Yesterday Obed texted me from work “I want to grill!” My response, “Heck yeah!”
I immediately thought to do a whole chicken. Yes! A whole chicken on the grill! The best way to cook a whole chicken on the grill and get optimal juiciness and skin crispiness is to cook it flat. The technical term for this is spatcock. I know it’s a weird word, but I promise you it’s a real word. It’s one of those words I can never remember. I always want to say spockcock but, that’s clearly not right.
Preparing a spatcock chicken is ridiculously easy! Place your chicken on a work surface breast down with the legs pointed in your direction.
Using a pair of kitchen shears cut along both sides of the spine. You will be cutting through small rib bone so they will cut pretty easily. Discard the spine.
Spread open the chicken as far as it will go. The cartilage of the breast may crack. Turn the chicken over and using the heel of your hand press down on the center of the chicken breast to flatten the chicken. Continue to press on the chicken breast to flatten the meat all to one thickness.
Sprinkle chicken on both sides with seasoning and salt. Using a basting brush, brush the chicken with olive oil. Try your best to also get some seasoning under the skin.
Refrigerate the chicken for an hour or even overnight to let the seasoning get into the chicken.
It’s time to grill! Prepare your grill, get it nice and hot. Place the chicken skin side down. Cook each side for 15 – 20 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
If it’s my choice, I will never grill chicken again any other way. I am a big fan of spatcock!
Because the chicken is cooked whole, it retains optimal juiciness. And, because the skin heats evenly it makes for a crispier more charred skin.
The combination of the harissa spice and the hot grill are a matched made in heaven. Chicken grilled over charcoal already develops a great smokey flavor but, chicken seasoned with harissa spice and grilled takes smokey to another level.
We joyfully enjoyed our grilled chicken while outside, licking our fingers after every bite. The harissa makes it smokey, sweet and a little spicy. I promise if you make this once, and you will be a chicken grilling machine all through spring and summer.
- 1 whole chicken, 3½ to 4 pounds
- 4 tablespoons harissa dry spice
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- olive oil
- Place chicken breast-side down, with the legs towards you. Using poultry shears, cut up along each side of back-bone from end to end to remove it, cutting through the rib bones as you go.
- Open the chicken as far as you can and turn over. Using the heel of your hand flatten and break the breastbone. Press on the breast meat to flatten it all to one thickness.
- Sprinkle the chicken with harissa dry spice and salt on both sides of the chicken. Using a basting brush, brush the chicken with olive oil. Do your best to also season under the skin. Refrigerate the chicken for a least 1 hour allow flavor to develop.
- Prepare your grill. Lay the chicken skin side down first, watch for flair ups. Cook each side for 15-20 mins per side or until the chicken reaches and internal temperature of 165.