The best grilled chicken

Author: Marthinus Strydom
Category: Barbeque
Serves/Qty: 1
Heidi Strydom

Well now! I found a chicken recipe that has changed the way I prepare chicken forever. Never again will I roast a whole chicken in the oven. This will change your life completely. Marthinus Strydom

The Story

No one is really sure where the term barbecue originated. The conventional wisdom is that the Spanish, upon landing in the Caribbean, used the wordbarbacoa to refer to the natives' method of slow-cooking meat over a wooden platform.

The real term is to "spatchcock." Alan Davidson explains in The Oxford Companion to Food: "The theory is that the word is an abbreviation of 'dispatch the cock,' a phrase used to indicate a summary way of grilling a bird after splitting it open down the back and spreading the two halves out flat."

Mention that you are serving spatchcock chicken, and the ladies blush, the men frown and the children giggle. However, it is a real word that has been around since the 18th century. Numerous dictionaries agree on its usage as a noun and as a verb. We'll give this one to the Portuguese though. Just because they're good with chicken!

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Adjust Quanities

2 tbsp smoked spanish paprika
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 chicken, backbone removed
few thick slices of rustic country breadcan also use ciabatta bread
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, halved
½ cup parsley leaves


  1. Prepare grill for low heat (for a charcoal grill, bank coals on one side of grill). Combine paprika, salt, black pepper, and cayenne in a small bowl.
  2. Place chicken on a work surface, skin side up. Cut backbone out. Using your palms, press firmly on breastbone to flatten breast. Season chicken all over with paprika mixture, patting to adhere.
  3. Grill chicken, skin side down, rotating occasionally, until charred, 20-30 minutes. Turn chickens skin side up. Grill, rotating occasionally for another 20-30 minutes.  Heat must be low and if your grill has a lid, close the lid.
  4. Transferto cutting board and let rest for 30 minutes. The resting is critical!
  5. Meanwhile, drizzle bread on both sides with olive oil and grill over direct heat until toasted and lightly charred, about 4 minutes; transfer to a platter.
  6. Grill lemon, cut side down, over direct heat until lightly charred and juices start to caramelize, about 4 minutes.
  7. Place chicken on top of bread and scatter parsley over. Squeeze 2 or 3 lemon halves over; serve with remaining lemons.

Do Ahead

Chicken can be grilled 2 hours ahead; hold at room temperature. Grill over high to reheat, about 4 minutes, before finishing as directed above.

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