top of page
  • David Skarin

Smoked Herb Rubbed Spatchcock Chicken

Updated: Jan 21, 2021

Spatchcock chicken comes through again! This is the second time we’ve done a spatchcock chicken on the site, this time with an herb brine and rub and it was FANTASTIC! This technique is so much easier than rotisserie chicken and requires far less equipment.

We previously did an Apple Brined Spatchcock Chicken that was also to die for! Really depends on what you are feeling for a flavor profile. We really wanted more of an herbal base with rosemary, thyme and oregano so we incorporated some rosemary in the brine as well as the rub.

My kids are decent eaters, generally speaking. My 3-year-old son has hit a phase though where things he used to love, he now hates…fun times with a 3-year-old. But, he devoured this chicken (as did my 1-year-old) and was asking for more.

I know this recipe takes some time and planning, especially with the brine. Just a FYI, you can skip the brining but if you can get at least a few hours, I’d highly suggest it. It really does help keep it super moist and juicy. Although this does take some planning, once you try it, you’ll be hooked.


If you like Spatchcock Chicken, be sure to check these other recipes:


Fast Facts

Category: Poultry - Chicken

Weight: 3.5 Pounds

Grill: Traeger

Heat Source: Wood Pellets

Estimated Cook Time: 4 hours

Actual Cook Time: 3 hours 20 minutes

Time of Cook: 2:30 PM

Estimated Cooking Temperature: 225 degrees

Actual Cooking Temperature: 225 degrees, bumped to 350 for final 20 minutes

Location of Purchase: Costco

Cook Date: August 18, 2020


Ingredient List


  • 10 cups water

  • 1 cup Kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons peppercorns

  • 7-8 cloves of garlic

  • 4 tablespoons honey

  • 1 lemon

  • 2-4 sprigs of rosemary

Tip: For a brine, a ratio of roughly 10-1 water to salt is good.

Chicken and Rub

  • 3-4 Pound whole fryer chicken

  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt

  • Zest of 1 medium lemon

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (extra olive oil to drizzle on the chicken)

  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary

  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

  • ½ teaspoon granulated garlic (or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder)

  • ½ teaspoon granulated onion (or ¼ teaspoon onion powder)

  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme

  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano

Supply List

  • Brining bowl

  • Stock Pot

  • Poultry Shears

  • Thermometer - These are critical tools to have there are two main types. First, instant read thermometer like this one or this one. The Thermapen is worth it's weight in gold and one I use almost every day. I know the price tag seems excessive but it's the best in the business for a reason. If you're looking for a dual temperature thermometer for both grill temperature and meat, this is the way to go. I use my Smoke for longer more specific cooks such as this.



Prep and Brining

Step 1: Make the brine. In a large saucepan, bring all ingredients to a boil and stir until salt is dissolved. Once dissolved, set aside to cool.

Tip: You can cool it down quickly with ice if you don’t have time to let it cool naturally but you’ll want to reduce the amount of water originally used. A quick ratio is about 8-10 regular ice cubes per cup of water.

Step 2: While the brine is cooling, place your chicken breast side down on a cutting board. Using poultry shears, cut the backbone out of the chicken. Trim off any remaining ribs. For a video of this, click here.

Tip: You can keep the backbone to make chicken stock…or you can discard, your call.

Step 3: Place the chickens breast-side up, then firmly press down with your hands to flatten. Trim off any excess skin. You want to ensure your chicken lays nice and flat. Again, click here for a video showing this process.

Step 4: Place the flattened chicken in a pot or marinating dish where the chicken can be covered with the brine. You can also use a large Ziploc bag if needed. Add the brine. If you didn’t make enough brine to cover the chicken, just add additional cups of water. Make note for future cooks. Refrigerate a minimum of 4 hours but overnight is preferred.

Step 5: For the best result, about 3-6 hours before the cook, remove the chicken from the brine, rinse under water and pat dry. Place the chicken on a baking rack, uncovered, and refrigerate for 1-4 hours. This will help the skin dry out and create a crispier skin while cooking.

Step 6: Remove from the refrigerator and allow the chicken to come to room temperature. This takes about 1-2 hours. Suggest covering with tin foil.

Seasoning and Cook

Step 1: Fire up your smoker and bring to 225 degrees.

Step 2: In a mixing bowl, combine the rub ingredients: coarse salt, lemon zest, olive oil, dried rosemary, smoked paprika, granulated garlic, granulated onion, dried thyme and dried oregano. Mix until paste like.

Step 3: Rub the chicken all over with the mixture.

Tip: If you have a digital meat probe, I highly suggest inserting it to keep an eye on the temperature because you are cooking the chicken to a specific temperature. I use my Smoke thermometer and it always comes out perfect!

Step 4: Place the chicken on the smoker and cook to temperature (this can vary based on outside elements), typically lasts around 4 hours.

Step 5: Cook to 165 degrees in both the thigh and breast. Remove from the grill and let rest 10-15.

Final step: Dig in and enjoy!!

Lessons Learned (Note: I will update this section to include your lessons learned from the comment section)


bottom of page