Monday, April 27, 2009

Spatchcock Chicken

Everyone talks about "beer butt chicken" or "drunken chicken" like it is the ultimate in grilled/roasted chicken. Part of the hype is just the entertainment value. Ha ha we stuck a can up a chicken's butt, ya get it? The other spiel is that the moisture contents in the can guarantee a juicy bird.But in my opinion, in order to get the best grilled chicken ever, you don't need a fancy rotisserie grill and you don't need to put Milwaukee's Best up Rhode Island's finest. The one thing I don't like about beer butt chicken is.....well here let me show you with this scientific graphic developed at a leading think tank.Okay, I might have made this one myself....

Most grills, smokers, and cookers have a temperature difference between the dome/cover temp and the actual temperature at the grate where the food actually cooks, because duh, heat rises. The difference with the Big Green Egg is about 25 degrees between dome and grate temp. So with beer butt chicken, the chicken isn't cooking at even temps from top to bottom.

So how do you ensure a juicy, evenly cooked bird? Three steps.


Brine the chicken for 6-8 hours. I use a simple brine of
1 gallon water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon black pepper

Rinse and dry the bird.

Spatchcock the chicken. This means butterflying it by cutting out the backbone and flattening it out. That way it cooks at an even temp from top to bottom. I was going to do a video but this one does it perfectly.


Season the bird with your favorite poultry rub and cook it on indirect heat (this night I put a deep dish pizza pan between the fire and the chick chick) at 350f degrees until the internal temp of the chicken registers 165f in the breast or 180f in the thigh. Even if you do this in an oven, it's better than sticking a whole chicken in a roasting pan.You'll have a succulent, evenly roasted chicken that will ROCK.To serve, I quarter mine by splitting down the breastbone in half and then cutting the halves at an angle under the thigh.

I have to say that my smoked chicken is even better but that takes 3-4 times as long so in the middle of the week? This works for me!

Sometimes I make an extra chicken just to make sure we have leftovers for things like fettuccine alfredo with roasted chicken:) (yeah, we went way too heavy on the sauce tonight, my bad)
So give a spatchcocked chicken a try for the perfect roasted chicken! And on that I'll leave on a quote that I once read on a food forum:

"I told my father-in-law that I spatchcocked a chicken and he said, 'Oh yeah? I just bitch slapped a sirloin'."

For printable version, click here:
Spatch-cock Chicken