How to Grill a Whole Chicken

One of my most favorite things about summer is pulling out our grill and putting it to work. We use it four or five times a week during the warmer months. And do you know why I love grilling so much? There are many reasons, but there is one reason that really outshines all the rest. Are you ready for it?


Yes, dishes. Or more specifically, the lack of dirty dishes. I am not fond of washing dishes and like to do as few as possible, and grilling makes far fewer dishes than any other method of cooking. Hooray for grilling!

But there is one problem. We usually choose boneless options for the meat we grill, but with all this grilling, I don’t often get all the bones I need to make my homemade chicken stock, which is a big staple in our house! Thankfully I discovered a way to cook a whole chicken on the grill in under an hour. And wow, is it yummy!

This strange technique is called “spatchcocking” the chicken, and besides being fun to say, it is a great way to cook your chicken more quickly. You can cook a spatchcocked chicken in the oven, but throwing it on the grill adds awesome flavor, plus remember fewer dishes?

So how exactly do you spatchcock a chicken? It’s easier than you think.

  1. First, start with a good quality chicken. I like to buy pastured organic chickens when I can.
  2. Start your grill. I like to turn all the burners on high to preheat the grill.
  3. Check the cavities of the chicken for the extra bits as the organs will often be packed inside. You can discard these, or cook them up if you have a great recipe.
  4. Place the bird on your cutting board, belly side down.
  5. Using a sharp knife, cut down one side of the backbone. Then do the same on the other side, removing the spine completely (save the spine in a zipper bag in the fridge so you can add it to your homemade chicken stock ingredients later).

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6. You can now open up your chicken. Lay it flat on the cutting board and season both sides well with salt and pepper.

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7. When the grill is ready, reduce the heat to medium for the burner where you will be cooking the chicken, medium high on the next burner, and leave the furthest burner away at high. This creates more of an oven effect instead of having direct heat right under your chicken.

8. Place the chicken skin side down on the grill and allow to cook for about 10 minutes, then flip.

9. Continue to cook skin side up for about 35-40 minutes. Cooking times will vary depending on the size of the chicken and the temperature of your grill. You can cut open the chicken to check for doneness, but I suggest using a meat thermometer, checking both the breast and a thigh. You want the internal temperature to be at least 160 degrees.

Along with the chicken, I like to add packets of vegetables or other yummies to the grill! This night I did a packet of mushrooms, onions, and a little grass-fed butter with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. I also did another packet of green beans, and we grilled some pineapple slices for dessert.

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What is your favorite thing to grill?


For more information on healthy eating, sign up for my Free Real Food Mini Course or check out the full Real Foods Made Easy Program.

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Emily Allen is a former obese girl turned Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She lost 70 pounds by cutting processed food, an experience she documented on her site, Emily now teaches families how to cut processed foods and live their healthiest lives. She teaches cooking classes, does public speaking about healthy living, and has even appeared on local news programs featuring her recipes. Emily believes that anyone can live a healthier life, no matter their schedule or budget. You can find her on her site, on Instagram, onPinterest, and on Facebook.

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