). Cook the chicken until internal temp at center of the thickest part of the chicken breast reaches 161 degrees. This could take just over an hour. I like to spritz the bird once or twice with a 50/50 mixture of apple juice and apple cider vinegar.

Applying some Italian dressing to the spatchcock chicken while on the grill.
Apply another round of zesty Italian dressing to the spatchcock chicken with about 30 minutes to go.

With about 20-30 minutes left in the cook, I like to apply another round of zesty Italian dressing to the spatchcock chicken to help the flavor cook in. When bird reaches 161 degrees in the white meat portion, remove the spatchcock chicken from the grill and place on a cutting board to rest for about 15 minutes prior to slicing. This is done to help the moisture build up inside for maximum juicy flavor. Also, the meat will get a few degrees hotter due to carryover temps and will reach the desired 165 degrees the USDA recommends for poultry.

Yield: 6 servings

Zesty Grilled Spatchcock Chicken

Zesty Grilled Spatchcock Chicken

Cooking a whole chicken on the grill and getting great flavor is simple to achieve with this recipe! Brine overnight, season with zesty Italian dressing and Santa Maria seasoning and you'll have one tasty bird to feast on!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • FOR BRINE:
  • 2 gallons water
  • 1 Cup kosher salt
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Santa Maria seasoning
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • FOR GRILL:
  • 1 whole chicken (around 5 lbs)
  • 1/2 Cup zesty Italian dressing
  • 2 Tablespoons Santa Maria seasoning

Instructions

  1. Brine whole chicken by combining water, kosher salt, sugar, seasoning, and lime in a large food-grade bucket. Place chicken in brine and place in fridge overnight.
  2. Once brining is done, remove chicken from brine and rinse. Preheat grill to 375 degrees over indirect heat. Spatchcock chicken by removing spine from the back. Flip chicken over and apply zesty Italian dressing and Santa Maria seasoning. Place on grill. Spritz occasionally with mixture of apple juice and apple cider vinegar. Apply zesty Italian dressing with about an hour in. Cook until internal temp in thickest part of white meat reaches 161 degrees (carryover temp will get bird up to 165). Rest 15 minutes before carving.

Notes

1. This can be cooked on a pellet grill, regular grill with indirect heat, or even the oven. For best results, cook on grill to get wood smoke-infused flavor.

2. If you don't have Santa Maria seasoning, then your favorite seasoning or rub for chicken will work just fine.

3. You can spatchcock chicken either before or after the brine.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6 servings

Serving Size:

6 oz

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 374Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 160mgSodium: 320mgCarbohydrates: 0.1gFiber: 0gProtein: 40g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

Roasted Bacon & Brussels Sprouts

Roasted bacon & Brussels sprouts finishing up on the grill.
If you didn’t like Brussels sprouts before, this recipe just might change your perspective!

Folks seem to have a love – hate relationship with Brussels sprouts. I used to despise them for a long time, but that was before I learned how to cook them right. When Brussels sprouts are cooked properly, they will change the way you perceive the green vegetable. Adding bacon sure helps, too!

The key to eating a tasty dish of bacon & Brussels sprouts is to roast them. This can easily be done on your grill when cooked in a pan or baking sheet. To prep the Brussels sprouts, take one pound of them and peel off the outer leaves and discard. Rinse off the Brussels sprouts and pat dry. Then cut the sprouts in half with a knife and place in a bowl. Also put any extra leaves that fall off in the bowl, too (they get crunchy roasted easily and taste good). In the bowl, drizzle olive oil, a quarter of a freshly squeezed lime, kosher salt, and minced garlic. Mix together. I like to use a smaller baking sheet that fits one pound of cut up Brussels sprouts perfectly. Before placing sprouts on baking sheet, drizzle some olive oil on there so they don’t stick. Now put the sprouts on there in one even layer. Cut up four strips of thick cut bacon in 1/2 inch squares or 1×1/2 rectangles (like I did). spread evenly over the baking sheet, preferably on the surface of the sheet where space between Brussels sprouts can be found.

Bacon & Brussels sprouts ready to hit the grill.
Bacon & Brussels sprouts ready for roasting on the grill.

Place the sheet of bacon & Brussels sprouts on the grill next to the zesty Italian spatchcock chicken and cook for 20-25 minutes, flipping sprouts over once during the cook. Keep the grill temp at 375 degrees. Do this to get more of that roasted texture on both sides. That extra crust will add to the experience. If the roasted bacon & Brussels sprouts are finished before the chicken is ready, then cover baking sheet with aluminum foil and keep warm in your oven. No one wants cold, soggy, Brussels sprouts. I’m certain you will love the flavor of this side dish and you’ll want to roast your Brussels sprouts from now on!

Yield: 6 servings

Roasted Bacon & Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Bacon & Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels sprouts are a great way to eat this vegetable. But add bacon and garlic to them and you've got a side dish worth diving into! NOTE: this recipe can be cooked on either the grill or oven.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 4 strips thick cut bacon, cut into 1x1/2 inch rectangles
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice

Instructions

1. Preheat grill to 375 degrees over indirect heat. Prep Brussels sprouts by removing outer leaves and slice sprouts in half. Combine in a bowl with olive oil, garlic, lime juice, and kosher salt. Mix and place on a greased 9x12 baking pan. Place cut up bacon slices on pan mixed with Brussels sprouts.

2. Place on grill and cook for 25 minutes, turning sprouts over halfway through to get roasted flavor on both sides. Remove when done and serve.

Notes

1. Feel free to substitute cast iron skillet for baking sheet.

2. Keep excess leaves from Brussels sprouts in mix and cook. They make for nice little crunchy pieces to snack on.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6 servings

Serving Size:

3 oz

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 75Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 250mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 3gProtein: 7g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

Skillet chocolate chip cookie fresh off the grill and topped with the essentials.
Skillet chocolate chip cookie fresh off the grill and topped with the essentials.

What better way to top off an epic grilled meal than with a giant chocolate chip cookie you cooked on the grill? This one is fun to make. You simply need a medium or large-sized cast iron skillet and a chocolate chip cookie recipe. For this skillet chocolate chip cookie, I start by combining a stick of room temperature butter, a half cup of sugar, and a one-fourth cup of brown sugar and mix in a bowl (I like to use my stand mixer for this). Then I crack an egg and pour it in along with a teaspoon of vanilla (I prefer Mexican vanilla because I like the subtle difference in flavor) and mix some more. After that is done, I drop in 1 1/4 Cup of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and mix. Then I pour in half a bag of chocolate chips (about two cups) and mix some more.

Chocolate chip cookie dough pressed evenly into the skillet and ready to hit the grill.
Chocolate chip cookie dough pressed evenly into the skillet and ready to hit the grill.

Now that the cookie dough is ready, I take a cast iron skillet that is roughly 10 inches in size and rub in a light layer of vegetable oil. Next, I put enough cookie dough in to create an even layer along the bottom of the inside of the skillet. You will most likely have some excess cookie dough. Just consider that bonus cookies. Since your pellet grill is likely still on and those Kingsford wood pellets are keeping that aroma going, place the skillet on the grill and cook for about 10 minutes or until you see the edges show the very first signs of browning. It may seem a little early to pull out but remember that cast iron skillets hold heat for a long time and that will keep the cookie cooking for a little bit after it’s been pulled out.

To serve, you can either grab a plastic spatula and carefully scrape out of the skillet and eat it that way (whether you slice it into pizza-like slices or eat whole is up to you) or eat it right out of the pan. For me, I like to keep the skillet chocolate chip cookie in the pan and top it with vanilla ice cream and drizzle caramel and chocolate syrups on top. You can grab a few spoons and share with your family and friends or just take one spoon and keep it to yourself (once again, up to you. I won’t judge).

Yield: 6 servings

Skillet Grilled Chocolate Chip Cookie

Skillet chocolate chip cookie fresh off the grill and topped with the essentials.

Take your chocolate chip cookie to the next level by cooking the cookie dough in a cast iron skillet on your grill with a touch of hickory smoke! And topping with ice cream when done! Note: can be done in either grill (indirect heat) or oven.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1/4 Cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 Cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Cups chocolate chips
  • FOR TOPPINGS:
  • 3 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • chocolate syrup, to taste
  • caramel syrup, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill to 375 degrees on indirect heat. In a mixing bowl, place butter, sugar, and brown sugar and mix. Then add vanilla and egg. Mix. Finally, add flour, baking soda, salt and mix. Finally, add chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed.
  2. Press cookie dough evenly into medium-to-large greased cast iron skillet and put on grill. Cook for 10 minutes or until edges start to get light brown. Remove and rest five minutes before topping with ice cream and syrups (chocolate and caramel).

Notes

1. This recipe is designed for cooking indirect heat on a grill, but can be done in an oven.

2. Cast iron skillet with hold heat for a while, so remove cookie when edges are light brown because cookie will continue to cook for a little longer.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6 servings

Serving Size:

8 oz

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 590Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 400mgCarbohydrates: 80gFiber: 2.5gSugar: 40gProtein: 10g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

What, Why, How: Spatchcock a bird

Spatchcocked birds cook faster!

When it comes to smoking a bird, you may of heard some people mention spatchcock. It’s a funny word for sure, but what is it exactly mean? Well, you’ve come to the right place. I’m going to explain the what, why, and how of spatchcocking.

What? Simply put, spatchcock is the method of flattening the bird by removing the backbone (some also remove the sternum).

Why? Flattening the bird helps it cook faster and for smoking reasons can help get that smoke flavor to the inside meat better.

How? To effectively remove the backbone of the bird, you’ll want to lay the bird chest side down (NOTE: make sure you have at least brined the bird before putting on the grill).

The bird is face down on the board (can it still be face down if it no longer has a face?).

Next, you’ll want to grab a chef’s knife or whichever knife you feel is sturdy enough to cut through bone (while I do own a Japanese-style Santoku knife, I refrain from using it to cut bone because the blade is so thin and this style has been known to chip when cutting harder objects). You will want to feel for the backbone by rubbing your fingers down the middle of the back and cut close to the left and right of the spine, respectively.

Using a sharp, sturdy knife (like this chef’s knife) sure is helpful.

If you’re having a hard time finding the spine, you can always look in the cavity of the bird to help guide you. Not only do you want a decent sharpness to the blade, but you’ll need to apply some pressure on the blunt part of the blade to help crack those bones so you can cut through completely (NOTE: if you’re like me and have a spouse who cringes at the sound of breaking bones of a dead bird, then you may want to give a warning. Not that I speak from experience or anything).

Spatchcocked and ready to flip over for smoking! Notice the backbone is removed.

Dispose of the backbone and you are now ready to prep your bird however you like and put on the smoker!

Spatchcocked bird getting some pecan smoke!

Smoked Chicken Wings

 

Smoked chicken wings...and drumsticks!
Smoked chicken wings…and drumsticks!

I’ve been looking for an excuse to smoke chicken wings because my family isn’t big on eating them. Wings always remind me of watching sports with friends and family and I figured the best time to make these is when we gather for a big game. But it’s March and being a baseball and college football fan, neither of my favorite sports are in season.  Fortunately, the NCAA basketball tournament came to the rescue! Since most of us who fill out brackets pay little attention to college hoops and suddenly think we’re experts and tune in once March Madness begins, this would be a great time to have people over and cook up some wings. I had those intentions, but life’s been a little crazy ever since my wife and I welcomed our newborn twins into this world earlier this month. After a little bit of effort, I convinced the Mrs. to let me do a food experiment with them. I’m sure it had nothing to do with her being exhausted at all. I followed a chicken wing recipe of Jeff Phillips at www.smoking-meat.com and deviated just a little from it.

Meat: 3.5 lbs. Chicken wings (and drumsticks)

Ingredients (marinade): 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup rub

Ingredients (glaze): 1/2 cup BBQ sauce, 1/2 cup ginger ale, 2 Tablespoons of honey

Wood: Pecan

Smoke Temp.: 240°F/115.6°C

Time: 2 hours

Broiler (optional): 2-3 minutes each side

Finish Temp.: 170°F/76.6°C

When looking for chicken wings, I just went to my local grocery store and picked up a package of Tyson brand, although any brand should do. I like the meat on drumsticks and they are easier for me to eat, so I picked up a pack of those, as well. All in all, I have about 3.5 pounds of meat.

As long as they're not expired, any brand of wings will do.
As long as they’re not expired, any brand of wings will do.

I brought these home and tossed them in a gallon-sized ziploc bag, which fit all the meat with room to spare. Next, I tossed about 1/3 C olive oil and 1/2 C of rub, which I did a mix of both Plowboys Yardbird Rub and Loot N’ Booty Gold Star Chicken Rub because…well, because I can. I zipped up the bag and put it in the fridge overnight.

These wings are in the bag.
These wings are in the bag.

Next, I went out to the smoker, heated up some coals, threw on some pecan wood, got it to about 240°F, and put the wings in.

Ain't no thing but a chicken wing.
Ain’t no thing but a chicken wing.

At about the 90-minute mark, I made a glaze that was a simple mix of BBQ sauce, honey, and ginger ale.

Here are the three amigos I used for the glaze.
Here are the three amigos I used for the glaze.

Thirty minutes later (two hours total), and moving them a little closer to the firebox, the wings got to the temp I was looking for, which is between 170-180°F. This is a little warmer than the 165°F that poultry is considered done at, but heating it up to the 170-180°F range gives it more of a fall-off-the-bone chew to it. Even though these are now technically done, I pull them off the smoker and put them in the broiler to get more of a crispy skin that wings usually have.

On the tanning bed ready to get a little crispy.
On the tanning bed ready to get a little crispy.

I put them in for a couple of minutes on each side to get more crisp. However, it didn’t seem to do much. I’ve come to learn that smoked wings won’t get the same crisp that good old-fashioned wings do, but the flavor of your favorite wood infused into your chicken will more than make up for it. I chose pecan because I love that mild, tasty flavor it brings. Feel free to use your favorite, but I do recommend at least trying the pecan.

Smoked chicken wings...and drumsticks!
The finished product tasted just as good as it looked!

Give it a shot and feel free to share what you think!