Ina Garten's Tip For An Evenly Grilled Whole Chicken

Spatchcocked chicken on cutting board
Spatchcocked chicken on cutting board - Bhofack2/Getty Images

Throw a whole chicken on the grill and it will turn the classic dish into an even tastier meal thanks to the nice char and smoky flavor. A whole chicken takes some time to fully cook, even on an outdoor grill, but Ina Garten has an easy tip that ensures the bird cooks evenly and obtains a nice char every time. The celebrity chef known for Food Network's "Barefoot Contessa" (and many other accolades) spatchcocks the chicken first.

In Garten's recipe for Tuscan lemon chicken, which you might have caught on an episode of "Barefoot Contessa" or seen in her "Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics" cookbook, she recommends flattening, or spathcocking a 3½ pound chicken before it's seasoned and goes on the grill. The reason behind the technique is because a spatchcocked chicken will cook evenly and turn out juicy. That means the thick parts, like the breast, will be cooked at the same time as the wings, and every piece of the skin will be crispy and charred. And here's the real kicker: Garten then uses a heavy dish (like the one she used to season the chicken) to keep the chicken flat on the grill while it cooks.

Read more: Ina Garten's 12 Best Cleaning Tips For A Mess-Free Kitchen

Tips For Spatchcocking And Grilling A Chicken

Raw spatchcocked chicken and ingredients on cutting board
Raw spatchcocked chicken and ingredients on cutting board - Peter Cripps/Shutterstock

You might think spatchcocking, or flattening, a whole chicken is a challenge, but it's actually a rather easy thing to do. In fact, it only takes a sharp knife to remove the backbone by cutting down each side of the bone in the center of the chicken. Any home cook who is squeamish about dealing with raw chicken can always ask a butcher to spatchcock the chicken for you.

After you remove the backbone, flip the chicken and press it down to flatten it. Next, you'll season it according to Garten's recipe or whatever your go-to seasoning blend happens to be. When it's time to cook, place the chicken skin-side up, then weigh it down with a dish like Garten or use bricks wrapped in aluminum foil or a grill press.

Be sure to flip the chicken halfway through the cooking time. Set a timer though, because a spatchcocked chicken will cook faster than normal so it should only take 30 to 40 minutes until you can take the first bite. And just in case you aren't already a grill master, check out Tasting Table's essential grilling tips and tricks before you spatchcock a chicken.

Read the original article on Tasting Table