Butterflied & grilled chicken is definitely my favorite poultry application right now. I’ve actually grilled so many butterflied chickens this past summer that I have completely lost count of the exact number by now. Lucky for you, I’ve distilled all that I have learned into one handy-dandy blog post so that you can reap the rewards of my experiments.
Here is what I’ve learned so far:
- Butterflying a chicken is easily done with a pair of poultry shears, but difficult to do with a knife. Get some kitchen shears and simply cut the spine out of the chicken, then fold outwards so that the chicken lays flat.
- When grilling a whole chicken (or any other poultry that still has the skin attached) stick to dry rubs over wet marinades. This keeps the skin nice and dry so that it crisps up during the cooking process.
- Cook your chicken skin side up, and finish skin side down over low heat for a few minutes if your skin isn’t as crispy as you’d like. Make sure your grill is well oiled to prevent sticking
- Average cook time for a standard sized butterflied chicken is generally in the 50-55 minutes range. A meat thermometer is a good way to make sure you don’t overcook your chicken.
- Let that chicken rest once you take it off the heat. Generally I wrap and rest my proteins in tin foil once they come off the grill, but for chicken I like to keep it uncovered. I find when I tent a chicken in tin foil the trapped heat tends to turn the skin soggy, and nobody wants that.
- Use indirect heat to cook your chicken. Keep the grill space directly under the chicken on low, but keep the other burners on high so that you create an oven effect when you close your barbecue’s lid.
I opted to put together a basic jerk rub recipe for this bird, and I’d highly recommend anyone out there reading to do the same. There are a million recipes out there, I based mine on this one. Jerk seasoning is a fiery Caribbean blend of spices, all of which are available at your local grocery store. It tastes amazing, and its a great way to expand your spice cabinet beyond the basics. I added a bit of extra heat by roasting some habanero peppers on the bbq and then buzzing them in a food processor alongside the rest of the jerk seasoning.