Spatchcocking is a technique where you cut the backbone out of the chicken, to flatten the entire bird and with summer on the horizon, I thought it would be fun to share my first grilling recipe of the season with you. This process cuts down on cooking time and when grilling, makes it much easier to gauge the doneness of the chicken. Also, I tend to think it makes it easier to marinade the bird and I just happen to love the presentation.
In this recipe for Grilled Lemon Spatchcock Chicken with Basil Arugula Oil, I marinade the chicken over night in a simple herb, garlic, lemon and oil combination then, grill it to perfection for 40 minutes, for a simply delicious meal. The grilled lemons create additional flavoring during the grilling process because squeezing the warm lemon juice over the meat, penetrates into the bird as it cooks.
I know you will love making this recipe, now and when summer begins and you can use this technique on turkey or cornish game hens with a little adjustment in cooking time. I prepared this Lemon Spatchcock Chicken on a gas grill, but it is the same cooking process on a charcoal grill too.
3 lb. chicken, organic preferably
4 basil leaves, torn
1/2 lemon, sliced thinly + 2 lemons for grilling
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
Basil Arugula Oil
1 bunch basil, about 12 leaves or so
10 arugula leaves
1 anchovy fillet
1/2 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon salt
juice of half of a lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
(Makes 1 Chicken)
1. Remove the chicken from any packaging and pat dry. Flip the chicken over, so the breast side is facing down. Using a pair of kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut the backbone of the chicken down one side. Then, cut the backbone down the other side of the chicken to remove it completely. You can save and freeze the backbone for chicken stock.
2. In a roasting pan, add the torn basil, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Stir to combine the mixture and place the chicken in the pan. Flip the chicken around to coat both sides and leave the chicken, breast side down, in the marinade. Place the sliced half a lemon all over the chicken then, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6-12 hours.
3. When ready to grill, preheat your grill to 400 degrees, leaving one area of the grill off for indirect cooking. You may want to oil your grates with a cloth before you begin to grill. I have a three burner grill, so I heat the left and right burners, leaving the center heat off. If you have a two burner grill, only heat one side. If using a charcoal grill, light coals on one side of the grill. Place the chicken, breast side down on the section with no heat directly under it, along with the other 2 lemons sliced in half.
4. After 20 minutes, flip the chicken over and squeeze some of the warm lemon juice over the breast side of the chicken. Cook for another 20 minutes. If you have a two burner grill or charcoal grill, you may need to rotate the chicken around every 10 minutes to cook all sides completely, but only flip the bird over once.
5. While the chicken is grilling, make the basil arugula oil by adding all the ingredients, except the olive oil, into a food processor and blending for 1 minute. While the processor is running, add the olive oil until mostly smooth, about 1 minute.
6. As you can see, the chicken darkens even more as it cooks from the convection heat from the grill. Remove the chicken from the grill and place it on a cutting board.
7. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serve it with the grilled lemons and basil arugula oil. Enjoy!