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Please help me figure out what I did wrong!

I tried my first spatchcock chicken this evening.  And while the flavor was good, the texture.....left something to be desired.  Juicy, but the chicken was tough and chewy, and the skin was like rubber.  I cut the backbone out of the chicken, and flipped it over, rubbed it with olive oil, and sprinkled parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme all over.  It sat in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes, maybe an hour.  I set a grate over the fire in the egg, set a pizza stone on top of that, and then set a grill extender in the egg, and placed the chicken on this upside down (breast down).  I kept the egg in the range of 300 to 375 (having some trouble stabilizing the egg after I put food on).  I cooked it this way for 25 minutes.  After that time, I turned the chicken over, right side up, and cooked for another 20 minutes.  Then I put on a pan of potatoes to roast underneath the chicken for a remaining 45 minutes.  That's 90 minutes total for the chicken.  The chicken temperature measured 173 from the probe I stuck in the breast long-ways.  The chicken was a beautiful golden brown, but as I mentioned, it was hard to eat.  I can't figure out if I cooked it too long or not enough.  Please help me figure out what I did wrong!!!


  • WylecyotWylecyot Posts: 107
    edited September 2013
    Sounds like you may have overcooked the bird.  I usually cook mine breast up over direct heat at 400 degrees.  I pull once the breast hits 160, which usually is within an hour or so depending on the size of the bird.  I've tried brine, but really do not notice a big difference over just rub. 

    I know some try breast down for 10-15 minutes, then flip to breast up.  I really didn't taste a difference from leaving the bird alone.

    Hope this helps!
  • jaydub58jaydub58 Posts: 1,827

    I'm not the family expert, but I have done a bunch of spatchcocks, all the same way; bird patted dry, a touch of evoo, and the rub of choice.

    I cook them raised, direct, except for an aluminum foil drip pan.  350-375 degrees until 160 at the breast.  In the kitchen, foil loosely for 10-15 minutes.  Slice and serve.  I've never had one cooked like this come out tough or rubbery.  Just tender, moist, and a nice pretty crispy skin.

    John in the Willamette Valley of Oregon
  • jlsmjlsm Posts: 865
    I agree. Bump up your temp. You are basically roasting the bird, so you should use the same temp as you would in an oven. But that would not account for the toughness. I think you just got a bad bird. It looks huge. Did you get a stewing chicken? How much did it weight? Keep it in the 3.5-pound range, not 5. 
    Owner of a large and a beloved mini in Philadelphia
  • RaleighGuyRaleighGuy Posts: 207
    edited September 2013


    Ditch the pizza stone and just go raised direct @ 350-400 degrees with the breast side up. I think what happened to your bird is the fact that you had it breast side down and indirect. The pizza stone deflected the heat around to the outside and top of egg, and the skin on the bird was facing the coolest part of the egg due to the indirect setup. Ditching the pizza stone and going raised direct will do wonders for the skin. 


    Raleigh, NC

  • every time I do Chicken I cook them whole with plate setter in at 350 until a interunal temp of 165 and they come out perfect,i'm thinking that maybe you were looking too much (opening your egg) hence the rubbery skin I don't open my egg until the chicken id done remember if your looking your not cooking 
    2 Large Eggs and a Mini 2 Pit Bulls and a Pork shoulder or butt nearby and 100% SICILIAN
    Long Island N.Y.
  • jaydub58jaydub58 Posts: 1,827

    @jlsm, I respectfully disagree about size of bird.  The one in my pic was 5.6 lbs.  I never spatch anything less than 5.  I have also done capons which push 8. 

    Always moist, tender, delicious.


    John in the Willamette Valley of Oregon
  • StyerStyer Posts: 25
    I think the key is making sure to pull the bird at 160 temp in the breast and 180 temp in the thigh. I usually cook mine plate setter legs up with drip pan and grill in place. Bird is placed on grill breasts up and stays that way with the lid closed for the entire 1 hour 15 min cook. Always turns out super juicy and tender.
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 16,521
    edited September 2013

     I cook a lot of spatchcocked chickens on both the Large and Mini, cooking all the same:

    Raised / Direct / 400 / Skin side up (do not turn over) / if time overnight uncovered in fridge (if not, still fine) / Direct is not pans or anything between chicken and lump / Light oil and rub you like / 160 temp in the breast and 180 temp in the thigh (do not overcook) //// if you want to BBQ add the sauce the last 15 min's //// I like 3 to 4 lb birds best by far, not the big ones at all......

    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini, just added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • JRWhiteeJRWhitee Posts: 2,743
    Just like Mickey said, I do at least one bird a week like Mickey cooks them and they always turn out perfect. They are even better when I brine over night and then in the fridge all day to dry the skin and cook at night.

    Large BGE 2006, Mini Max 2014 
    Founding Member of the Green Man Group cooking team.
    Johns Creek, Georgia

  • hondabbqhondabbq Posts: 1,337

    I did my first spatchcock last night too. Here is the link I posted with what I did.


    Winnipeg, Manitoba.

    Welcome to the wonderful world of Motley Brew.

  • jlsmjlsm Posts: 865
    @jaydub58, I find large, uncastrated chickens a little too tough for my taste roasted. Capons (castrated roosters) are another matter entirely, as are turkeys. I would prefer to roast two small birds on my large than a five-pound chicken, but that's just my preference.  
    Owner of a large and a beloved mini in Philadelphia
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 14,804
    I also disagree about the size. I get my chickens at Sam's Club... They'll take it to the parking lot but then your on your own. The backbone is a sumbitch but Stihl makes a spatchcock chainsaw... Found it on Amazon.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • Yes, this was a roaster. About 7 & 1/2 lbs.  I actually pulled it a little late, when the breast (according to my thermometer and probe) was 173.
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 14,804
    I think the optimum temp for the breast is 165. 180 in the thighs. I could do a dissertation on pulling the breast and the temperature of thighs.... But I won't...
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • henapple said:
    I think the optimum temp for the breast is 165. 180 in the thighs. I could do a dissertation on pulling the breast and the temperature of thighs.... But I won't...
    Thank you


    Caledon, ON


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