|Prep Time||1 hour|
|Cook Time||2 hours|
|Total Time||1 day|
To spatchcock a chicken is to split it open, or butterfly it, by slicing out the backbone and smashing the bird flat. This allows you to grill over indirect heat in a covered grill without a lick of supervision. This recipe requires a larger-sized charcoal grill, such as a 22½-inch Weber, to adequately fit both chickens without having them overlap. I strongly encourage buying free-range chickens, which, as a whole, are far more flavorful and less fatty than industrially produced chickens.
|2||garlic heads, unpeeled|
|½||cup plus 2 Tbsp. kosher salt|
|½||cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar|
|2||fryer chickens (3 to 3½ pounds each), rinsed, backbone removed (see Note), and gently but firmly pressed flat|
|~||Freshly ground black pepper|
|2||cups hickory wood chunks or chips, submerged in water for 1 hour and drained|
Though a butcher should be willing to remove the backbone for you, it’s quite easy to do yourself. Position the chicken — backbone side up — on a cutting board. Using a heavy-bladed chef’s knife or kitchen shears, cut along one side of the backbone as close as possible to prevent removing any meat. Repeat the process on the other side of the backbone, completely excising the backbone from the chicken. If you like, you can snip away any protruding ribs with shears. Flip the chicken over and, using firm but gentle pressure, press the chicken flat, breaking the breastbone. This will ensure that the chicken cooks evenly. I freeze the backbones for future use in stock and ragú.
For more great tips, check out Matthew Card’s feature on fresh summer cooking.
This content is from the Matthew Card collection.
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