Spatchcocked Chicken

I’m a little behind on my blogging.  Hopefully I can catch up soon!

Having the little guy in our life certainly makes things busy.  It’s been kind of a blessing in disguise as far as my BGE time goes, though, because I’ve taken over a good chunk of the cooking.  And when Daddy cooks, the Big Green Egg is not far away!

This meal, spatchcocked chicken, was more about the leftovers than the meal itself.  Mrs. Esquire’s mom visited to help us out a bit after the little guy was born.  While she was here she wanted to make some soups for lunches throughout the week and to leave in the freezer for the future.

But, alas – a search through the freezer revealed a severe lack of broth!  No chicken stock, no ham stock, no pork stock, no nuthin!  So on a weekday night (it’s been so long now I don’t even remember what day it was), I was called upon to grill up a chicken.

Like every good egger, I’m a big fan of beer can chicken.  For this weeknight grill, however, I needed something quicker.  So I decided to try Spatchcocked Chicken.

I’d never heard of this preparation until I saw it on Griffin’s Grub.  Basically you cut the bird up the backbone and spread it wide on the grill.  I liked the idea of a quicker cook, while preparing a whole chicken.

The day before the cook I went on a grocery run to Whole Foods.  I asked the guys at the meat counter if they could spatchcock a chicken for me.  “Do what?” they said.  “Spatchcock,” I repeated, “it’s a way of preparing a chicken.”  All three of the guys behind the counter looked at me like I was crazy.

I explained that I wanted the bird butterflied so it would lay flat on the grill.  Once I described the cut they seemed to get the idea.  One of the butchers grabbed a bird and started in.  After his first snip, however, one of the other butchers walked over, shook his head, grabbed the shears, and made the next cuts.

I stood and waited patiently.  The guy next to me at the counter muttered under his breath, “I can’t believe they didn’t know how to spatchcock a chicken.”  I rolled my eyes and feigned bewilderment.  “Seriously.”  Of course, I’d only recently learned about this preparation.  But I’m a lawyer, not a butcher!

The next night, when I was ready to start grilling, I took the chicken out of the package to rub it down.  I quickly discovered the first butcher’s mis-cut.

My spatchcock has a wonky leg!  (I’m doing my best to keep this post clean . . .)

The preparation is pretty simple.  I rubbed the bird down with a great chicken rub I have on hand.  I always try to get some rub under the skin.

I used a raised grill for this cook.  The goal was to get a little distance from the flame but to keep the benefits of a direct cook.  With a shorter cook time I feared that using the plate setter would leave my bird too pale.

I cranked the Big Green Egg up to about 4o0 degrees.  I checked the bird at about a half hour or so and it was cooking along just fine.  I didn’t know whether I would have to give it a flip.  Turned out, it wasn’t necessary.  My bird was ready after about an hour, when the breast reached 160 degrees.

For a wonky legged chicken, it was downright tasty!

I actually liked this preparation better than beer can chicken.  The skin was nice and crispy.  The skin on my beer can chicken always ends up soggy.  Too much moisture (what a rare thing in grilling)!

Mrs. Esquire liked the spatchcocked chicken too, but she still likes the beer can chicken better.  It’s not really fair to compare our preferences, though, since she doesn’t really eat the skin.

Oh – and you may be wondering about that strange thing on the cutting board with the chicken.  That’s actually the backbone.  I rubbed it up and threw it on the grill for the last fifteen minutes.  Since the point of this cook was to make soup, the backbone was one of the most important parts!

As always, thanks for reading!


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About bbqesquire

I'm a Scandinavian Plaintiff's lawyer from Minnesota living in California. Despite that background, I've become a weekend warrior on my Big Green Egg. I've started this blog to share my successes, failures, and experiments with anyone who cares to read about them.

2 responses to “Spatchcocked Chicken”

  1. griffinsgrub says :

    Looks like that burn turned out just right, even if it did have a “wonky” leg. While I was reading about your escapade at the butcher, I was thinking to myself, “I sure do hope he kept the backbone. That is perfect for using in stock” Glad to see you did. Next time, just get a pair of kitchen shears or a sharp chef knife and do it yourself. Its not difficult.

    Congrats on the lil Esquire!!

    One last thing….its GriffIn, not GriffEn. 😉

    • bbqesquire says :

      Thanks for the congrats! As I continue to expand my skills perhaps I’ll venture into spatchcocking on my own. Oh, and thanks for catching the typo. All fixed now!

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