Ever “Spatchcock” a Chicken?

Let’s face it – any chance I get, I love to use the word Spatchcock.  Apparently you can also say ‘spattlecock’, although it just doesn’t roll of the tongue quite as funny.

To ‘spatchcock’ a chicken – or poultry of any variety – simply means to remove / cut out the back bone.  This allows you to flatten the chicken on a grill, cut the breasts down the middle easily, and reach under the breast and thigh skin more easily to rub the meat prior to grilling.


Final step…crisp up that skin!

I usually use a poultry shears, and just cut out those pesky back bones.  On Memorial Day weekend, I did up a rub of kosher salt, cracked black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and a bit of red pepper.  Rub under the skin to get the legs, thighs and breasts – then rub the skin as well.  Then run the inside of your freshly flattened birds and you’re ready for the grill.

I did two 5 or 6 pound birds side by side on my small grill.  First, put them skin up on the grill for about 20 to 25 mins, cover down, at about 400 degrees.  Then flip em and give the skin a good 10 min browning.  Then back over for 20 to 25 more and then one final flip for another 5 or 10 skin browning.  About an hour and 15 mins in total.  PERFECT.

A great way to celebrate when Foster Farms Whole Chickens are on sale for 88 cents a pound.  That was 10 bucks and a weeks worth of lunches!

Oh, and did I mention that I got to Spatchcock the chickens…?  Hee Hee…never gets old!


More on Grilled Ribs: Lamb Riblets – For Something a little Different

As you know from our posts, we LOVE ribs!

It’s barbecue time and ribs constitute part of the standard stars of the grill: pork spareribs and beef ribs of varying cuts.  Still, I would like to suggest something you might not encounter, except perhaps in the most adventurous of BBQ and grilled meat restaurants: lamb riblets.  You don’t see them very often or at all in standard supermarket meat counters, and, when you say “lamb riblets,” there are some butchers who don’t even know what you’re talking about.


Cut, seasoned and ready for the grill!

Bristol Farms used to carry them from time to time, but the one in Pasadena now only orders them frozen when asked to do so.  Lately, however, I’ve had good luck with my local Stater Brothers market.  The meat folk there either carry them fresh and whole in their backroom refrigerator, or can get them for you within two days upon request … again, always fresh.  If you like, the butcher will cut the lamb breast into the individual ribs, or, as I do, you can cut them up yourself when you’re ready to make them.

So, fire up the BBQ to high, brush each rib with olive oil, and sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Grill them on high so they have a crusty exterior and are slightly pink on the inside.  If you’re in the habit of using a spice rub on lamb (e.g. cumin, coriander, and the like), go right ahead, but I think that the delicate flavor of lamb deserves a tad less intrusion.  My wife and I happen to like the KC Masterpiece “Original” BBQ sauce with the lamb, but if you cook some of those spicier rubs, the two won’t go together as well.

I’ve just returned from an excursion to the local Super King market and noticed some very large fresh lamb breasts just waiting to be cut into ribs … really sizeable … more like ram than lamb, I suppose, and they’d take a little longer to cook … but I’m up for it, just for the gnawing pleasure of it all.

I used to teach at the University of Kansas long ago … beef country, for sure, and proud of it.   Not surprisingly, then, my Kansas-bred students tended to regard lamb as a kind of odious specialty item, say like tripe or testicles.  If you’re of that same persuasion, I apologize for taking up your time, but I do love those sheep on the grill.