Spatchcocked Chicken with Sweet & Spicy BBQ Rub

July/August 2014

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In this whole grilled chicken recipe, the backbone is removed and the chicken is flattened then grilled under the weight of 2 bricks—which enables it to cook quickly and evenly. The homemade rub recipe makes enough to prepare 2 pounds of boneless chicken or 4 pounds of bone-in chicken, but you can easily double or triple the recipe and store the extra in an airtight container for up to 3 months so you can have it on hand throughout the grilling season.

Spatchcocked Chicken with Sweet & Spicy BBQ Rub

Makes: 6 servings

Serving Size: 3-4 oz. chicken

Active Time:

Total Time:

Equipment: 2 bricks


Dry Rub

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • 1 4- to 4 1/2-pound chicken


  1. To prepare rub: Combine chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, salt, paprika, garlic powder, ginger and cayenne in a small bowl.
  2. To prepare chicken: Remove giblets from chicken and trim any excess skin and fat. Using kitchen shears, cut the chicken down one side of the backbone, through the ribs. Make an identical cut on the opposite side to remove the backbone completely; discard. Place the chicken cut-side down and flatten with the heel of your hand. Rub the dry rub mixture under the skin onto the breast meat and leg meat and rub a little on the skin. Let stand at room temperature for at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes.
  3. To grill chicken: Place 2 foil-wrapped bricks on the grill rack. Preheat a gas grill to medium-high or build a two-zone fire (coals on one side of the grill) in a charcoal grill and let it burn down to medium-high heat (about 450°F).
  4. If using a gas grill, turn off one burner (leaving 1 to 2 burners lit, depending on your grill). Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Wearing oven mitts, remove the hot bricks and set the chicken on the rack, skin-side down, over the unlit portion of the grill. Place one brick on each half of the chicken, close the lid and grill until the skin is well marked and golden around the edges, 28 to 30 minutes. (If using a charcoal grill, add 10 coals after the first 30 minutes to maintain the heat.)
  5. Wearing oven mitts, carefully remove the bricks. Using a large spatula, carefully turn the chicken over. Replace the bricks, close the lid and grill until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°F, 28 to 30 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before removing the skin and carving.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Store the rub, airtight, for up to 1 month.
  • Once the grill is heated, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the hot rack right before placing the chicken on the grill.


Per serving: 232 calories; 8 g fat (2 g sat, 3 g mono); 98 mg cholesterol; 5 g carbohydrates; 3 g added sugars; 3 g total sugars; 33 g protein; 1 g fiber; 722 mg sodium; 336 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (21% daily value), Zinc (16% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 0

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Recipe Categories

Preparation/ Technique

Dietary Restrictions
Gluten Free
Type of Dish
Main dish, poultry
Ease of Preparation
Main Ingredient
July/August 2014
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