Piri-piri Spatchcocked Chicken

Piri-piri Spatchcocked Chicken

Summer BBQs are part of the fabric of our society. Every free Sunday we take a trip out to my mate’s where he fires up the BBQ while the children play in the garden. This time I thought I would muck in with a piri-piri spatchcocked chicken. The resulting chicken was juicy and full of flavour – the spice level was perfect for all but the really little ones. We served the chicken with my fattoush salad to which I added watermelon.

Piri-piri marinade for 2kg chicken

1 fresh red chilli; stalk removed
2 tsp Pimenton de la Vera (Paprika)
25g soft brown sugar
1 lemon; juice and zest
1 tsp dried chilli flakes (4-5 small dried chillies)
2 fat garlic cloves
50ml olive oil
1 tbsp fresh (or dried) thyme leaves
1 tbsp fresh (or dried) oregano leaves
2 tbsp vino rancio (optional)
1 tsp sea salt


To spatchcock your chicken; with the chicken breast side-down, take a sharp cook’s knife and make an incision on one side of the back bone. Cut alongside the backbone from the top to the Parson’s nose – you could use a pair of kitchen scissors for this. In many YouTube videos, the backbone is removed – I don’t see the point. Cut off the Parson’s nose and remove any excess fat to the left and right of it – if there is a concentration of fat, it will render down, catch fire and burn your chicken. I also like to chop off the wing tips.

To make the marinade, place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blitz to a thin paste. Place your spatchcocked chicken in a suitable container – I use a large Tupperware container. Pour over the marinade and massage well – on both sides. Seal the container with its lid and refrigerate overnight.

To BBQ the Piri-piri spatchcocked chicken, remove the chicken (in its container) from the fridge and bring it up to room temperature while you prepare the BBQ. When the BBQ is ready, take the chicken out and lay it skin side-down. At this point we are looking to get some colour/ caramelisation on the skin. Baste the chicken with the remaining marinade and then, taking your BBQ tools, turn the chicken over and move it to a higher rack or slightly cooler area. Close the lid – if your BBQ has one! and cook for 30 minutes before basting and turning over for a further 30 minutes. When the chicken is done, remove it to a deep serving dish – to catch all the juices.

James and the flat peach x

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