Whole chickens can be grilled in a number of ways but the fastest is by butterflying them. Cutting them open brings the legs closer to the heat source which cuts almost 1/2 hour from the cooking time. Seasoned with a traditional “latho-lemono”, an oil and lemon baste, this chicken is tender and a delicious way to eat whole chicken.
1 whole chicken
1 tbsp Kosher salt
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp course pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
First start by butterflying the whole chicken. Pat the chicken dry and place on a paper towel to work. There are two ways to butterfly a chicken: breast side down or facing up. With the breast facing up, I find it is easier.
The butterfly with the breast facing down, flip the chicken so the back is facing up. Make a notch in the backbone at the neck end and cut it open all the way up to the neck. Repeat for the other side and remove. Open the chicken and, using a knife, cut into the breastbone on both sides and pull out the breastbone. Set all aside for stock.
To butterfly with the breast facing up (shown), turn so the legs are away from you and insert a knife into the neck cavity, cutting along the seam. Using your hands, pull apart the chicken. Insert the tip of the knife into the top of the breastbone and cut away from you to separate the one side of bone and cartilage. Repeat to remove the other side. Press down with your hands to flatten.
Season the chicken on both sides with the salt, pepper, and oregano. Prepare the marinade by mixing the oil and lemon. Set marinade aside. Place the seasoned chicken skin side down and grill partially covered for 15 to 18 minutes until the skin crisps. Brush the inside of the chicken with half the marinade. Make sure to leave a small opening for air so that any dripping fats do not cause the grill to flame up and burn the chicken (a small pot at the side of the grill works to keep the grill open enough). After 15 minutes, flip over the chicken and brush with the remaining marinade. Cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (check at leg bone).
Once cooked, use shears or a knife to cut into portions.