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  • Writer's pictureLydia Gerratt

How to grill a spatchcocked chicken in 30 minutes

How to grill a spatchcocked chicken in 30 minutes to be super juicy with a crispy skin

Want to know how to grill a whole chicken so it’s ridiculously juicy with super crispy skin in 30 minutes?

I’ve been inspired by a recipe from Cooks’ Illustrated, a brilliant American food magazine. They used a couple of techniques that I haven’t tried before to grill the best chicken ever.

The first technique (which is completely genius) is to place the raw spatchcocked chicken on a very hot smoking cast iron pan just before you put it under the grill. This means that the underside gently cooks in the residual heat of the pan while the skin side is grilled from above.

The second technique is to pierce as much of the skin as you can with a sharp knife. The chicken cooks fast under a hot grill and steam builds up under the skin very quickly, if it can’t escape through the pieced holes, then it stays under the skin making it soggy.

Grilled spatchcocked chicken

Ingredients 1.4kg whole chicken 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil Coarse sea salt and black pepper to season


Take the chicken out of the fridge, remove all the packaging and with a pair of sharp kitchen scissors cut out the back bone.

Place the chicken on a wooden board, skin side up and use both hands to push down on the chicken to flatten it out. Tuck the wings close to the body and tie the chicken legs together. Cover the chicken all over with olive oil, salt and pepper. Use a sharp knife to pierce the skin – pierce as much as you can, these little holes will let the steam escape from under the skin so it can crisp up rather than get soggy and soft.

Heat a dry cast iron or stainless steel pan on a high heat for at least 5 minutes to get seriously hot. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and when it starts to smoke place the chicken into the pan, skin side up. Turn the heat off and move the pan (use tea towels so you don’t burn yourself) with the chicken under the grill. Make sure that there is a distance of at least 28cms between the grill element and the pan (I move my grill rack to the bottom of the oven to get the right distance).

Grill the chicken for a total of 30 minutes. Every 10 minutes, move the pan under the grill so the chicken doesn’t burn under heat spots. If the ends of the drumsticks become too charred, cover with a little kitchen foil to stop them burning.

After 30 minutes take the pan out from under the grill (remember to use tea towels!), place on top of the hob and leave to cool down and rest for at least 15 minutes. Add a little bit of boiling water (about 20ml) to the pan as it cools to help create more juice from all the lovely crispy bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Once the chicken is well rested serve with a green salad and maybe some orzo pasta that has been mixed with the chicken juices and some butter in the pan.

Preparation time 10 minutes, cooking 30 minutes, resting 15 minutes, 2 adult portions, 2 children portions


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