Mouthwatering Grilled Citrus Herb Spatchcock Chicken Recipe

Grilled Citrus Herb Spatchcocked Chicken Recipe

By:

Clint Cantwell

Plated grilled spatchcocked chicken

Kick up your grilled chicken with this foolproof recipe.

When I was a kid, grilled chicken always meant bone dry meat buried under a thick layer of burnt on BBQ sauce. Fortunately as I grew older, I began to realize that grilled chicken could be infinitely better than what was served to me for so many summers.

In fact, my first encounter with properly grilled chicken came in the form of a whole chicken that had been flattened like a book (a technique that I later learned was called spatchcocking). The bird was then cooked until the meat was moist and tender, the skin was perfectly crisp, and a mouthwatering aroma of smoke filled the air. It was so juicy and flavorful that there was absolutely no need for a sticky sweet BBQ sauce.

In honor of that game changing chicken, I created the following grilled spatchcocked citrus herb chicken recipe. By removing the backbone from the chicken and grilling it bone-side down, you not only allow the chicken to slow roast without drying out or burning from direct flame but also make sure the dark and white meat cook evenly.

Grilled Citrus Herb Spatchcocked Chicken Recipe


Spatchcocked chicken on the grill
Tried this recipe?Tell others what you thought of it and give it a star rating below.
4.54 from 89 votes
Elevate your grilled chicken game with this recipe for citrus herb rubbed spatchcocked chicken. Not only is it juicy and flavorful, the spatchcocking method ensures all parts are cooked evenly. Not familiar with spatchcocking poultry? The video below shows you how!

Serve with: a citrus IPA.


Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Difficulty: Moderate

Makes:

Servings: 4 servings

Takes:

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1 4-pound whole chicken
  • 2 teaspoons Mortons coarse kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
About the salt. Remember, kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works.

Method

  • Prep. To spatchcock the chicken, use kitchen shears or poultry shears to cut along both sides of the backbone. Remove the backbone.
    Removing the backbone from a chicken
  • Turn the chicken over and flatten it by pressing down on the breasts with your palms. You may hear the breast bone crack, which is fine.
    Flattened spatchcocked chicken on cutting board
  • Prepare the citrus herb paste by combining the salt, lemon zest, rosemary, paprika, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, and olive oil in a small bowl. Blend well until all ingredients are incorporated into a paste.
  • Rub the chicken skin all over with the citrus herb paste.
  • Fire up. Prepare a smoker for indirect cooking. Alternatively, you can set up a charcoal grill for 2-zone cooking by placing a chimney full of pre-heated charcoal briquets on one side of the grill's charcoal grate in order to create direct and indirect cooking zones. Adjust the smoker or grill vents to bring the temperature to about 325°F and add 2 to 3 chunks of your favorite smoking wood to the charcoal for flavor. On a gas grill, adjust the temperature knobs so that one half of the grill is off and the other half is heated enough to maintain a temperature of approximately 325°F on the indirect side.
  • Cook. Place the spatchcocked chicken skin side up on the indirect side of the grill, positioning it so that the legs are facing the heat source.
  • Cover the grill and allow the spatchcocked chicken to cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F, approximately 1 hour. Place the chicken skin side down over direct heat and cook until the skin is crisp, approximately 4 minutes.
  • Serve. Remove the chicken from the grill, carve, and serve immediately with any juices from the cutting board.
    Carved and plated chicken

Related articles

Published On: 4/27/2018 Last Modified: 3/26/2021

  • Clint Cantwell - Clint Cantwell is AmazingRibs.com's Senior Vice President of Whatever, charged with creating recipes, writing articles, shooting photos, and a little bit of everything else. He was named one of the "10 Faces of Memphis Barbecue" by Memphis Magazine and was the winner of Travel Channel's "American Grilled: Memphis".


If you help us, we’ll pay you back bigtime with an ad-free experience and much more!

Millions come to AmazingRibs.com every month for quality tested recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, product reviews, and inspiration. But it is expensive to run a website with more than 4,000 pages and we don’t have a big corporate partner like TV network or a magazine publisher to subsidize us.

Our most important source of sustenance is people who join our Pitmaster Club, but please don’t think of it as a donation. Members get 21 great benefits. We block all third-party ads, we give members free ebooks, magazines, interviews, webinars, more recipes, a monthly sweepstakes with prizes worth up to $2,000, discounts on products, and best of all a community of like-minded cooks free of flame wars. Click below to see all the benefits, take a free 30 day trial membership, and help keep this site alive.


Post comments and questions below

grouchy?

1) Please try the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can’t help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

4) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different.

5) Posts with links in them may not appear immediately.

Moderators

  Max

Spotlight

These are not ads or paid placements. These are some of our favorite tools and toys.

These are products we have tested, won our top awards, and are highly recommend. Click here to read how we test, about our medals, and what they mean.

Use Our Links To Help Keep Us Alive

A big part of this site is our unbiased equipment and product reviews. We love playing with toys and we have no problem calling them the way we see them. Some companies pay a finder’s fee if a reader clicks a link on AmazingRibs.com and buys a product. It has zero impact on our reviews, zero impact on the price you pay, and the sites never tell us what you bought, but it has a major impact on our ability to keep this site alive! So before you buy, please click our links. Here’s a link that takes you to a page on Amazon that has some of our favorite tools and toys: https://tinyurl.com/amazingribs


Digital Thermometers Are Your Most Valuable Tool And Here’s A Great Buy!

A good digital thermometer keeps you from serving dry overcooked food or dangerously undercooked food. They are much faster and much more accurate than dial thermometers. YOU NEED ONE!
Click here to read our complete review

Bring The Heat With Broil King Signet’s Dual Tube Burners


The Broil King Signet 320 is a modestly priced, 3-burner gas grill that packs a lot of value and power under the hood. Broil King’s proprietary, dual-tube burners get hot fast and are able to achieve high, searing temps that rival most comparatively priced gas grills. The quality cast aluminum housing carries a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Click here to read our complete review

Is This Superb Charcoal Grill A Kamado Killer?


The PK-360, with 360 square inches of cooking space, this rust free, cast aluminum charcoal grill is durable and easy to use. Four-way venting means it’s easy to set up for two zone cooking with more control than single vent Kamado grills. It is beautifully designed, completely portable, and much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado.

Click here to read our detailed review of the PK 360

Click here to order directly and get an exclusive AmazingRibs.com deal

The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted


Napoleon’s NK22CK-C Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It’s hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the NK22CK-C a viable alternative.

Click here for more about what makes this grill special

The Undisputed Champion!


 
The Thermoworks Thermapen MK4 is considered by the pros, and our team, to be the single best instant read thermometer. The MK4 includes features that are common on high-end instruments: automatic backlight and rotating display. Don’t accept cheap substitutes.
Click here to read our comprehensive Platinum Medal review

Heat Resistant Gloves With Extra Long Sleeves Hold The Hot Stuff

If you’re using oven mitts at the grill, it’s time to trade up. Say hello to these suede welder’s gloves. They’re heat resistant enough to handle hot grill grates, and flexible enough to handle tongs. The extra long sleeves even let you reach deep into the firebox to move hot logs without getting burned. Our Fave.

Click here to read our detailed review

Click here to order from Amazon

The Good-One Is A Superb Grill And A Superb Smoker All In One


The Good-One Open Range is dramatically different from a traditional offset smoker. By placing the heat source behind and under the smokebox instead of off to the side, Open Range produces even temperature from left to right, something almost impossible to achieve with a standard barrel shaped offset.

Click here to read our complete review