How To Butterfly And Spatchcock Chicken

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How To Spatchcock A Chicken

When it comes to cooking in the electric smoker or on the on the grill some things are much easier than others. Like steaks and burgers for example. They are flat, solid and generally uniform in thickness. This allows for even heat distribution and relatively easy cooking. Then you have things like chicken and turkey. They are a whole different ballgame. They are hollow on the inside, they have thin parts, thick parts and all types of different bones. Don’t even get started on the skin which is completely different again!

All these different parts, cook times &  the risk of salmonella can be a real turn off for a lot of people who do not have a lot of experience with cooking chicken. So, for this type of meat, one solution is to cook each part individually. This guarantees each part gets the love it needs. However, sometimes you need to have the bird in one piece and look presentable. To achieve this you want to use a method known as spatchcocking or to butterfly chicken.

We recommend ditching the oven and using a grill or use the electric smoker (our favourite) to cook your spatchcock chicken or turkey you get beautiful browning on both sides of the bird, a moister & evenly cook, and it just looks damn tasty, to be honest.

How To Prepare A Spatchcocked Chicken

1) If you are using frozen chicken you want to know how to safely defrost your meat. You have your friends and families health in your hands!

2) First, you need to identify what side of the bird you are looking at. You know it is the breast side up when the drumsticks and wing tips are pointing upwards.

2) Get the bird into the breast side down position, the drumstick and wing tips will be pointing down.

3)  In the centre of the bird you will feel a spine running down the full way down the length. Make a cut the full length down one side of the spine, leaving ½ – 1 inch to the spine.

4)  Make the same cut on the other side of the spine.

5)  Remove the spine from the bird and spread open the cavity. Clean out any muck off the spine and set aside for making gravy or stocks.

6)  Flip the bird so the breast side is facing upwards.

7)  With both hands firmly press down on the bird’s breastbone until you hear a crack.

8)  Congratulations you have just spatchcocked your first bird! The bird is not ready for your choice of seasoning or marinade. Remember if you are using chicken to always wash all utensils, surfaces and your hands!

Tip: Remove the wing tips and add them to a pot along with the neck, spine, gizzard and heart for a really tasty stock or soup base.

How To Cook Spatchcock Chicken

1) Once you have your butterflied chicken seasoned/marinated place it skin side down in the centre of the grill.

2) Let the bird cook for around 18 – 20 minutes or until nicely charred. The secret here is to leave the bird on the grill. Don’t touch it. This will cause the bird to stick to the grill.

3) Flip the bird and cook for a further 5 – 7 minutes, or until the chicken has an internal temperature of 165°F

4) Enjoy your first Spatchcocked bird!


As much as we love smoking spatchcock, our favourite bird would have to be the turkey! Check out step by step to smoking a turkey, this one is a winner with the kids everytime

Happy smoking


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