Pic of Barbecued whole or half chicken

Barbecued whole or half chicken

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Meat mains

Barbecued whole or half chicken

Main Serves 4 45 min
The joys of barbecued chicken are considerable. To grill a whole chicken, you first need to either joint it, cut it in half or spatchcock it. A properly spatchcocked chicken has the advantage of cooking evenly throughout because the bits that cook quickly (breast meat) are protected by the breastbone.



  • whole or half chicken
  • peri-peri sauce (if you like it hot)
  • 1 or 2 lemons, halved

for the herb butter

  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed and finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 25g coriander, finely chopped


Prep time: 15 min
Cooking time: 30 min
  • Step 1

    press all of the ingredients together with the flat of the blade of a large kitchen knife, roll into a cylinder and wrap with clingfilm. Refrigerate. Cut discs off to serve over the chicken and keep the rest in the freezer for another day.
  • Step 2

    To spatchcock the bird, place it breast side down, parson's nose towards you, and cut along either side of the back bone with a pair of poultry scissors or secateurs. Most people leave them in, but you can remove the rest of the ribs and carcass, leaving the breast and leg bones. This will allow the thighs to cook at the same speed as the breast (so no meat will dry out too quickly or overcook).
  • Step 3

    Turn the bird over and press down on the breast with the heel of your hand until you hear the bone crack, then pull the legs gently into the knock-kneed position.
  • Step 4

    If you only have half a bird in the first place, all you need to do is cut off the back bone and tidy up the ribs and carcass. If you like your chicken spicy, marinade in peri-peri sauce overnight.
  • Step 5

    Heat the BBQ. Push 2 skewers (soaked in water if wooden) in a cross through the chicken to keep it flat, and put skin side down on the BBQ. Cook until the skin is browned and crisp.
  • Step 6

    Turn them over and cook through (how long this takes will depend on your BBQ, but make sure you have no pink meat!); pierce the joint near the thigh to see if the juices run clear. Put lemon halves on the BBQ and brown the cut. Remove the chicken from the BBQ, joint and plate, and crown with thin discs of herb butter. Serve immediately.

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