Delicious and fast-grilled spatchcocked chicken with a versatile summery Sicilian salmoriglio sauce made from lemons, garlic, and oregano!
For the salmoriglio sauce and marinade:
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 or 3 large garlic cloves, grated
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 whole chicken (3 ½ to 4 pounds)
- 2 lemons, cut in half crosswise
- Torn fresh oregano leaves, optional
1. Make the sauce: Whisk the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, oregano, and garlic together in a bowl. (Alternatively, pour everything into a jar with a lid. Place lid on and shake until blended.) Add salt (start with ½ teaspoon) and pepper to taste. Set aside.
2. Spatchcock the chicken: Using kitchen scissors or poultry shears, cut down each side of the backbone. Remove the backbone. (Don’t throw it away – freeze it until the next time you make stock!) Turn over the chicken so it is breast side up. Using the palm of your hand, press down on the breastbone of the chicken to flatten it out to one thickness.
3. Place the chicken in a zip lock bag and pour in half of the marinade. (Alternatively, place the chicken in a glass or ceramic bowl and pour in half of the marinade.) Reserve the rest for serving. Seal the bag and press the chicken around to evenly distribute the marinade. Place on a small baking sheet and place in the refrigerator. Refrigerate for minimum 1 hour or up to 12 hours if you have the time.
4. When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the bag. Discard the bag and marinade. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to come to room temperature.
5. Prepare your grill to medium-high heat, 350-400°F. When hot, brush the grates with olive oil. Place the chicken, skin-side down, over direct heat and grill until crispy, about 8 minutes. Place the lemon halves, cut side down, on the grill. Cook until the lemons are heated through and nicely charred on the cut side, 3-5 minutes. Remove the lemons and set aside.
6. Flip the chicken and reduce the heat to low, 250-300°F. Continue cooking until the juices run clear and the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh is 165°F, about 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the chicken. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before carving.
7. Slice the chicken and drizzle with the reserved salmoriglio sauce. Sprinkle with the torn fresh oregano leaves. Serve any remaining sauce on the side along with the grilled lemon halves for guests to drizzle over the chicken. Enjoy!