Our grilled Greek chicken with its voraciously vibrant lemon marinade with fresh herbs brings Mediterranean mojo to a simple summer supper. One taste and you’ll be just as hooked as us.
This grilled Greek chicken recipe relies on its marinade for its authenticity and brilliance. Vibrant lemon and gobs of fresh herbs turn everyday chicken into something truly Mediterranean in style. Originally published July 10, 2011.–Renee Schettler Rossi
How To Butterfly A Chicken
The foolproofness of this recipe lies not just in its perky marinade but in a technique known as butterflying. It basically means taking the backbone out, which enables you to flatten the bird which, in turn, ensures it cooks far more evenly on the grill than if it was in it usual form. The name “butterflying” presumably comes from the resemblance of the spread-out hen to a butterfly (well, maybe a little, after a few beers). You’ll also hear this technique referred to as “spatchcocking,” though we won’t delve into the etymology of this term (although we will divulge that we quite like to say it!). Whatever you call this nifty trick, after you try it once, you’re going to want to do it again. And again. And again. A pair of sturdy kitchen shears will make much quicker work of the task for the spatchcock-obsessed than even your trustiest chef’s knife, though the latter comes in handy after you pull the chicken from the grill and need to divvy up the chicken parts.
Grilled Greek Chicken
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 55 M
- Serves 4 to 6
- 1 whole chicken (3 to 4 pounds), neck and giblets removed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Greek Marinade
- Oil for the grill rack
- 1. Place the bird, breast side down, on a cutting board. Using kitchen shears or a large knife, cut along one side of the backbone from tail to neck. Pull open the bird, then cut along the other side of the backbone and discard the backbone or save it for stock. Turn the chicken breast side up and open it as flat as possible, as you would a book. Press down firmly on the breast to break the breastbone—you will hear and feel popping—and flatten the chicken.
- 2. Season the chicken generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a large resealable plastic bag so that it lies flat or place it in a baking dish or other large container. Add the marinade and seal the bag, squishing the marinade around the chicken or turning the chicken to coat. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours—the longer the better. Be sure to turn the bag or chicken several times during marinating.
- 3. At least 30 minutes before you’re ready to grill, remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Drain and discard the marinade. Pat the chicken dry.
- 4. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for indirect grilling over medium heat. If using charcoal, pile the lit coals on one side of the grill and place a drip pan in the area without coals. If using gas, preheat the burners, then turn off 1 or more of the burners to create a cooler zone. The temperature inside the grill should be 350º to 375ºF (180º to 190ºC). Brush and oil the grill grate.
- 5. Place the chicken, skin side down, over direct heat. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes. Turn and continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh registers 170ºF (77ºC) or the juices run clear when a thigh joint is pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, 15 to 25 minutes more for a total of 40 minutes on the grill. If at any point the chicken begins to burn, move the chicken to the indirect heat area of the grill and give it a few extra minutes.
- 6. Transfer the grilled chicken to a cutting board, tent it loosely with aluminum foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes. Cut the chicken into serving pieces and serve at once.