How to Butterfly & Grill a Whole Chicken

grilled chickenYou guys, I have to tell you…living without a/c will be the death of me. This weekend, it got up to 100 degrees. Triple digits, people. That’s basically unheard of in Portland and psychologically speaking, I was definitely not prepared.

On Saturday, I was supposed to run 12 miles for this blasted marathon training. {Did I mention I’m running a marathon? Well I am….and am sort of cursing the day I registered for it online. WHATWASITHINKING.} I started around 8 am….and within the first mile I wanted to kill myself. Not a good sign, people. After forcing myself to run 5 1/2 miles, I came across a McDonalds and stopped for some cold water and a little a/c action.

And behold she did sign praises to the golden arches on high. Amen.

I felt a little better so I kept going. 8 miles in, I had to stop again for more water and seriously considered peeling off all my clothes to run the last few miles naked. It was sooooooo hot. But I kept going.

At some point I texted my husband and told him to fetch me some cold gatorade and to meet me at home….I think…..things got a little hazy.

Then, 2 miles later, I called and told that sweet husband of mine to come find my shriveled carcass on the side of the road. Bless his heart, he came to my rescue and even brought me that cold gatorade too.

I ran the last few miles on a treadmill and I surprisingly felt fine. But it was at a gym. In the air conditioning. With a fan blowing directly on me the entire time. While watching the food network. So that’s no surprise.

And then life was good again. Until I returned to my hotbox of an apartment.

Enter BBQ.

We have been grilling this whole weekend out of necessity to keep our house as cool as possible. See this chicken right here? It’s totally worth the time and effort. AND it’s easily the tastiest grilled chicken I’ve ever made. It stayed completely moist and tender and had a smokey flavor from the grill. Slather it with a little more bbq sauce and that my friends is heaven.

We ate this with grilled corn and some salad a few nights back and it was seriously just awesome. All you need is a whole chicken, a grill, oil, salt and bbq sauce. Really–it’s a whole lot easier than you think:

grillI start out by lighting my charcoal. I have  a small round grill that I love. When doing big pieces of meat like this, I like to have a hot side and a cold side so that if my chicken starts to burn I can move it over to the cooler side or vice versa. That way you don’t just have one crazy hot bbq….and one burnt chicken.

how to butterfly a whole chickenWhile your grill is getting hot, we’re going to butterfly this chicken. So, turn our little friend over and with some kitchen shears, cut out the back bone. Then, I like to make a little cut in the breastbone so the chicken will lay flat and that’s it!

grilled whole chicken 1Brush the whole thing with oil and sprinkle with salt and place skin side down over the hot side of the grill.

grilled whole chicken 2A few minutes later, the chicken is browned and lovely, so flip it over to the other side to finish cooking. It will stay like this the rest of the time on the grill.

grilled whole chicken 3Feel free to add some bbq sauce or other flavorings you like. And make sure you’re cooking this with the lid on! It’ll help it cook faster.

grilled whole chicken 4After 15-20 minutes, check the temperature of meat. You’re looking for 165 or above.

grilled whole bbq chickenNow you can pull the chicken from the grill, cover with foil and rest 10 minutes. Then cut and serve! Makes for a perfect hassle-free diner party idea. :)

Here’s the printable:

Butterflying and Grilling a Whole Chicken

Grilling a whole bird is a lot easier than you think!

Yield: 1 whole chicken; 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 whole fryer chicken
canola oil
salt
bbq sauce

Directions:

Clean and rinse whole chicken. Using kitchen shears or a very sharp knife, cut out the backbone of the chicken. Open the whole chicken up and cut a little notch in the breastbone to help it lay flat. Brush the whole bird with some canola oil and sprinkle with salt. Place chicken on hot grill, skin side down. {I used a charcoal grill with all my hot coals on one side so I could have a hot side and a cool side, just incase my bird was cooking too quickly or not quick enough.} Flip chicken over once skin has browned and brush with bbq sauce. Continue cooking on the other side until meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove from grill and cover with foil to rest 10 minutes. Cut and serve.

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20 Responses to “How to Butterfly & Grill a Whole Chicken”

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    Jenny @ BAKE — August 6, 2012 at 2:30 am

    this is a brilliant tutorial! and well done you for actually running the 12 miles I would have given up at macdonalds! my friend and I are starting half marathon training in a couple of weeks and I’m terrified!

    Reply

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    DessertForTwo — August 6, 2012 at 4:01 am

    Who cares if you didn’t finish a marathon? Butterflying a chicken is WAY harder & I have more respect for knife skills & cooking than running, lol.
    I hope your AC gets fixed soon! If not, come stay with us :)

    Reply

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    Ali @ Gimme Some Oven — August 6, 2012 at 5:42 am

    Totally bookmarking this post! I have never tried this myself, but looks amazing!!

    And I’m so inspired by your training! :-)

    Reply

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    Cookin' Canuck — August 6, 2012 at 5:53 am

    Oh Lauren, good for you! There’s nothing harder than a long run in the blazing sun. The only way I can do my summertime running is to start at about 6am. I’m such a wimp about the hot weather!

    This is a fantastic tutorial. I’ve never grilled a whole chicken, but you make it look so easy.

    Reply

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    Rebecca Walker — August 6, 2012 at 6:39 am

    LOL–I mean…I’m HUGELY sorry it was such a nightmare for you, but I admire your perseverance and it made for an entertaining read. :D And I can’t wait to try the chicken!

    Reply

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    Stephanie — August 6, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Good luck on your marathon! Would it help if you ran with cool wet rags draped all over you?

    And thanks for the chicken recipe!

    Reply

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    Pat Dohaney — August 6, 2012 at 8:52 am

    We love to do our chicken like this in winter or summer. We call it Brick Chicken because we put heavy bricks, wrapped in foil, on top of the chicken to flatten it and allow it to cook faster and more evenly. Great tutorial. Thanks.

    Reply

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    Candice — August 6, 2012 at 9:15 am

    I’m also in PDX and I’m only training for a 5k so I did it at the gym. Awesome job for going so far outside! I feel like I’m such a baby from living in this climate but I hate it when it gets that hot.

    Reply

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    Amy V. — August 6, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Congrats on the 12 miler! I’m training for a half and have to be out the door by 5:30 to beat the heat, you are brave. I love this idea because even though my ac is cranking away as I type, it’s always a good time to BBQ.

    Reply

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    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — August 6, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    I’ve always wanted to give this a try! Thanks for the awesome tutorial!

    Reply

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    Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) — August 6, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    I just did this the other day actually!

    Reply

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    Anna @ hiddenponies — August 6, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    I don’t even make it outside when it’s this hot, I am beyond impressed with your running feat! I have a hard time even thinking about food in the heat…I am all about temperature controlled gyms/malls/etc. :)

    Reply

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    Russell at Chasing Delicious — August 7, 2012 at 8:28 am

    This is an incredibly helpful post! I’ve got a whole chicken waiting to be used so I think I know what I’m doing with it now! Thanks!

    Reply

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    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes — August 7, 2012 at 9:13 am

    I’m the worst about running in hot weather. I always feel like I’m gonna die! haha. I give you a lot of credit.

    Reply

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    Debra — August 7, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Beautiful! It is hot here too and I have no A/C…oh well! lol

    Reply

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    Emily @ Life on Food — August 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    As much as I love your BBQ, the running story is the best. Praise be to the husband rescues!

    Reply

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    Natalie — August 8, 2012 at 11:37 am

    You’re my hero, Lauren. Not for running, though. (I have zero marathon aspirations. You truly are insane.) But for grilling a whole chicken without setting it on fire. I’ve done it twice now. Clearly, I need to adjust the temp on my grill…

    Reply

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    Heidi @foodiecrush — August 8, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    What a funny girl you and your tired carcass are! Which is probably why you took it out on this lil’ ol’ carcass, grilling it up just right. I’m totally trying this. Keep going girl, you can do it!

    Reply

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    Elaine Brueckmann — July 12, 2013 at 5:03 am

    My son made two of these last weekend on the grill and it was fantastic! Best way to cook chicken on the grill!

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    Heidi — October 7, 2013 at 6:33 am

    This method totally worked, and it was fabulous!

    Reply

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