Spatchcocked is really just a funny way of saying grilled butterflied chicken.
Much like you need to butterfly a cornish game hen (which is a small chicken) so it will lay flat on the grill, you need to do the same with a whole chicken. Removing the backbone allows the bird to lay flat so the bird can cook more evenly on the grill.
My readers know that I love anything spicy and am smitten with anything “Jerked” so when I saw this “jerk seasoning paste” recipe in Rachel Ray’s 2010 Grilling Edition (in which I was actually mentioned on page 34!) last year, I knew I had to make it. The original recipe and article was by Bill and Cheryl Jamison. I finally got around to it and the recipe below is my version of their original recipe. Just as a FYI, seasoning pastes are spices mixed with a little liquid. They are perfect for spatchcock chicken as the paste can easily be applied under the skin for flavor and then again on top of the skin for a crispy crust! Talk about extra FLA-VAH!
Jerk Paste: (this is adapted from Bill and Cheryl Jamison’s original recipe featured in Rachel Ray Mag, June Grilling Edition)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 4 scallions
- 1 tblsp allspice berries (ground is okay too)
- 1 tblsp black pepper corns
- 2 tsp dried thyme (fresh is even better)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground seasalt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- dash habanero hotsauce
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
Directions, puree all the ingredients in the order they are listed, gradually adding the olive oil at the end. Puree until the paste reaches a uniform consistency.
How to Prepare and Grill a Spatchcock Chicken:
1) Butterflying the chicken: Id recommend buying the chicken at a butcher where you can ask them to do this for you! If you don’t have them do it, you will need to use kitchen shears to cut out the backbone and then press down on the chicken with the palm of your hand to help flatten the bird.
2) Use your finger and loosen the skin on the bird, but be careful not to tear it. Rub the seasoning paste under the skin all over the chicken and then repeat on the outside of the skin. Cover the bird or put in a ziplock and let it marinate in the fridge for at least 24 hours.
3) GRILLING: Preheat your grill to medium, about 350 degrees. Grill the bird, pressing it as flat as possible and flipping/arranging every so often so no side gets too charred (at least every 10 minutes). Total cooking time should be between 35-40 minutes. After the bird reaches an interal temp of 170 at its thickest point, remove from the grill and cover with foil. Let the bird rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting so it has time to reabsorb juices.
Serve with your favorite coleslaw, grilled romaine or favorite grilled veggies and texas toast. If you make this for your family, they will think you are a grilling Goddess!