Grilling a chicken, spatch cocked method questions

Discussion in 'Grilling Chicken' started by kryinggame, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. kryinggame

    kryinggame Smoking Fanatic

    Hey all, I'm looking to grill a few chickens (spatch cocked) way on my charcoal grill. Normally, I'll use my propane grill because I can cook the chicken  using in-direct heat and I'll place the bird on the rack above the heat. Yesterday, I tried grilling the chicken on the charcoal grill but it was cooking to fast and started smoking. (I obviously had to cook the bird directly on the coals). So, I finished the cook on the propane grill.

    Using the propane grill, I'll get the grill as hot as it will go and then will turn off one burner and will let the food cook around 350 degrees.

    Here's the issue. I want to cook several birds for a church function. What's the best way of grilling  3 - 4 birds without them burning? I really prefer cooking a whole bird in the spatch cocked method because it'll cook faster and more even. But I don't know if it's possible to do on a charcoal grill or is it best to just put the 3 - 4 birds on the propane grills rack and just turn them over frequently.

    Thanks all. By the way, here's my first Q-view. It's of yesterday's bird. Good gosh it was almost to pretty to eat. lol. 

  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I've never cooked larger pieces completely over direct heat without a rotiseri. It would seem to be too difficult to get it thoroughly cooked without scorching at some point. Even chicken quarters are a pretty tough item for grilling unless you have med/low grate temps. If you handle it too frequently, you will eventually damage the skin and tear some meat with tongs or by lifting with large forks. I tend to only flip my meat once...sear only hot enough to reach the degree of golden-brown you like by the time its about half cooked...flip once and finish the sear.  The basket you have looks like a very handy tool to avoid damage to the birds, though...if you had more of them...

    As for the charcoal grill, is it a kettle, or a rectangular grill? If you have a rectangular grill and enough baskets to fit all the birds and be able to fit it all over the grill, that would likely be your best bet for that grill. If all else fails, stick with what you know will work, or what you have had the best success with in the past. If the gasser can get it done for you, maybe that's the best route. Also, for fire control with charcoalers, don't use too much fuel at a time if open grilling. If you will close the top for the majority of the cooking, then you can add more fuel at start-up, because you will have better control of the heat. If the grill you have is tough to cut back intake air for fire control with the lid closed, then you still will have flare-up issues.

    Spatch cocked will cook fairly even, as you said, and quartered is just one step further for processing, so don't forget quartering as another option to be able to fit everything if space gets too tight.

    BTW, nice lookin' yard bird!

  3. kryinggame

    kryinggame Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks Eric, I appreciate the advice. It's amazing how serious grilling and smoking is.
  4. I grill mine over charcoal, but as Eric said, is probably best to stick with what you're most comfortable with and can most easily control.
    I start them out on high heat and then switch to indirect heat to finish them off, turning and basting frequently so they cook evenly.
    That's the way I do our Cornell chicken anyway, either as halves or spatchcocked.

  5. I agree with forluvofsmoke: the church party is not a time to try something new. I'm thinking stick with what you get good results with and experiement when you don't have so much at stake.

    Having said that, I can get two spatch cocks or quartered birds on the Weber 22" kettle.  I put the fuel on one side and the birds on the other (indirect).   In Hawaii, they cook Huli Huli Chicken (literally "turn turn") over direct heat by continuously turning and basting to keep it from burning.  I have a hover grill that I can get a third bird on but I have to rotate the three birds to ensure they get done at the same time.
  6. kryinggame

    kryinggame Smoking Fanatic

    It's a never ending purchasing process!!!

    My charcoal grill is small. I don't think it's adequate to have all the coals on 1 side and having the chicken indirect on the other. I knew I should have bought a larger Weber charcoal grill.
  7. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Ha-ha! Yeah,  Some cookers are better suited to certain things, so you end up with more than one, especially with grills.

    I have the Weber 18.5 gold which was my choice for a 10-year service award at work. Very nice to cook on. Even temp control for slower searing if you like, and with a bit a forethought, you can indirect cook a full pork loin cut in half with a charcoal base on both sides. If you want to try that, check HERE.

    It's a bit small for more than about 6 people, but I have cooked for 8 on it many times (steaks, chicken pieces, chops,etc).

    The 22.5 would be a rocker, with the same performance and about 50% more grate space (360+ sq in on the 22.5, 240 on the 18.5).

    The Weber is a bit spendy, but you get what you pay for, and they are literally built to last a lifetime, with a bit of care.

    I've thought back on the cheapos I've bought over the past 3-4 years...they don't even compare in ease of cooking. I did a side by side on the first firing of my weber grilling chix wings next to a cheapo kettle grill...I wouldn't have believed the results if I hadn't been the one standing there with tongs in my hand...huge difference in fire control and even heating across the grate.

    Not to bark about weber's grills, but hey, if I had known then what I know now, I would have just spent the extra coin up front and bought the weber...I'd probably have 2 or more by now, just for smaller gatherings and such.

  8. kryinggame

    kryinggame Smoking Fanatic

    Man, why did you tell me about that grill? Ain't I got enough bills? Heck, now that's what I call a charcoal grill. What I currently have, ain't a real grill. Since reading your post, I've been on YouTube looking at video's of grilling using charcoal. I've always been a fan of propane and then about a year or so ago, I bought a crappy charcoal grill. It serves it's purpose but that's like saying, choose btwn a Caddy and a Hyundai. They both will get you from point A to B but the caddy gets you there in style.

    I'm now thinking of getting that Weber!
  9. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Uh oh...see what happens when I open my mouth? Well, do your budget if you need, and keep it on the back burner 'til the time's right. I keep pretty tight reins on myself, or else I'd have bought more than 5 smokers and 3 grills, on top of the weber as a gift...crap, did I say 5 smokers??? Hmm, well a couple are combined as a double-stacker, one's partially converted to a dedicated charcoal barrel grill, oldest is currently out of service awaiting me to get off my duff and do more mods and repairs, and the Smoke Vault 24 is my main rig right now (actually didn't buy it...was a gift from my wife & kids, but in a way I did buy it, 'cuz they saw me drooling over it online a few months earlier). With grills though, I think if you go the extra mile when/if you can, you will get years and years of great eating from that investment.

  10. kryinggame

    kryinggame Smoking Fanatic

    I fully agree with your last sentence. It's best not to cheap out, rather, it's best to get a quality grill because if you're serious about the art, you're going to eventually upgrade. Heck, my patio is filled with grills and smokers. I need to start selling some on Craigslist.
  11. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Look on Craigslist for a 22.5" Weber Kettle. I got mine for $20! It had only been used about 8 or 10 times, the family had brought it with them from Sweden(!), and the dad didn't like it because he couldn't figure out how to cook on it without flare-ups. I did give him some pointers..... after I had paid him and tied it down in the back of my truck of course! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
  12. kryinggame

    kryinggame Smoking Fanatic

    Good story brother but here in the Carolina's, we take BBQ seriously. Finding a gem like that would be very difficult. But trust me, it's on my list of searchables.
  13. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I forgot to mention this earlier, but as long as you handle and cook your food safely, then that's as serious as it needs to be. Trying new dishes or foods, different prep or cooking methods, and even new recipes should all add to the fun in creating a meal with your own hands.

    Be serious when you need to, and keep it light and enjoyable when you can.

    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012
  14. I did a spatchcock chicken last week in our big green egg...  Direct on a raised cooking grid about 16" from the lump bed.  Cooked it at 400-450 until the temp was good in the breast....about 1 to 1.5 hours...tasted pretty amazing. 
  15. kryinggame

    kryinggame Smoking Fanatic

    Sounds good. I think the direct heat, which makes the skin crispy is what makes the spatchocked chicken so dang good.

    Also, brining it using the Slaughterhouse method and rubbing it with Jeff's rub.

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