Master the Grill: The Ultimate Smoky BBQ Spatchcocked Whole Chicken Recipe

Master the Grill: The Ultimate Smoky BBQ Spatchcocked Whole Chicken Recipe

In the realm of outdoor cooking, few dishes hold the allure and flavor profile that a well-prepared whole chicken possesses. Among the techniques that stand out, spatchcocking—a centuries-old culinary practice—has emerged as a game-changer, reshaping the way we approach grilling and BBQ. Enter the enchanting world of the Smoky BBQ Spatchcocked Whole Chicken, a recipe that marries tradition with innovation, transforming your backyard gatherings into unforgettable feasts.

The Art of Spatchcocking: A Glimpse into History

The history of spatchcocking traces back to early Ireland, where it was known as “dispatch cock” due to the quick cooking it allowed. This technique involves removing the backbone of the chicken and flattening it, creating a uniform thickness that ensures even cooking. The result is a succulent, juicy interior and an irresistibly crispy skin—a masterpiece that every grill enthusiast aspires to achieve.

Why It’s Popular: A Symphony of Flavor and Technique

The popularity of the Smoky BBQ Spatchcocked Whole Chicken is rooted in its marriage of age-old technique and modern flavor profiles. Spatchcocking not only reduces cooking time but also guarantees an evenly cooked bird, minimizing the risk of dryness. Paired with a smoky BBQ marinade, the flavors permeate the meat, creating a harmonious symphony of savory, tangy, and subtly sweet notes that tantalize the taste buds.

Common Ingredients: Unveiling the Flavor Arsenal

At the heart of this culinary masterpiece are the common ingredients that contribute to its magic. A whole chicken, 4 to 5 pounds in weight, takes center stage. The marinade features a cup of smoky BBQ sauce, intertwining with 1/4 cup of olive oil to impart moisture and succulence. A blend of smoked paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, and a hint of cayenne pepper elevates the flavors, while salt and black pepper provide the essential balance.

Smoky BBQ Spatchcocked Whole Chicken

Elevate your BBQ game with this mouthwatering Smoky BBQ Spatchcocked Whole Chicken. The chicken is expertly spatchcocked, allowing for even cooking and a crispy, flavorful skin. Marinated in a smoky BBQ sauce and grilled to perfection, this dish is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser for any outdoor gathering.
Course Poultry
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 4
Author N. Jay Sorensen, MBA RDN


  • 1 whole chicken 4-5 pounds
  • 1 cup smoky BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper adjust to taste
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Fresh chopped parsley for garnish


  • Prepare the Chicken:
  • Place the whole chicken breast-side down on a cutting board.
  • Use kitchen shears to cut along both sides of the backbone and remove it.
  • Flip the chicken over and press down firmly on the breastbone to flatten it (spatchcock).
  • Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
  • Marinate:
  • In a bowl, whisk together the BBQ sauce, olive oil, smoked paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper.
  • Place the spatchcocked chicken in a resealable plastic bag or a large dish and pour the marinade over it, ensuring it’s coated well.
  • Seal the bag or cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, allowing the flavors to infuse.
  • Preheat the Grill:
  • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (about 375°F to 400°F / 190°C to 204°C).
  • Grill the Chicken:
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and let any excess drip off.
  • Place the chicken on the grill, skin-side down, and cook for about 20-30 minutes until the skin is crispy and nicely charred.
  • Carefully flip the chicken and continue grilling for another 25-30 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the meat.
  • Rest and Serve:
  • Once cooked, remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.
  • Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with your favorite BBQ sides.


  • For a smokier flavor, consider using wood chips or chunks on the grill.
  • Cooking times may vary based on grill type and size of the chicken.
  • Adjust the cayenne pepper to suit your preferred level of spiciness.
This Smoky BBQ Spatchcocked Whole Chicken is a fantastic choice for BBQ enthusiasts and outdoor gatherings. The spatchcocking technique ensures even cooking, and the smoky BBQ marinade adds irresistible flavor. Get ready to impress your guests with this grilled masterpiece!

Nutrition: Balancing Flavor and Wellness

While indulging in the rich flavors of Smoky BBQ Spatchcocked Chicken, there’s also room for nutritional benefits. Chicken is an excellent source of protein, essential for muscle repair and growth. The marinade, when used in moderation, adds depth to the dish without overwhelming the nutritional value. Plus, the absence of excess oils due to spatchcocking makes it a leaner choice compared to traditional roasting.

Serving Ideas: Elevating Your Culinary Experience

When it comes to serving, the options are as diverse as your imagination. Serve the succulent chicken as the star of your outdoor feast, flanked by a variety of grilled vegetables for a wholesome meal. Slice it and arrange it atop a fresh green salad for a lighter, yet satisfying, option. For a more indulgent experience, serve it with classic BBQ sides like cornbread, coleslaw, and baked beans.

Chef Tips: Unveiling the Secrets to Perfection

  • Plan Ahead: Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 2 hours to ensure the flavors penetrate the meat.
  • Temperature Control: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat for optimal cooking and avoid flare-ups.
  • Crispy Skin: Start grilling with the skin-side down to achieve that coveted crispy texture.
  • Even Cooking: Keep an eye on the chicken’s internal temperature using a meat thermometer, aiming for 165°F (74°C) for perfect doneness.
  • Rest for Excellence: Allow the chicken to rest before carving. This ensures that the juices redistribute, keeping the meat moist.

In conclusion, the Smoky BBQ Spatchcocked Whole Chicken recipe transcends its historical roots, captivating modern palates with a blend of technique, flavor, and health-consciousness. Elevate your BBQ game and immerse yourself in a culinary journey that unites tradition with innovation. Whether for a weekend gathering or a weeknight indulgence, this dish promises to be the star of your outdoor feast, sparking admiration and craving alike.

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