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How to barbecue a whole chicken

Did you know that barbecuing a whole chicken gives the meat a gorgeous smoky flavour? Our easy method will show you how to spatchcock the bird, start it off in the oven to ensure it cooks through evenly, and then finish off on the barbecue for extra flavour and flourish.

  1. Prepare the chicken

    Put a small chicken on a chopping board, breast-side down. Using kitchen scissors, cut along both sides of the back bone, cutting through the ribs. Discard the back bone and cut off the wing tips.

    Prepare the chicken
  2. Flatten the chicken

    Turn the chicken over, so that it is breast-side up, and flatten it by pressing firmly with the palm of your hand, until the chicken is an even thickness all over. Push two metal skewers into the chicken on the diagonal through the thigh, leg and breast. This will keep it flat as it cooks.

    Flatten the chicken
  3. Cook the chicken

    It’s best to cook the chicken in the oven until almost done, and then finish it on the barbecue to ensure it is thoroughly cooked. Lightly rub olive oil all over the skin and flesh, then put in a roasting tin, breast-side up, and cook in the oven at gas 5, 190°C, fan 170°C for 40 minutes (larger birds may need longer).

    Cook the chicken
  4. Cooking time

    Finish the chicken on the barbecue for 5 minutes on each side. Check it is cooked through by piercing the thickest part of the meat with a sharp knife. If the juices are clear it is done but if they are pink, continue to cook it on the barbecue for another 10 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.

    Cooking time
  5. Serve and enjoy

    Serve your spatchcocked chicken on a board, for carving.

    Serve and enjoy
  6. Ingredients

    You only need two ingredients for this basic recipe, but feel free to add herbs and spices, or even a squeeze of lemon. Don't forget to note down the ingredients or take a screenshot before heading to the shops.

    1 whole chicken
    Olive oil