How to spatchcock a chicken
Spatchcock Chicken is great for smoking because it delivers perfectly cooked chicken with a faster cook time! Plus, prepping the chicken this way means more of its surface area is exposed, really infusing it with delicious smoky flavor.
What is spatchcock chicken?
Spatchcock chicken is a chicken with its backbone removed, also referred to as butterflying chicken. This way, you can open it up and lay it flat on the grill or smoker.
Not only does it mean less time cooking, but also allows for a more even cook, resulting in tender chicken with lots of smoky flavor.
Meat selection for spatchcock chicken
To make spatchcock chicken, you’ll need a whole chicken.
Most grocery stores carry whole chicken ranging from 2.5 to 6 pounds. Cooking times will vary, but the technique will be the same across the board.
How to spatchcock a chicken
Using a pair of sharp kitchen shears, start from the top of the bird and cut out the neck/backbone all the way down the tail on both sides, removing it completely.
After a little practice, removing the rib bones with the shears becomes easier. We recommend snipping the tips of the wings off, which allows more areas of exposed skin to get crispy. Once the bones are removed, open the chicken, and lay it out flat.
How to season spatchcock chicken
There are several ways you can approach this. Whether you choose to brine or use a dry rub or marinade, all methods on a spatchcock chicken will produce similar results so the choice is yours.
The main thing to consider is how much time you want to spend on this process. Most brine and marinades call for 6 to 24 hours in the refrigerator. With a dry rub, you can be ready to hit the grate almost immediately. We recommend our Pit Boss Chicken and Poultry Rub or our all-purpose GSP Rub for ultimate flavor.
Which hardwood pellet blend is best for spatchcock chicken?
When it comes to picking the right hardwood pellet blend for cooking spatchcock chicken, we recommend choosing a blend that offers medium or light smoke so as not to overpower the protein. Pit Boss Apple Blend or Fruitwood Blend Hardwood Pellets are excellent choices because they pack a mild, fruity flavor that perfectly pairs with poultry. And if you’re wondering why you should fuel up with Pit Boss pellets, learn more about that here.
How long does spatchcock chicken take to cook?
When cooking chicken, we recommend a higher temperature of 350°F to 400°F to yield crispy skin.
Using a calibrated thermometer, insert your thermometer in the thicker side of the breast close to, but not touching, the breastbone. The bones naturally remove heat in the cooking process, so placing your thermometer too close to the breastbone may give an inaccurate temperature.
After reaching an internal temperature of 165°F, remove chicken from the smoker and allow to rest for 10 to 15 mins before carving.