Animals Hacks Recipes

The Secret Technique For Perfectly Grilled Chicken

Photo: Taste of Home

Ever come across a cooking term that leaves you reaching for the dictionary? I know I have countless times-especially when I’m rifling through the pages of my mother’s vintage cookbooks. The latest technique that left me stumped was when a recipe asked me to “spatchcock the bird.” I practically dropped my book. Spatch-what a bird?

Thankfully, experts in the Taste of Home Test Kitchen are here to clarify. To spatchcock-or to butterfly-a bird is to remove the backbone of a whole bird and lay it flat to cook. You can spatchcock practically any bird; think chickens, turkeys, Cornish game hens and even pigeons! Our resident food editor James Schend explains that this funny-sounding technique is one of the best ways to cook a bird. Looking for dinner right now? We’ve got 99 chicken dinners waiting for you.

Why Spatchcock?

It’s quick. Because the bird is flattened, the cooking time is cut almost in half.

The bird cooks evenly. With a whole bird, the breast meat often dries out before the dark meat is done. By flattening the chicken, the legs and thighs (dark meat) will be more exposed to the heat and cook in the same time as the breast.

The skin gets nice and crispy. Since the whole bird is equally exposed to heat, every inch of its skin will evenly brown and develop that crave-worthy crispiness.

Convinced? Me too. Follow along as the Test Kitchen walks us through the easy steps for how to spatchcock chicken, then grill it up for maximum juiciness.

How to Spatchcock Chicken

You’ll Need:

1 broiler/fryer chicken (3 to 4 pounds)

Glaze of choice (optional)*

* While a glaze isn’t mandatory for mastering this technique, we recommend brushing it onto your bird as it cooks. This will give it that mouthwatering flavor that keeps friends and family coming back for more.


Kitchen shears

Here’s how to make our favorite glaze

In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup white wine to a boil; cook 3-4 minutes or until wine is reduced by half. Stir in 1 cup apricot preserves and 1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard. Set aside for grilling.

Step 1: Cut along the side of the backbone

Raw chicken belly down on a white cutting board being opened with a pair of kitchen shears

Place the whole chicken on a cutting board with the breast-side down. Locate the backbone along the center of the chicken. Starting at the tail (or pope’s nose), use a sharp pair of kitchen shears to cut alongside the spine. Try to cut as close as you can to the backbone so you don’t risk cutting any other joints. You may feel a little resistance as you cut through certain rib bones of the bird-in this case, press down on the shears with both hands.

Test Kitchen tip: If you’re right-handed, it’s easier to cut along the right side of the backbone. If you’re a lefty, the left side of the chicken is your best bet.

Step 2: Remove backbone

After the first cut, another was done on the opposite side to allow the person to remove the backbone with their hand

Rotate chicken 180° so that the uncut side is closer to your dominant hand. Cut along the bone again and remove the backbone from the chicken.

Test Kitchen tip: Don’t throw away that backbone! Place it in a resealable plastic bag and save it in the freezer for your next batch of homemade chicken stock.

Step 3: Flatten

Person with one hand over the other pressing down down on the breast of the raw chicken

Back to the bird: Flip it over so that the breast side is facing upward. With two hands (and a little bit of hulk-strength), press down firmly on the center of the bird until you hear a crack. This is the wishbone breaking! Voila. Your bird is successfully spatchcocked.

Step 4:Make a few last-minute adjustments

Person holding the right wing of the bird to carefully tuck underneath its breast

Hold up, we’re not quite ready to cook just yet. See how those wings are splayed out? Give them a quick twist and tuck them underneath the body of the bird.

Test Kitchen tip: This helps keep the wingtips from burning and allows your bird to lie nice and flat.

Sprinkle the skin with kosher salt and pepper, and your chicken is good to go!

Step 5: Get cooking

A spatchcocked chicken belly-up on a grill with seasonings sprinkled on it and being held by a pair of metal tongs

You can cook spatchcocked chicken a number of ways, but when the weather’s nice, we prefer to grill ours outdoors. To prepare your grill, fire it up to indirect medium heat and grease the rack with a little oil.

Test Kitchen tip: We prefer to use hardwood charcoal for a rich, wood-fired flavor.

Let’s grill! Place the chicken skin-side down over direct heat. Cover and let cook for 10-15 minutes. Take a peek. The bird should look nicely charred. However, keep a careful eye on the grill. Any fat that drips from the bird can cause the fire to flare-up.

Spatchcocked chicken with black grill marks on its breast laying on a charcoal grillSpatchcocked chicken with black grill marks on its breast laying on a charcoal grill as a person brushes glaze over it

Next, turn the chicken over (skin-side up) and move it over to indirect heat. Grill for about 30 minutes longer. If you’ve got a glaze ready, brush the glaze onto its skin to baste. A silicone brush works well for this. Repeat occasionally as your bird cooks.

Test Kitchen tip: If some of the bird is still hanging over the open flame, don’t sweat it. The bones on the underside of the chicken will help to insulate the meat, keeping it from over-cooking. Just be sure to keep rotating it around so that a single side doesn’t get scorched.

Step 7: Check for doneness

A cooked spatchcocked chicken on a baking sheet having its temperature checked by a red thermometer that reads '172'

Use a thermometer to tell if the chicken is ready. The thigh should read between 170-175°. Using a pair of long-handled tongs, carefully remove the bird from the grill. Be sure not to pierce the skin or you’ll lose the bird’s tender juiciness.

Test Kitchen tip: While it’s safe to eat poultry once the meat has reached 165°, we prefer the flavor and texture of the thigh and leg meat when it’s cooked between 170-175°. Learn more about food safe cooking temperatures, here.

Let the bird rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. The chicken needs to sit in order for the juices to lock into the meat. Don’t fret: even after 10 minutes, it’ll still be plenty warm enough to serve!

Too cold to grill?

Alternatively, you can roast spatchcocked chicken in the oven. Place it on a roasting rack-or set it on top of a bed of veggies in a shallow baking pan. No need to flip. Just pop it in a 375° oven, breast-side up, until a thermometer reads 170° in its meatiest portion and 175° in the thigh. For more details, check out our step-by-step guide for how to roast chicken.

Related Links:

50 Secret Recipes for Classic Diner Foods

33 Things Your Fast Food Worker Isn’t Telling You

10 Common Mistakes Everyone Makes When Brewing Coffee 

Article by Nicole Doster and James Schend for Taste of Home. View the original article here

Celebrity Grub

Chance The Rapper’s Taking A Shift At Nando’s, Will Be Grilling Your Chicken

Hip Hop has a pretty crazy love affair with Nando’s grilled chicken, so it makes sense that Chance the Rapper would be working with them, as they get set to open a new location in Chicago, Illinois.

On Sept. 5, not only will Chance get to work with the popular chicken restaurant, but he’ll be able to do it in his hometown, and raise money for his Social Works charity in Chicago. It’s a win, win for everybody involved.

“Chance made the announcement through Twitter Tuesday, saying “Meet me at @NandosUSA Michigan Ave opening. I’m grilling on 9/5 @6pm to  & raise $ for

Chance’s Social Works charity was created to “empower youth through the arts, education, and civic engagement.” Nando’s has been working with several charities, raising over $225,000 in a week thus far.

Nando’s said you would not need to RSVP, but they did not say how long Chance would be there, grilling up your chicken.

The restaurant also dropped a teaser that Chance would be there, tweeting out last week that, “We’ve made summer friends for our Michgan Aenue opening in Chicago,” likely referencing Chance the Rapper’s popular song “Summer Friends.”

If you’re into Chance, chicken, Chicago, and charities, you’ll definitely want to check this out and maybe even meet the popular rapper.


Grilled Pizza: Chicken, Red Onions, and Cream Cheese

Last weekend I was out and about, shopping, taking care of business. When I finally came home and pulled up into my driveway, as I opened the car door to get out, a big whiff of grilled food just about knocked me out.

It was beautiful! Summer is here!

Bob, the neighbor, was grilling steaks. Robert, the neighbor across the street, was grilling burgers and kebabs. And I, the only female on the block hanging out next to R2D2, was about to grill something… or just about everything that I saw in my fridge. I was hungry, I was inspired, I was ready to eat!

In case you haven’t met, this is R2D2 – my grill.

I took out some chicken, some veggies, salads… Hubs then came out and suggested I grill the pizza that I wouldn’t stop talking about.

That would be this pizza – Kim, from Liv Life, one of my absolute favorites,  grilled a pizza dough made with semolina flour and topped it with cheese and pepperoni. Deeeelish! But I had neither semolina flour, nor pepperoni.

I went to the next best thing. My favorite pizza dough that comes in a package,  (don’t judge, it’s delicious!) and my favorite topping – cream cheese!


Grilled Pizza with Chicken, Red Onions, and Cream Cheese

You will need:

1 Betty Crocker Pizza Crust mix

1/4 package (2 oz.) cream cheese

1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced

1 grilled chicken breast, seasoned with your favorite seasoning, shredded

1 small red onion, sliced

1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

Olive oil for the grill


Preheat the grill on high.

Prepare the dough and shape it on top of a cutting board or a flat baking sheet. Lightly flour the surface so that the dough does not stick.

When the grill is hot and ready, brush the grates with some olive oil.

Slide the pizza dough off the baking sheet and onto the grill.

Close the grill and cook the dough for about 2 minutes.

Check if the dough is browned underneath. If it’s not browned, give it another minute.

Take the dough off the grill with some tongs and put it on top of the cookie sheet or cutting board. Let it cool.

In the meantime prepare all your toppings.

Turn the pizza crust over, browned-side up.

Spread the cream cheese over the entire pizza crust.

Add the red onions, the shredded chicken, and the mushrooms.

Top with the shredded mozzarella cheese.

Put the pizza back on the grill.

Turn the heat down to medium-high, and close the lid.

Cook for about 3 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and melted.

Pull the pizza off the grill onto a cutting board and let it rest for a minute or so before cutting it.

For more delicious recipes please hop over to Diethood.


Olive Garden Presents Four Cheese Pastachettis Dish

The Olive Garden restaurant chain pushes forward with its Italian-American cuisine by offering up a new dish this month, their Four Cheese Pastachettis. For $9.95, customers wil be treated to parmesan crusted lasagna squares filled with mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan and romano cheese, served with grilled chicken breasts and spinach in a garlic cream sauce. Per usual, the dish is accompanied by their famous unlimited Salad and Breadsticks.

Cravings Recipes

Turmeaken: Turducken Inspired Subway Sandwich

Our friend Nick of DudeFoods has a very special way of envisioning a pre-Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of a traditional turducken (de-boned chicken stuffed within a de-boned duck stuffed into a de-boned turkey), he has brought similar schematics to a series of Subway sandwiches. Specifically, since Subway does not offer a duck sub sandwich, he starts with a Subway footlong grilled chicken sub, stuffed inside a footlong meatball sub that is then stuffed inside a footlong turkey sub. To round out the lack of duck in the meal, Nick has covered the sandwich in duck sauce that he had left over from some Chinese takeout he recently enjoyed. Happy early Thanksgiving!


Islands: Pesto Paradiso Sandwich

As part of a limited time only taste at Islands Fine Burgers & Drinks restaurants across five states (California, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii), the casual dining restaurant presents their Pesto Paradiso sandwich, available until the end of November. This offering includes grilled chicken breast topped with a blend of jack and parmesan cheeses, and finally covered with basil pesto. Advertised along with the brand’s famous endless Island Fries, there is no word yet as to whether this will become a permanent menu item or not. Check out their website to find an Islands near you.


Adventure: Taqueria El Granjenal (Costa Mesa, CA)

Orange County is renowned for its perfect weather, breathtaking beaches, attractive people and… taquerias!? The gang and I were driving down 19th street in Costa Mesa  and spotted no less then seven taco stands within the span of a couple blocks. With our stomachs running on empty, we picked Taqueria El Granjenal out of the bunch and grubbed down! Check out the play-by-play after this rainy day in Costa Mesa, CA.


The Fat Sandwich

Measuring almost six inches in diameter, we’re looking at a sandwich made of two rolls, 4 cheeseburgers, double cheesesteak, chicken cheesesteak, gyro meat, grilled chicken, bacon, sausage, mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, chicken nuggets, mac n cheese bites, fried mushrooms, jalapeño poppers, pizza bites, onion rings, hash browns, American cheese, mayo, ketchup and french fries. I guess a good question to ask is, what’s NOT on this sandwich? You can pick one up from the Fat Sandwich Company if you’re so inclined to try all those ingredients and flavors in one bite. (PicThx ThisIsWhyYoureHuge)