How To Barbecue Chicken
"The Portuguese Way"

I first saw how to barbecue chicken this way on a BBQ grill in Portugal, so if only to me it’s now the “Portuguese Way”. It's easy and makes for an interesting discussion while cooking, tastes great and keeps the breast succulent throughout.

Poorly cooked barbecue chicken can be a nightmare if not a health hazard. I’m going to cook the chicken inside out to ensure that we have a happy and safe barbecue.

This technique to open out the chicken is called "spatchcock". The way I do it below is quick and easy when using a barbecue basket but click on this link if you want to learn how to spatchcock chicken properly.

The ingredients and equipment for this is so simple.

Preparation Time:- 15 mins
Cooking Time:- 45 mins

Total Time:- 1 hour


  • 1 small whole chicken – I prefer corn fed
  • Salt and Pepper for seasoning
  • A glass of ice cold chardonnay
  • A barbecue basket

TIP - Strengthen the hinges of your barbecue basket with a key ring at each side. If you don’t the basket will just “ping” apart when you try to close it.

Cooking Barbecue Chicken Preparation


The quick way to do it is to place your chicken on a board and using a sharp knife, slice it down both sides of the back bone. If you happen to do the breast bone it's no big deal, this works too, it's just that it doesn't look as good.

Pull the chicken open and flatten it

Spatchcock Barbecue Chicken Preparation

  • Place the flat chicken in your basket and close – you may need a wire tie.
  • Season well on both sides and place on the grill with the inside of the chicken facing the coals. This way you don’t mobilize the fat in the skin too soon and cause your fire to flare up.
  • 20 - 25 mins each side on hot coals will do the trick.
  • For my final thought on how to barbecue chicken the Portuguese way - sit back, relax and drink the chardonnay!

    If you slice down the breast bone, this is how it should look.

    Cooking Barbecue Chicken

    When cooked take it out of the basket and carve (to be honest I tend just to quarter the barbecue chicken with a heavy sharp knife)

    To accompany this I like a lightly spiced cous cous with roasted vegetables. Red peppers and fennel is my favorite. Ever roasted fennel? Try it.

    See Also:-

    More ideas how to barbecue chicken
    Smoked Spatchcock Chicken
    Barbecue Grilled Chicken With Lemon And Basil
    Essential BBQ Accessories
    Tips For Cooking Smoked Turkey

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