Butterflied BBQ Chicken

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This method cuts the normal cooking time for a chicken in half.

I got an electric patio grill for my birthday a few weeks ago, and with a few modifications, it’s able to get really very hot. So now I can grill food, legally, on my high-rise balcony with no worries about setting off the smoke alarm. And tonight I made butterflied BBQ’d chicken and it turned out really well. But if you don’t have an electric grill, it will work fine under the broiler of your oven, and even better if you have access to a gas or charcoal grill (though you’ll probably have to fidget with the cooking times).

You’ll need a chicken, no more than 4 pounds, preferably 3. Cut the back bone out, and cut off the wing tips, and splay it out on the cutting board, legs akimbo, skin side up. Take a kebab skewer and press it into one of the shoulders, and run it diagonally through the breast, and aim the tip to come out the end of the opposite drumstick. Take another skewer and make an X, starting in the other shoulder. This will keep the bird from curling up over the heat. Now you can flavor the chicken with whatever spice combination you want. I chose a mixture of bbq seasoning, salt, garlic powder, and pepper.  I mixed a little of this spice combination with some softened butter and crushed fresh garlic, and inserted it under the skin over the breast and down to the thighs and leg. Then I covered the bird, front and back with the dry seasoning.

Cooking it can’t be easier. Once the thermometer on my grill was up over 425°, I sprayed the grill with a little canola spray, and put the bird, skin-side down, onto the grill and put on the cover, and cooked it that way for 15 minutes. I kept my eye on the thermometer and regulated the heat so it stayed roughly around 400°. Then I turned it over, and cooked it, skin side up, for 25 minutes, rubbing bottled bbq sauce on the chicken in the last 5 minutes. You want the chicken’s internal temperature to be 165° at the thickest part of the thigh. The juices should run clear when you cut into the bird on the platter.

Normally a 3 pound bird would take an hour and a half in my countertop rotisserie. Total cooking time this way, 40 minutes. (I’ve also tried this recipe with two cornish game hens, treated exactly the same… the only difference is the cooking time. You can get by with only 10 minutes on the skin side, and 15-20 minutes on the other.)