How to Spatchcock and Roast a Chicken



There are many ways to roast a chicken on the barbecue. Many popular ways include roasting it whole, beer can chicken or over a rotisserie. There has been lots of discussion over the years about beer can chicken being a waste of a beer or just plain dangerous from various sources over the years.

Rotisserie roasted chicken is fantastic, but unless you have one you are out of luck. That leaves roasting a chicken whole. Trouble with roasting a chicken is the leg meat needs to reach a higher internal temperature than the breast meat before it’s done. When cooked the leg meat will be 82°C and the breast meat will be 71°C.

A properly cooked chicken will be 71°C in the breast and  82°C in the leg

Spatchcocking a chicken has yielded consistent results every time. Spatchcocking is a really simple way of evening out the cooking surface of the chicken and reduces the overall time needed for cooking the chicken as well.

Spatchcock Chicken

Whole Chicken Ready to Spatchcock

Begin with placing the chicken breast side down on your favourite wooden cutting board, the legs should be underneath and the wings on top.

Cutting out the Backbone to Spatchck a Chicken

With a pair of kitchen scissors cut along one side of the backbone and through the rib cage. Repeat on the other side and remove the entire backbone.

Spatchcock Chicken with Backbone Removed

Open up the chicken and flatten it out.

Flattened Spatchcock Chicken

With a sharp knife, cut down the length of the breast bone and push down to separate completely.

Slicing the breastbone for Spatchcock Chicken

The chicken is now spatchcocked and ready for roasting.

Spatchcock Chicken Rubbed and Ready to Roast

How to Roast a Spatchcock Chicken on the Weber

Once the chicken is spatchcocked it doesn’t take long to roast having its cooking time reduced by up to a third. A size 16 bird should take around an hour to cook.

Begin by preparing the Weber for indirect high heat, get the temperature of 180-200°C for roasting a chicken.

Use half of a lemon to rub the entire chicken both over and under the skin. Generously coat the chicken with your favourite rub.

Rubbed Spatchcock Chicken

When the Weber is at cooking temperature place the bird on the cooking area of the barbecue skin side up. Insert the temperature probe into the thickest part of the breast to monitor the internal temperature and close the lid.

Roasting a Spatchcock Chicken

After 30 minutes check the temperature of the leg meat with an instant read thermometer keeping the digital probe in the breast. Flip the bird so that the skin side is now facing down, replace the lid and continue to cook for a further 30 minutes. After an hour the bird will be at the magical cooked temperatures of 71°C in the breast and  82°C in the leg.

Remove from the barbecue and let it rest on a wooden cutting board for 10-15 minutes before carving and serving.