Why would you want to barbeque a whole chicken, instead of pieces, you might be wondering. Actually this is the best way to cook chicken because it cooks more evenly, especially if you want to enjoy breast, thighs, drumsticks and every part of the bird. Butterflying it means removing the backbone and pressing it down flat, so you are cooking the whole chicken in one piece. In the following recipe we are adding oil, salt and black pepper to flavor the chicken and keep it succulent, then basting the bird with some barbeque sauce just before the end of the cooking time to add even more flavor to this wonderful dish. Use any size of chicken you want, as long as it fits on your barbeque. This will make a tasty meal for the whole family.

Butterflying a chicken is really easy and in the following recipe we describe how to do it. If you are buying a chicken from the butcher, simply ask him to butterfly it for you if you like, and that will be quick and easy, and save you some time. Although some butterflied chicken recipes are complicated and feature a lot of ingredients, perhaps a marinade or basting mixture, this one is comparatively basic, using simply oil, salt and pepper on the bird, and adding some barbeque sauce to baste the bird at the end. You can use any kind of barbeque sauce you want, perhaps smoky, hot, mild, fruity, or another version, or you might even have a homemade barbeque sauce recipe you enjoy making and using.

How to Serve Butterflied Chicken

Although cooking chicken like this is a good idea because it is easier to flip a whole chicken than lots of different pieces and you can expect it to be evenly cooked, when serving it you will probably want to cut it into pieces, so people can choose which parts of the chicken they want to eat. When the chicken first comes off the barbeque, just let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting it and serving it. This helps to keep it juicy. It will stay nice and hot. Then you might like to serve it with homemade coleslaw or potato salad, corn on the cob, crusty French bread, 3-bean salad, or broccoli salad. All kinds of side dishes suit this butterflied chicken, so you can take your pick out of all your favorites. If you want to add anything to the recipe, such as hot sauce mixed in the barbeque sauce, some garlic powder, or a spice rub instead of just the salt and pepper, go ahead.

If you have never cooked a whole chicken like this before, you will love how evenly it cooks. A whole chicken, especially a large one, can be unwieldly to flip so use a wide spatula or tongs or whatever you have, so you can flip it easily and safely on the barbeque. The chicken is safe to eat when it reaches 155 degrees F. It will continue to go up a few more degrees once you take it off the heat. Test the meat with an instant-read grill thermometer, inserting it into the thigh and not letting it touch the bone. The exact cooking time depends on the size of your chicken, how thinly it is butterflied and the heat of the barbeque.

How to Barbeque a Butterflied Chicken
Summary: Butterflying chicken means you can flatten it like an open book. This gets the thickness equal to promote even cooking, and we are using BBQ sauce as a tasty baste.
Cuisine: American
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 6
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 whole chicken
  • Oil, as needed
  • Barbeque sauce, as needed
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat the barbeque to medium.
  2. Remove and discard the neck, gizzard, liver, and other inedible parts from the chicken.
  3. Rinse the bird inside and outside.
  4. Put it on a cutting board breast-side down.
  5. Cut along each side of the backbone using kitchen shears.
  6. Discard the backbone.
  7. Open the chicken and press it flat.
  8. Cut it with a sharp knife at the top of the middle of the breastbone if it is not lying flat enough.
  9. Rinse it again, then rub some oil inside and grind in some salt and black pepper.
  10. Flip it over and rub some oil on the skin.
  11. Grind over more salt and black pepper.
  12. Put the chicken on the barbeque skin side down.
  13. Cook it for 8 minutes or until you see grill marks.
  14. Flip it over and keep cooking until the chicken is cooked through.
  15. To check for doneness, insert an instant-read grill thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh to check it is 155 degrees F.
  16. If not, cook it for a few more minutes then check again.
  17. Brush your favorite brand of barbeque sauce over the chicken.
  18. Flip it back over and brush barbeque sauce over the other side too.
  19. Let it rest for 10 minutes, then cut it into pieces to serve.

Photo Description:

A butterflied chicken does very nicely indeed on the grill. In this recipe we are opening the chicken out like a book so it cooks evenly, and using just oil, salt, pepper and barbeque sauce to add flavor and help keep the chicken moist and tasty. This is a wonderful summertime recipe and it goes beautifully with something creamy as a contrast, such as coleslaw or potato salad for example. Offer a green salad and perhaps some crusty bread on the side to round out the meal. This is lovely cut into pieces and eaten with the fingers. Just remember the napkins because they will be sticky!

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Christine Szalay-Kudra

My name is Christine and I am delighted to welcome you here. Easy Barbeque Recipes aims to demystify the world of barbequing and turn anyone into a brilliant backyard chef regardless of culinary knowledge or past cooking experience. Cooking with fire is not only an easy cooking method but it is the original cooking method. An open fire was used to cook before there were such things as ovens, microwaves or crockpots. Barbequing is not just a cooking method either. It is a social event. Inviting friends over and grilling food for them is always fun and adding home-cooked food to any party is a surefire way to please a crowd. Nothing beats the incredible flavor of flame-grilled food, and you can barbeque all kinds of ingredients and recipes, including meat, poultry, fish, seafood, veggies, and even pizza.


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