Grilled Spatchcock Chicken Recipe

5.0 from 2 votes
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spatchcock roasted chicken in a sheet pan


Grilling is one of the most popular cooking methods out there. It is a synonym of relaxation, family time, and delicious tasty aromatic food. I want to teach you how to prep, marinade, and grill the most delicious spatchcock chicken you will ever have. The herbs, lemon zest, and spices make it such a delicious recipe. It is one to have on hand when having a cookout day. When grilling a chicken; crispy skin, juicy meat, and flavorful spices are the perfect combination. This is an amazing recipe that will bring you joy! 

Ignited charcoal in a weber grill
Charcoal ready for grilling

Ok, so what we have here is basically a 2 zone grilling method. Half of the grill has the charcoal and the opposite side does not. This method is great because we can start grilling the chicken on the indirect heat side, its subtle temperature allows the bird to cook without burning or browning too fast. Right before the chicken reaches a safe internal temperature, you can flip on to the direct heat side for color and browning. It really is the best of both worlds. It may be intimidating at first but is a very simple setup. The moment you master this method, prepare yourself because you will be cruising!

dry herb rub

I seasoned the chicken with the dry rub the night before grilling. The rub was done in my very treasured molcajete. The reason why I LOVE using it, is because the grinding helps release the oils from the ingredients creating depth of flavor. If you have one, you know! everything tastes better in a molcajete. To make the rub,  I try to grind the herbs gradually, from largest to smallest. Pay close attention when you get to the lemon zest because something special happens. As you lightly press the zest into the mix you will notice the oils released will transform the texture of the dry rub. Its an amazing process! If you don’t have a molcajete, feel free to break down the herbs in a spice grinder or you could even chop them.

Grilled Spatchcock Chicken Recipe

Recipe by Villa Cocina
5.0 from 2 votes
Course: EntreesCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time




Marinade time


Total time





Grilling is one of the most popular cooking methods out there. It is a synonym of relaxation, family time, and delicious tasty aromatic food. I want to teach you how to prep, marinade, and grill the most delicious spatchcock chicken you will ever have. 


  • 4 lb whole, chicken (butterfly, spatchcock) 

  • Dry Rub
  • 1 TBSP whole (small), black peppercorns 

  • 2 TBSP dry, rosemary

  • 1 TBSP dry, thyme 

  • 1 TBSP dry, oregano

  • 1 TBSP dry, marjoram

  • 2 tsp chili flakes 

  • 2 tsp ground, onion

  • 2 tsp ground, garlic 

  • 1 TBSP lemon zest

  • 2 1/4 tsp kosher, salt 

  • Additional ingredients
  • 1 lemon, cut in half (grill)

  • 3-4 TBSP Olive oil (for chicken)


  • Season and prep one whole chicken the day prior to grilling.
  • In a molcajete grind the peppercorns until roughly broken down. Next gradually add and grind the dry rosemary, dry thyme, dry oregano, dry marjoram and chili flakes from largest to smallest in size. Mix in the ground garlic and onion. Next incorporate the lemon zest and lightly press with the pestle to release the oils. Finally add the kosher salt and mix it in with a spoon. Transfer to a bowl and set aside until we need it. 
  • To spatchcock the chicken: With the chicken breast side down cut along both sides of the backbone and through the ribs using a good pair of kitchen shears. Remove the backbone. With the chicken in the same position, identify the sternum (cartilage) where the breastbone starts and cut though it. Flip the chicken and press firmly over the breast until the chicken lays completely flat. Remove any excess skin. 
  • Prep the breast, thigh, and drumstick area by separating the meat from the skin. Brush the back with olive oil and spread 1/3 of the rub. Flip and season in between the meat and skin with 1/3 of the rub. Next brush oil over the breast, thighs and legs. Finish by spreading the reminder 1/3 of the rub over these areas. Transfer to a large dish and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator and let it marinade overnight. 
  • Set the grill to a 2 zone cooking method so we can have a direct and indirect heat side. Place the chicken breast side up on the indirect heat side. Also place a lemon cut in half, on an area of the grill with very low heat. Close the grill and allow the chicken to cook until the internal temperature reaches 155 F degrees. Once it reaches this temperature drizzle the grilled lemon over it and flip over to the direct heat, breast side down. Keep an eye on it and flip back on its back once you reach the desired browning. Check the temperature, it’s ready when the internal temperature reaches 165 F degrees in the deepest part of the breast (see below).
  • Remove from the grill when completely cooked and let it rest for 10 minutes. Then you can carve into it and ENJOY!

Recipe Video


  • If you don’t have a Molcajete, you can use a spice grinder. 
  • If you don’t have the time to marinade overnight, do a minimum of 2-6 hrs.
  • Keep an eyes on the chicken when you flip to the direct heat side as it can burn easily. 
  • Feel free to move the chicken to any side of the grill depending on what’s needed at the moment. This way we can obtain a beautiful color and a perfectly cooked chicken.
  • Do not over cook the chicken as it will turn dry. 

🌟PRODUCTS I used for this recipe

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases)

Le Creuset cast iron roaster 5.25 qt ( 11.7’’x 16.8’’ ) , Tranmix cooking meat thermometer digital

Microplane Classic Zester/Grater Black , OXO White cutting board

Molcajete 8’’ , Brush Escobeta de Raiz/ Root brush

OXO Silicone basting and pastry brush- small , Johns Boos block cutting board care and maintenance set

John Boos WALNUT wood cutting board 24in x 18in x 1.5in , Terracotta 3.5 oz pinch bowls mini

OXO good grip kitchen scissors , Pyrex glass bowl set of 3 , Chef works apron Memphis

☞ Feel free to visit Villa Cocina’s Amazon storefront where you can check out most of our tools or visit our shop page.

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