Smoked Spatchcock Chicken with Blackened Seasoning is a perfect main course for grilling season. Slow smoking creates a juicy tender bird every time and adding a delicious blackened seasoning provides amazing flavor!
Do you need an indoor recipe for a whole chicken? Try my Crispy Roasted Whole Chicken for another tender, delicious bird.
Smoked Whole Chicken
Cooking outdoors in Texas is a year-round thing for us. We are fortunate to have a nice outdoor kitchen/grilling area and there is nothing better than firing up the grill. Our recent purchase of a smoker has inspired loads of new recipe ideas, so stay tuned as we experiment and share with you!
Chicken is a protein that I cook weekly at our home. It’s lean and versatile, and I love using leftovers in so many things. For some leftover inspiration, try some smoked chicken in my Chicken Cobb Salad or make a half batch of my Mexican Chicken Sweet Potato Casserole.
How to spatchcock a chicken:
Spatchcocking seems difficult if you haven’t tried it, but trust me, it takes just a few minutes. Here’s how I do it.
- Prep chicken. Remove the inside contents of the whole chicken. Use paper towel to pat it completely dry. (This may take a bunch of paper towels depending on how wet your chicken is. It will be wetter if thawed out after being frozen.) Be sure to sterilize your counters and sink after prepping chicken!
- Remove backbone. Use a sharp kitchen shears (I’ve linked what I have below.) and remove backbone. If you have a sharp scissors, this will be easy. You may have to cut through some cartilage, but it should only take a minute or so.
- Break breastbone. Flip the chicken over and spread it out wide. Use your hand to press on the breastbone so that it completely flattens.
- Add seasonings. Then you add seasonings.
- Chicken – Use a whole chicken. I prefer to buy organic and usually go with a 5 pound chicken. You can use any size you like.
- Olive Oil – You’ll need a couple of tablespoons to rub into the chicken before adding the seasoning.
- Blackened Seasoning – Use my homemade blackened seasoning. So good!
- Brown Sugar – I add extra brown sugar on top to create more caramelizing on the outside of the chicken. It also adds a sweet taste to balance the spicy of the blackened seasoning.
How to make the best smoked chicken:
- Spatchcock a whole chicken – See directions and photos above to see who to spatchcock a chicken. Using this method allows for a more even cooking, so that the white meat stays as juicy as the dark meat. I highly recommend it!
- Add seasonings. Drizzle some olive oil over the top of the chicken, rubbing it in with your hands. Then apply the blackened seasoning and again, use your hands to rub it in. Use plenty to add maximum flavor! Top the seasoning with some additional brown sugar. This will allow for extra caramelizing and a spicy/sweet flavor.
- Prep grill/smoker. Preheat a grill or smoker to about 250 degrees for indirect cooking. Add smoked chips and then place chicken on grill.
- Cook chicken. Smoke chicken until a digital meat thermometer reaches 165 degrees in both the breast and thigh. This will take between 3 and 4 hours. Make sure the chicken leg moves easily and it’s completely cooked.
- Let rest. Remove the chicken and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Serve. Serve the chicken with your choice of sides. Some ideas are listed below.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Should I brine my chicken before smoking? Brining a chicken is optional. I didn’t brine for this recipe, but you could add that step, if you like. I prefer a dry brine for less mess.
- How long does it take to smoke a spatchcock chicken? At 250 degrees, it takes between 3 and 4 hours to cook.
- What if my chicken is still pink? Make sure your chicken is completely cooked before removing from the grill. I insert a digital thermometer in several places to make sure it’s all at least 165 degrees F. I also recommend wiggling the thigh around and lifting it up to make sure there are no pink juices hanging out under the leg. If it’s still pink, continue cooking!
- Do you flip spatchcock chicken? No, don’t flip a spatchcock chicken. If you do, the beautiful skin could rip.
- How do you make smoked chicken skin crispy? It’s difficult to get the skin crispy when cooking at a low temperature. You can try doing a salt brine for 24-48 hours in advance, cranking up the heat at the end of cooking time, or using extra sugar on the skin (like I did here).
Delicious sides to go with chicken:
- Cheesy Hasselback Potatoes with Bacon – Indulgent, but delicious.
- Creamy Potato Salad – My mother’s delicious recipe!
- Spinach Salad with Honey Dijon Dressing – A healthier side.
- Creamy Mushroom Risotto – One of our favorite sides!
Smoked Spatchcock Chicken with Blackened Seasoning
- 5 pounds whole chicken – I buy organic
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 4-5 Tablespoons homemade blackened seasoning
- 2-3 Tablespoons brown sugar
Spatchcock a whole chicken:
- SEE PHOTOS ON BLOG POST!
- Remove the inside contents of the chicken – any packaged items or organs. Use paper towel to pat it dry – this may take a BUNCH of paper towels. **Be sure to sterilize your counters and sink after prepping any raw chicken!
- Remove the backbone by using a sharp kitchen shears (linked on post) to cut along both sides of the backbone. This may take some muscle, but it helps to have sharp scissors. Discard the backbone or save for making stock.
- Turn the chicken over and spread it out, skin side up. Then break the breastbone by using your hands to press on the bone. This will allow you to lay the chicken compltely flat.
Smoke the chicken:
- After spatchcocking your chicken, use additonal paper towels to pat the moisture away.
- Add a drizzle of olive oil over the skin of the chicken, rubbing it in with your hands. Then apply the blackened seasoning, using your hands again to rub it in. Top the seasoning with some additional brown sugar to help get the skin carmelized and crizpy.
- Preheat your grill or smoker to about 250 degrees for indirect cooking. Add some smoked chips to the grill and place chicken on grill, skin side up. Make sure the chicken is lying flat on the grill.
- Smoke the chicken until a digital meat thermometer reaches 165 degrees in both the breast and the thigh. This may take between 3-4 hours. Check to make sure the leg moves easily and that there is no redness underneath the leg when you wiggle it.
- Remove the chicken from the grill/smoker and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Serve with your choice of side dishes!