Around our house, chicken rules. Beef is king, but due to the higher fat content, we try to limit our red meat intake. We eat plenty of fish, but with the cumulative toxins that can come with it, we hold off on going overboard. Sure, there’s pork, but the only way Shaina is not a fan and will only occasionally allow it in some smoked varieties – you know: bacon, ribs, pulled pork. So, by default, we are left with either more exotic meats like lamb and ostrich or we fall back on the most common of edible birds – the chicken. When it’s chicken, there are tons of different ways to go, and even though we’ve been cooking chicken for years and years, there’s one method I’d never done (until now).
How to spatchcock your chicken: First, butterfly the chicken by removing the backbone, pulling out the breastbone and laying flat. Weight is applied to the chicken during cooking to speed the process. You’ll be amazed at the speed, simplicity, and versatility that this combo offers. Pick your favorite flavors and go. Want a sweet barbecue sauce or a spicy rub? Steps 1 and 2 are still the same. How about lemon pepper or garlic and herbs? Again, see Steps 1 and 2. Today we went with a salt, pepper, oregano and cumin mixed with butter prior to grilling and then finished with a lime and scallion butter that we adjusted from the Food & Wine’s Quick from Scratch Chicken Cookbook.
Find yourself a clean brick and wrap it in heavy-duty foil. I had a few pavers left from our compost project in the spring, but anything around 8×12 inches will do, large enough to cover the chicken.
A good pair of kitchen shears will go a long way here. Cut along each side of the backbone until it has been completely removed. Then open up the bird and make a small cut through the tissue holding in the breastbone. Slide your finger underneath it and gently pull it out. Lastly, trim any excess skin and fat.
I apologize if you are squeamish around raw chicken. Just keep scrolling. It will be worth it down there.
Place your brick on the grill and light it before you mix the butter, salt, pepper, oregano and cumin together.
Spread the mixture onto the chicken. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty if you don’t have gloves.
At this point, your grill and brick should be hot. Using oven mitts, flip up the brick, lay down the chicken (skin side down), and ease the brick back down on the chicken. Turn the grill down to medium low, close the lid and walk away for ten minutes.
Back inside, prepare your finishing baste. Mix together butter, lime juice, kosher salt and scallions. Ten minutes should be up, so go outside and flip your chicken, reapply the brick and let it go for another ten minutes.
After the second ten minutes has elapsed remove the brick and check the internal temperature of the chicken with a meat thermometer (180° F means done).
Back inside, apply the desired amount of scallion and lime butter to the top of the hot chicken and let it melt down the sides.
The added butter at the end melted over the crisp skin gives it just enough added flavor to really make the chicken stand out.
With the abbreviated cooking time and full juicy flavor, this will definitely make the menu again.