If you are looking for an epic recipe for Spatchcocked Chicken, then this recipe is for you! In this recipe for Spatchcocked Chicken I detail how I came about the lovely flavor pairing of rosemary and lemon, but first I think it is important to first first tell you that the beauty of this recipe is that it uses a SPATCHCOCKED CHICKEN which cooks evenly on the grill and offers delicious crispy skin.

If you don’t know what Spatchcocking is, it simply means that the backbone has been cut out of the chicken so it will lay flat on the grill. In my opinion this is the best way to cook a whole chicken on the grill because it cooks more evenly on the grill versus roasting and you get crispy edges on all parts of the chicken because they are touching the grill grates, versus in roasting you won’t get those crispy edges. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I also want to tell you how I discovered this flavor combo and the book that continues to inspire me as a full time recipe developer! In fact, it was my love of Citrus that led me to develop my hugely popular Sunshine State of Mind Craft BBQ Rub. If you want to push the easy button and just use this rub with butter, that is amazing too but I guarantee this recipe is worth the time investment of pairing the rosemary and lemon.

Updated 3/20/2021 🍋, originally written in 2013. This is a classic GrillGirl recipe!

The Book That Gives Me Creative Inspiration in the Kitchen and inspired this Recipe for Spatchcocked Chicken

The cookbook that has been the biggest game changer in my cooking career is actually not a cookbook at all but called the Flavor Bible, a book by Karen Page and Andrew Dournenburg that gives the best flavor pairings based on any given ingredient. I actually discovered this book before I went to compete on the first Chopped GrillMasters Edition way back in 2010, early on in my grilling journey. 

Here I am competing on Chopped Grillmasters- needless to say I got chopped but it was a cool experience!

I highly recommend this book because it teaches you to be a better cook, being able to take any ingredient you have on hand and know what works well with it, essentially allowing you to cook without needing a recipe. It was because of this book and also a Rosemary Lemon grilled quail dish I had at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival that I became obsessed with this flavor combination.


rosemary lemon finishing salt



Living in Florida and loving citrus, I came to realize that rosemary and lemon (and other citrus too) is a flavor match made in heaven, and because of this you will see this flavor combo all over this website, including my rosemary lemon grilled leg of lamb, my rosemary lemon spatchcocked turkey, and my rosemary lemon finishing salt.

I told you guys, this is my favorite flavor combo for all types of poultry and for just about anything really (lamb and seafood included!)


recipe for spatchcocked chicken


Rosemary and citrus go so well together I actually use this essential oil flavor combo in my house to get the house feeling uplifted and grounded at the same time. I even dab a few drops of these essential oils in my vacuum filter when I’m vacuuming and it makes the whole house smell fragrant! 



spatchcocked chicken

Spatchcocked chicken is the BEST and Easiest way to get evenly cooked chicken with crispy skin.

The Best Recipe for Spatchcocked Chicken 

I made this dish for the first time when our good friends Steve and Dolleen came into town from San Francisco. They gave it rave reviews and Scott said it is the BEST chicken I have ever made. I’ve made a LOT of chicken dishes so I will take that as a supreme compliment. I like to pair this with this with my side staples: grilled romaine, herbed grilled veggies and basil butter texas toast. Can’t go wrong with those! What’s your favorite way to flavor Spatchcocked Chicken on the Grill? If you love grilled chicken, then you MUST check out my Jamaican Jerk Spatchcocked Chicken recipe! Trust me, you won’t regret it!

A note on Spatchcocking, ie, butterflying a chicken so it lays flat on the grill.

Have your butcher do this for you beforehand and it will save you time and less mess in the kitchen! If you don’t do this, make sure you have a good pair of sharp poultry shears for cutting out the backbone to make this easier. Cutting out the backbone of the chicken and cracking the breast bones will make it lay flat- perfect for grilling! 

Checking for Doneness in Chicken!

If you don’t have an instant read thermometer, RUN, do not walk your mouse to Thermoworks to but an internal read thermometer so you will never have to guess if your chicken is over or under done! The first step in becoming a better griller is not overcooking your meat! You can get a good quality internal read thermometer like the Thermopop for $34 so there is no excuse!

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recipe for spatchcocked chicken

Rosemary Lemon Spatchcocked Chicken

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  • Author: Robyn
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


If the word Spatchcocking sounds odd, it really just means it is a butterfliend Chicken! This recipe for Spatchcocked Chicken fuses Rosemary and lemon to form an epic seasoning paste that makes for the best grilled chicken of your life! Trust me!


  • 1 medium sized whole chicken, that has been split at the backbone so it will lay flat for grilling (insides removed obviously, rinsed, etc). Make it easy on yourself and have the butcher split the backbone for you!
  • 2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
  • The ZEST of 2 lemons- this is really what makes it very fragrant!
  • the juice of half a lemon (you don't need much juice, mainly only the zest)
  • 3 large sprigs rosemary (when adding to the food processor, remove the leaves from the woody stem)
  • 1 tblsp smoked sea salt (if you don't have smoked sea salt, use regular sea salt NOT iodized – it is not the same- it will be too salty!)
  • 1 tblsp smoked fresh ground pepper (if you don't have smoked pepper, use regular fresh ground pepper)

NOTES: I have made this recipe with preserved lemons before and it is amazing. You simply swap regular lemons for the preserved lemons. It adds much more lemon flavor than regular lemons. However, it is not easy to make or find preserved lemons so I changed this recipe to using regular lemons instead. You can sometimes find preserved lemons at Trader Joes, they used to carry them and you can find them on amazon, then swap the lemon juice and zest for 1/4 cup preserved lemons in this recipe. The use of Preserved Lemons in this recipe make it even more over the top!



Combine all ingredients (except chicken) in a food processor until a fine seasoning paste/marinade is formed and it is a uniform consistency. Next, go ahead and take your hand (this is the un-fun part but it must be done) and separate the skin from the meat on the chicken so you can get the marinade underneath skin on all parts. Next, rub the marinade in under the chicken skin so you get marinade directly on the meat, reserving a small portion (about 2 tblsp worth) to rub on the outside of the chicken.

Prepare your grill:

Prepare your grill for direct and indirect cooking with the temperature at 350 degrees. Oil your grill grates with canola oil so the meat will not stick. Cook the chicken on indirect for about 20 minutes, flipping once in the process. Finish the final 10 minutes on direct heat (flipping once to get both sides) or until the internal temperature on the breast meat has reached 165 degrees as read by an internal read thermometer. Use a brick covered in foil to the help the chicken lay flat and get it extra crispy on the outside (you can still grill without a brick but this will help to cook more evenly).

After pulling the chicken off the grill, tent for 10 minutes so it has time to reabsorb its' juices. Serve with your favorite sides.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35-40 minutess
  • Category: Grilled Rosemary Lemon Chicken, Butterflied Grilled Chicken
  • Method: Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken
  • Cuisine: Outdoor cooking, Backyard bbq, grilled Chicken recipes

Did you enjoy making this Rosemary Lemon Spatchcocked Chicken? Check out these related posts!

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Fire Up the Pellet Grill: How to Smoke Roast Chicken Wings

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