“Spatchcock” isn’t just fun to say, it’s fun to do. This time-honored preparation also happens to be the best way to grill a whole chicken because a butterflied bird cooks more quickly, more evenly, and with better results.
Here’s how to do it:
With a pair of poultry shears or heavy scissors, snip down the back of the chicken on both sides of the backbone. The goal is to remove just the backbone. Save the backbone for stock-making purposes.
Flip the bird over so that it is skin-side up and lay it out flat. With the palm of your hand, press firmly onto the breast meat until the breastbone snaps and the chicken flattens out.
Liberally season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper (and any other spice blends you like) and refrigerate for at least an hour but ideally overnight.
Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high.
Scrape and oil the grill grates really good. Drizzle about a tablespoon of vegetable or olive oil onto the skin-side of the bird and rub it all over. Place the chicken skin-side down onto the grill, close the grill, and reduce the heat to medium. If you are grilling over charcoal, use the indirect heating method by having one hot side and one unheated side and place the bird on the unheated side.
Keep an eye and ear out for flame-ups: the goal is steady, even, but measure heat.
When the skin is golden brown and releases freely from the grill grates (about 15 minutes), flip the bird and continue cooking with the grill closed. Cook until a probe or instant-read thermometer registers 160°F. when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. Remove the bird to a cutting board and let side uncovered for 10 minutes before carving and serving.