Spatchcock chicken is one of my favorite ways to prepare a whole bird. For starters, it takes a lot less time to cook in this form and lays flat nicely. I also think it is a really simple and easy way to make an impressive looking meal!
You can do this easily enough in the oven, but it’s summertime after all and the grill was calling my name. I’ve made a few other recipes that are similar to this, like my Easy Weeknight Roasted Chicken and my very popular Whole Roasted Chicken Shawarma.
I love adding unique flavors to such a simple cook and was feeling inspired by Moroccan flavor profiles. You can find the full recipe for Grilled Moroccan Spatchcock Chicken below and read on for several tips and tricks for grilling this beautiful bird.
- Grill Thermometer (or meat thermometer)
- Kitchen Shears
- Wide Container (for marinating)
- Knife/ Cutting Board
Spatchcock (aka butterflied) chicken is actually fairly easy to do at home. I prefer to use high quality kitchen shears to prepare my whole chicken. Use the scissors to cut to the right of the backbone, then to the left of it to completely remove it. I like to freeze mine and save it to make homemade chicken stock.
Next, I use the kitchen shears to remove any excess neck skin or tail skin. Remove any remaining organs as well (I discard these but you can cook them up and share with your dog too). To prep the chicken and ensure a nice crispy outside, I highly recommend using a paper towel and drying off the chicken and removing any outside moisture.
This helps keep the skin dry and get nice and crunchy! Use butter or olive oil and combine it with the spices. Cover the whole chicken front and back with the marinade and allow it to hang out for several hours. I typically prep this a day ahead of time if I can, otherwise even a few hours will work fine!
To make this Grilled Moroccan Spatchcock Chicken , I took a two step approach. I started by cooking on indirect heat. This way the chicken is cooked almost all the way before giving it a nice sear to get the skin crispy.
Set your grill up for cooking on indirect heat and preheat it to 425 F. Use a thermometer probe and allow the bird to reach an internal temperature of 165 F and then remove it from the grill. I prefer to let mine rest, tented in foil for 10 minutes or so to let the juices settle before serving.
To separate the chicken into serviceable pieces, I start by removing the wings. Next, remove both legs (you can also separate the drumstick from the thigh as well). Use a nice sharp carving knife to remove the breast meat from the rib cage.
I like to slice the breast meat into pieces at an angle and plate/ serve this way so there are more opportunities to enjoy the light and dark meat. If you feel adventurous, cook some grilled veggies towards the end of grilling your bird! I made some grilled and marinated radishes (they look like potatoes but are lower carb), eggplant, tomatoes, and olives. Serve with a side of chimichurri and you’re well on your way to a spectacular summer dinner!
Enjoy this fabulous Grilled Moroccan Spatchcock Chicken friends!
- 4 lb Whole Chicken (smaller birds work best)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 3 Tbsp Olive Oil or Softened Butter
- Grilled Vegetable Pairings: Eggplant, Tomatoes, Radishes, and Olives
- Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Use a sharp pair of kitchen shears or a sharp knife to cut/slice to the right and left of the back bone. Remove the bone and freeze for chicken stock. Trim any excess neck skin and tail skin and discard. Remove any organs that remain and discard.
- Open the bird up and place it so the back side is down. Push on the breast bones from the front to help crack the rib cage so the bird lays flat.
Place a skewer across the bottom through both leg muscles. This helps with flipping on the grill so the legs don't fall off (morbid...I know).
- In a bowl, combine the oil or butter and all the seasonings. Coat the chicken front and back with the marinade. Allow the chicken to marinade overnight if possible or for a least 2-4 hours before grilling.
- Preheat your grill (for indirect cooking) to 425 F. Insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken breast.
- Place the chicken over indirect heat and allow it to reach an internal temperature of 165 F. Remove from the grill, tent with foil, and let the chicken rest 10 minutes.
- Slice the chicken by removing each wing, the leg, and then separate the drumstick from the thigh. Use a carving knife to cut along the breast bone to remove each chicken breast. Slice the breast meat into serviceable pieces. Accompany the Moroccan inspired chicken with grilled vegetables and chimichurri sauce.