Half-Cocked Chicken

The name is courtesy of The Naked Whiz, and refers to going one step farther than spatchcocking (butterflying) the chicken by cutting the bird completely in half. Cutting the chicken like this shortens the cooking time and makes it easier to get 2 birds on the grate.

  • 2  3-5 pound roasting chickens
  • 1  cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Put the salt and garlic in a food processor and pulse until the garlic is minced. Add the remaining ingredients, except the chicken, and give them a whirl until they are well-combined. This makes just under 2 cups of marinade.

Clean and rinse the birds, then pat them dry. Place a bird in front of you, breast side down. Spatchcock the bird by cutting up through the backbone with either a pair of kitchen shears or a sharp chef’s knife. Spread the bird open like a book and flip it over. Cut down through the keel bone right between the breasts, cutting the bird completely in half. Repeat with the second bird.

Put the chicken in a freezer bag and cover with the marinade. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, overnight is best, 48 hours rocks.

Set your grill up for a indirect cook over medium-high (400°F) heat. On the Big Green Egg this means filling the firebox about half way up with lump and using a platesetter and drip pan to diffuse the heat.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and put on the grill skin side up. Close the lid and cook for 45 minutes. Check the chicken and continue to cook  until the juices run clear and the meat is no longer pink in the center, or until you reach 170°F in the breast and 180°F in the thickest part of the thigh. These birds went 90 minutes total.

Remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes. Cut between the thighs and body to quarter the bird for serving.

2 thoughts on “Half-Cocked Chicken”

  1. That looks awesome. I look at that last photo and all I can think about is that video from Peter Gabriel. Was it “Big Time” where the raw chickens are dancing? It looks like they’re engaged in some mixed martial arts in your photo there.

    1. Thanks – I had too small of a plate to fit them on so i just kind of stacked them and hoped for the best. It was pretty funny to see this big pile-o-chicken on the table.

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