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Overhead view of a whole grilled butterflied chicken

Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken

Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken is juicy, marinated chicken that is grilled to crisp perfection before being smothered in homemade BBQ sauce. This simple method for cooking a whole chicken results in flavorful, tender pieces of meat that everyone can enjoy at your next barbecue or picnic.
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Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 605kcal
Author: Capri Lilly


  • 3-4 lb Whole chicken, spatchcocked spine and cartilage removed
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce plus more as needed

Grilled Spatchcock Marinade

  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 1-2 Oranges, juiced about 1/3 cup fresh squeezed Orange Juice
  • 8 cloves Garlic minced
  • cup Chopped parsley packed
  • 2 tbsp Paprika
  • 1.5 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Sea salt
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning or Herbs de Provence
  • 2 tsp Dried thyme
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Red Crushed Pepper optional


Preparing the Spatchcocked Chicken

  • Clean and prepare the chicken by removing any neck parts and gizzards. Be sure to rinse and dry the chicken with a towel.
  • Using kitchen shears, cut along the backbone from the tail to the neck. Cut along both sides of the backbone until it is removed completely. You can save the backbone piece to make stock or throw it away.
  • Break the breastbone. Now, flip the chicken over and break the breastbone to flatten the bird. There are two ways to do this:
    a. Easy Method: Make a small cut in the cartilage between the breast bone. Using your palms, press on both sides of the breast bone. Using your full bodyweight press down to crack the bone all the way through, breaking the rib cage. Once done, the chicken should lie completely flat.
    b. Carving Method: Using a paring knife or boning knife, cut along the cartilage and rib bones to remove it from the chicken. This way takes a bit longer but is well worth the effort.
  • Place the chicken, with its backbone removed on a plastic cutting board, breast side down. In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the marinade.
  • Pat chicken dry using a paper towel. With your hands, coat the chicken on all sides with the marinade. Place in a ziploc bag and marinade for at least 2 hrs, or overnight if time permits.

Grilling the Spatchcocked Chicken

  • Heat your grill to medium high heat.
  • Once grill is preheated, brush grates with olive oil. Grill the chicken skin side down over direct heat, until golden brown, crispy and lightly charred, about 5 minutes.
  • Then, place the chicken skin side up on the center of the grill (above the burner that is turned off)or in a place where the chicken will be in indirect heat. Close the lid and grill for 50 to 60 minutes. After about 40 minutes, you can start brushing the top of the chicken with the BBQ sauce.
    Brush the chicken with barbecue sauce two or three times, carefully flipping once if desired. Be sure to close the lid after each time.
  • Use a thermometer to make sure the chicken is fully cooked. The thermometer should be inserted into the thickest part of the chicken and read 165°F (74 degrees C)
  • Remove the chicken and let it rest for 10-15 mins before carving.
  • Enjoy!


  • Always use a thermometer to make sure the chicken is fully cooked. The thermometer should be inserted into the thickest part of the chicken and read 165°F (74 degrees C)
  • For the best results, marinate the chicken overnight. If you are limited on time, marinate for at least 2 hours before cooking. 
  • When you are ready to cook the chicken, let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking to ensure even cooking and the best results!


Serving: 1g | Calories: 605kcal | Carbohydrates: 22.3g | Protein: 41.4g | Fat: 38.9g | Saturated Fat: 9.6g | Cholesterol: 194mg | Sodium: 654mg | Potassium: 214mg | Fiber: 1.5g | Sugar: 14.7g | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 4mg