Our Cooked Spatcock Chicken with Fresh Curry

Our Cooked Spatchcock Chicken with Fresh Curry

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Spatchcock Chicken– One of the questions I field the most is how do you keep chicken moist when you grill?

Today’s feature is intended to answer that question with both method of preparation to allow the chicken to cook evenly and method of wood firing to get exceptional wood flavoring yet be able to walk away from the grill. I’ll be offering my version of spatchcock chicken with a curry flavor cooked two-zone set up on a gas grill. Once you try this method of cooking, you’ll want to grill chicken this way all the time, even during the coldest months of the year. And it will come out perfectly moist and cooked evenly every time.

Go pick up your ideal whole chicken, preferably fresh, and let’s learn the simplest method of cooking and flavoring whole chicken.

Flatten to Even Cooking

The chicken needs to be flatten, so some knife skills will be required


Spatchcocking, by definition, is the removal of the backbone in a chicken so you can flatten it for cooking. This ensures an even cooking of dark and white meat in the bird, while also guaranteeing moisture is maintained.

To start, you’ll need a whole chicken with the organs and neck removed. Turn the chicken so the breast is down on the cutting board. Locate the backbone and cut along one side of the bone with kitchen shears. Then cut along the other side until the entire backbone is removed. Turn the chicken back around so the breast is facing up.

With the backbone removed, I prepare a sheet pan lined with foil for cooking. I place the palm of my hand on the breastbone of the chicken and push downward to break the cartilage. The chicken will now lie completely flat. I remove the chicken from the cutting board and place on my prepared sheet pan breast side up. Be sure to wash all cutting tools and boards at this stage to remove any contamination of the raw poultry. Let’s get ready to make our curry sauce for the spatchcock chicken.

Tasting Notes: If fresh whole chicken is not available, you may substitute frozen whole chicken. Just be sure it is completely defrosted and pat dried before starting this recipe.

Curry Sauce & Wood Infusion

Fresh curry from our garden


Although I’m referring to this as a Curry Chicken recipe, note this is not a recipe that cooks for hours like a traditional Indian Curry. It is fast but highly flavorful. It all starts with 1 stick of butter melted in a saucepan over medium heat. To that I add about 2-3 tablespoons of curry powder. Then 3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard and 3 tablespoons of honey. Whisk until well combined ensuring the butter does not separate. I then remove from the heat and grind fresh black pepper into the mix. I also have fresh curry on hand that I will be topping my sauced chicken with for added fresh curry flavor.

Time to take our great sauce and begin coating our spatchcocked chicken. Using a basting brush, add a liberal amount of sauce to the entire chicken, ensuring you get under the wings and legs. Be sure all crevices are coated. Then top with fresh curry leaves. While I’m completing the sauce step, I’ve been preheating my grill to 300°F using burners on only one side of the grill. On that hot side, I’ve added a smoker box that contains four wood chunks. I’ve used a combination of hardwoods including cherry, maple and ash. With the grill hot and the wood chunks smoking, it’s time to grill!

Tasting Notes: Fresh curry can be difficult to find so feel free to eliminate this step if it’s not available. Remember, when two-zone cooking on a grill, the total number of burners will determine how many to turn on. If the unit is only a three burner, just turn one burner on. For a four-burner grill, turn on just two burners.

Ready in a Flash!

With our prepared spatchcock curry chicken readied, the sheet pan is added to the grill and the lid is closed. I leave this to cook on its own for about an hour before returning to rotate the pan and coat on some additional sauce. I also change out the wood chunks as you’ll find that they have completely charred, which means they no longer are giving off smoke flavor. I only add 2 new wood chunks to finish the grilling. Another 20-30 minutes and this should be cooked to 165°F internal temperature. I then remove from the grill and begin carving.

Our finished curry chicken from the grill


I remove the leg quarters first, then the wings. Then I slice the breast meat and serve everything on a platter. You’ll find a small amount of meat will clings and become pulled chicken. That’s it! I like to serve mine with rice using the residual juices as flavor for the rice. This is absolutely a full proof way to get moist flavorful chicken from the grill in a relatively short period of time.

What’s your favorite spatchcock chicken recipe? Leave us a comment to opine and subscribe to get all our postings on tips, techniques and recipes. Bringing innovation to wood fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.


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Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

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Dr. Smoke- our Spachcock Chicken with Fresh Curry from our Garden is a yummy treat!

Dr. Smoke- our Spachcock Chicken with Fresh Curry from our Garden is a yummy treat!

Dry Rubbed Chicken Drumsticks after being "kissed" with smoke from the smoker box with Double filet wood chunks!

Dry Rubbed Chicken Drumsticks after being “kissed” with smoke from the smoker box with Double filet wood chunks!


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You’ve likely heard about limiting your ingestion of chicken skin which can add unnecessary calories and saturated fat. On the flip-side, chicken skin also adds to the overall flavor and moisture of chicken. Here’s the thing: if you limit the amount of chicken skin you ingest, it contains a good amount of unsaturated fat that can be heart healthy, which you may not be benefiting from.

I’m going to give you a dry rub recipe that is salt-free to add in the healthy aspect of this recipe and includes some fat to the skin that will add flavor but also render off. Purchase chicken drumsticks and prepare the gas grill for this easy technique and super flavorful chicken you’ll want to be sure to make extras of.

Grill Set Up

Double filet wood chunks in the smoker box ready to delicaly flavor our chicken drumsticks

Double Filet Wood Chunks

Before starting the rub recipe, get the gas grill preheated by turning on only half the grills’ burners. That will be the side that we will add the wood chunks to while the side that remains off will be where the food will be placed. For the wood chunks, you can either place them directly on the heat shields, on the hot grill grate, or in a smoker box. Yes, that smoker box that you see advertised for wood chips is going to hold double filet wood chunks from SmokinLicious®.

Salt-Free Dry Rub

I’m balancing my salt-free dry rub flavor by incorporating a variety of ingredients:

  • Whole allspice
  • Ancho Chile pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Curry powder
  • Cocoa powder
  • Fresh ground pepper

I always like to use a mortar and pestle when I make a rub as I usually have whole pods or seeds that need to be reduced. Once the rub is reduced to powder, I apply it to the drumsticks.

mortise with all our great dry rub ingredients mixed and ready to apply to the chicken drumsticks

Salt-free Dry Rub

These I lay on a roasting rack placed in a disposable foil pan. This will allow the chicken to render without causing a mess to the grill and allow the smoke vapor produced by the wood chunks to rotate around the chicken.


A Little Fat Will Do

After the drumsticks are lined up on the roasting rack, I add a sprinkling of almond oil and 8 tablespoons of butter. These two items will allow the skin to crisp slightly. They also provide the moisture on the outside to attract the smoke vapor. If you want to skip this step, just keep a spray bottle of tepid water ready and you can moisten the chicken skin with a calorie-free alternative.


Make a Lot!

After cooking for about 35 minutes, flip each drumstick on the rack and check your wood. It will likely be black as the wood combusts and renders the flavonoids in the lignin that produce the great flavor. Close the lid and allow the chicken to cook an additional 35-40 minutes or until the internal temperature registers 165°F. Be sure to make extra so you have a great go-to protein to feed you throughout the week.

The cooking dry ribbed Chicken Drumsticks on the gas grill


What are your favorite ingredients to add to a dry rub? Leave us a comment and subscribe for more great recipes, techniques, tips, and the science behind the flavor, that’s SmokinLicious®.



Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

Additional reading:






Dr. Smoke you must try this recipe dry rubbed chicken Drumsticks

Dr. Smoke, you must try this recipe dry rubbed chicken Drumsticks




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Often, when it comes to smoking poultry, many people become quite nervous as they may have had a previous experience that resulted in a dry outcome. Or, they may have read how difficult it is to maintain moisture when you smoke poultry. Today, I’m going to show you how to smoke Cornish game hens on the Orion Cooker.

Why does the Orion Cooker make a difference? Because this isn’t a traditional smoker. This is a convection cooker that you can smoke with.

Preparing the Orion Cooker

One difference with the Orion Cooker is it requires about 13lbs. of charcoal briquettes to produce enough heat to sustain cooking. I recommend you start the charcoal for the unit first, especially if using a chimney starter, which is my preferred method. I like to line the drip pan with foil to reduce the amount of clean up once the hens have cooked. There is no need to add water to the pan. I also add SmokinLicious® Minuto® Wood Chips in a blend of Sugar Maple and Wild Cherry to the area around the drip pan. These chips will smolder and give off great wood flavoring while the hens cook, producing a beautiful finished color and flavor.

Preparing the Hens

The preparation for our hens is very simple. First, as with any poultry item, you want to remove the giblets, wash off the hens, and pat dry. There is no need to truss these birds as the Orion Cooker will cook every part evenly. Once cleaned, it’s time to decide how you want to enhance the flavors of the hens; dry or wet rub, brine, etc. I like to put a dry rub on the birds first then drizzle with a bit of oil to make the skin crispy. Feel free to apply whatever rub ingredients give you the flavors you prefer. Mine contains brown sugar, pepper, red pepper flakes, coriander, cayenne, curry, cumin. Apply the rub generously and then drizzle with oil – mine is almond oil.

Once the hens are ready to go on the grill, I add a softened butter that’s been mixed with a couple of tablespoons of orange juice all over the skin. This will contribute flavor as well as aide in the crisping of the skin.

Cooking Perfection

With a dry rub, orange butter, and a little oil, these Cornish game hens cook using convection heat from the Orion Cooker. Great smoke flavor is added using Minuto® Wood Chips from SmokinLicious®. In just 75 minutes, you will have the most moist, flavorful, tender hens you could imagine. With a crispy skin and great bronzed color, you couldn’t ask for anything more. Remember, the Orion Cooker can hold comfortably about 8 hens so make it a party. We hope you enjoyed our blog CORNISH GAME HEN MEETS SMOKE IN THE ORION COOKER

Purchase products:

Wood Chips- Minuto®

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Dr Smoke- "

Dr Smoke- “The Orion Cooker is a wonderful piece of equipment for cooking and smoking by using their custom blended chips.”