How to Cook a Spatchcock Chicken On A Pit Boss Pellet Grill (10 Simple Steps)

Is there anything tastier than a smoked chicken?

If you don’t have time to smoke a whole bird you might want to give spatchcock chicken a go.

It will give you a faster cook, crispy skin, and a deeper smoky flavor. 

The first time you prepare it might be tricky, so make sure you follow my steps below! 

What is Spatchcock Chicken?

Spatchcock chicken is a whole chicken with the backbone removed. 

This lets the chicken lie flat on the grill, like a book. The result is a quicker more even cook and a perfect way to grill chicken.

What Should I Expect?

Smoking a whole chicken takes time and care.

You have to keep an eye on the bird to prevent burning and watch the chips so they don’t run out. 

Spatchcocking the bird cuts the cooking time down.

This means your guests can enjoy your culinary delights much sooner. You also have the bird flat, so it absorbs all those delicious smoke flavors better.

How To Prepare The Chicken?

Spatchcocking is also known as butterflying chicken. To do this you start by removing any debris in the cavity and rinsing it in cold water.

Pat dry with a paper towel and lay on the cutting board, chicken breast side up, cavity facing towards you.

With a pair of the kitchen, scissors cut a straight line from the tail to the neck, to the right of the backbone. Do the same on the left side – cut through from the tail to the neck.

Remove the backbone completely. You can use this later for a chicken broth or stock.

Now you’ll need to flip the bird breast side facing up. Press down with the heel of your hand to break the breast bone.

The chicken should now be lying flat on the cutting board.

You’re now ready to go!

What About Brining?

It’s up to you whether you want to brine the bird beforehand, this will help to tenderize the chicken.

If you choose to, soak in a wet brine solution in the refrigerator overnight as an entire chicken.

After it’s brined, rinse off and pat dry with a paper towel, and prepare. I have a delicious spicy chicken brine here.

Seasoning the Bird

You can go crazy with seasoning flavors for your chicken. 

Try a nice simple combination of olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper.

Or be more adventurous with flavors like paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic, and lemon pepper.

Even your favorite seasoning and BBQ rubs go great.

For a more intense flavor, coat an hour or two before grilling. This will give the meat a chance to absorb the delicious flavors. 

Brush the chicken skin with oil and coat with seasoning.

What Wood Pellet Flavors Should I Use?

Use your favorite wood flavors. The sweet and subtle pellets like apple, cherry, or pecan work well for chicken.

They infuse the meat with a smoke flavor without overpowering it.

What Temperature Should I Cook At?

Run the pellet grill at 300-350°F. For crispy chicken skin increase the heat for the last half hour of the cooking process.

How Long Do I Cook?

Many factors determine the right cook time. The grill’s temperature, weather, direct or indirect heat, and the size of the chicken all play a part.

The best way to check if the bird is cooked is to use a digital meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.

Probe the thickest part – usually the thigh meat or breast meat.

When the internal temperature reaches 165°F the chicken is cooked enough.

Once cooked through, remove and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. You can cover it with aluminum foil to keep it warm.

Should I Flip the Bird?

Again, it’s up to you. As the chicken thighs and wingtips are no longer attached it can be a little tricky. Best attempted with some experience.

The skin will brown up regardless so it’s down to your personal preference. 

BBQ Smoked Spatchcock Chicken Recipe

 Ingredients:

  • 1 Whole Chicken
  • Your Favorite BBQ rub
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper

Method:

  • Clean, rinse, and pat dry the whole chicken well with paper towels.
  • Prepare the chicken by removing the backbone, and flattening it.
  • Apply kosher salt, pepper, or your favorite BBQ rub to both sides of the spatchcocked chicken skin.
  • Fill the hopper with pellets, start up the pellet grill, and preheat to 300-350°F. 
  • Place the spatchcocked chicken on the pellet grill grates with the breast side facing up.
  • Place an internal temperature probe into the middle of one of the chicken thighs.
  • Close the lid, and cook the spatchcocked chicken for about 1 to 2 hours.
  • When the internal temperature of the thigh has reached 165°F, remove the chicken from the pellet grill.
  • Let the chicken rest for 15-20 minutes before carving to allow the juices to distribute.
  • Carve, plate, and serve immediately. Enjoy!

BBQ Smoked Spatchcock Chicken

In a fraction of the time it takes to cook a full bird, you can be enjoying delicious smoked spatchcock chicken!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 10 mins
Course: Dinner, main, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Calories: 415kcal
Author: Charlie

Equipment

  • Pitboss Grill

Ingredients

  • 1 Whole Chicken
  • Your Favorite BBQ rub
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  • Clean, rinse, and pat dry the whole chicken well with paper towels.
  • Prepare the chicken by removing the backbone, and flattening it.
  • Apply kosher salt, pepper, or your favorite BBQ rub to both sides of the spatchcocked chicken skin.
  • Fill the hopper with pellets, start up the pellet grill, and preheat to 300-350°F.
  • Place the spatchcocked chicken on the pellet grill grates with the breast side facing up.
  • Place an internal temperature probe into the middle of one of the chicken thighs.
  • Close the lid, cook the spatchcocked chicken for about 1 to 2 hours.
  • When the internal temperature of the thigh has reached 165°F, remove the chicken from the pellet grill.
  • Let the chicken rest for 15-20 minutes before carving to allow the juices to distribute.
  • Carve, plate, and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Serve fresh from the grill with fresh roast vegetables or a green salad. Any leftover chicken meat can be stored in the refrigerator.

In a fraction of the time it takes to cook a full bird, you can be enjoying delicious smoked spatchcock chicken!

Smoke On!

Charlie

Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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