Smoked Lemon Pepper Spatchcock Chicken

I really love smoked chicken, but a lot of recipes are just a heavy, BBQ flavor that’s just too potent sometimes.  My recipe for Smoked Lemon Pepper Spatchcock Chicken has a beautiful, light, citrus flavor as the prevalent note.  However, I love those umami mid-flavors, so I used my Garlic Blend as an addition for carrying the savoriness as well.

Why Smoke a Spatchcock Chicken

Spatchcocking a chicken is simply cutting the backbone from the chicken, and spreading it out flat.  This results in a bird that cooks more evenly, faster, and more delicious meat, in my opinion.  When you roast or smoke a bird whole, you always end up with the bottom of the chicken being soggy.  This method allows you to ensure crispy skin, and get some amazing flavor to the meat.  I spatchcock almost any poultry- quail, cornish hens, chickens, and even turkeys.

Poultry doesn’t have the connective tissue of pork and beef, so don’t be afraid to cook it hotter.  For this recipe, I put my smoker at 300 degrees, and it came out juicy and perfect.

How To Spatchcock a Chicken

a beautifully spatchcocked chicken

To spatchcock any poultry, you’ll simply need one good set of kitchen shears.  I have always used Mac Knife Kitchen shears, and they are always incredible.  Cut as close to the backbone as possible on both sides, then remove the backbone.  Then, using a sharp knife, lightly slice through the wishbone where the breasts meet.  Then, use both hands and press down on the chicken to flatten it.  There you go, you’ve spatchcocked a chicken!


Cut along backbone with kitchen shears
Using a sharp knife, slightly cut into the wishbone, then press to flatten
Rub butter mixture under and over skin
lightly season again, then smoke!


Butter, Lemon Pepper Flavor Dust, and Garlic Blend- O My!

Flavor town!

You really can’t go wrong with a flavor line-up of butter, My Lemon Pepper Flavor Dust, and my Garlic Blend.  First, soften some butter, then mix it with Flavor Dust and Garlic Blend.  Rub it under the skin, then over the skin. Finish with a light coat of Garlic Blend and Lemon Pepper Flavor Dust.  You’re ready to cook a delicious chicken, and what could be easier than that?

Cooking a Smoker Lemon Pepper Spatchcock Chicken

As I said earlier, you can cook this pretty hot and get good results.  Recipes that tell you to cook at 225 or so are fine I guess, but you’re risking dry chicken.  There’s no reason to cook poultry that low.  I added smoke flavor from a Diamond King Smokebox and got tons of flavor and super juicy white and dark meat from this bird.

Set up your smoker, and insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast.  I normally check the thighs, but as this cooks faster, I want to make sure I pull the breast off perfectly.  The thighs and legs are usually thinner, and with a spatchcock chicken, they are more exposed than if we have left the bird whole.  This means they’ll cook faster than the breast, which is perfect.

Love to cook chicken?  Try my Smoked Chicken “Peruvian Style” or my  Achiote and Blood Orange Rotisserie Chicken

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Smoked Lemon Pepper Spatchcock Chicken


Here’s an easy recipe for a brightly flavored chicken dish off the grill.  Feed the family with a chicken that makes roast chicken seem lame.  Plus, it is easier to cook than an oven-roast chicken.  Use any leftovers for an amazing chicken salad!



1 3-4 pound whole chicken

2 TBS Salted Butter

Zest from 1/2 lemon plus juice from 1/2 lemon

4 tsp Melissa’s Lemon Pepper Flavor Dust, divided

3 tsp Melissa’s Garlic Blend, divided


Spatchcock chicken by cutting the backbone out, then lightly slicing through the wishbone.  Pat chicken dry on all sides.  Lightly season the underside with Garlic Blend and Lemon Pepper Flavor Dust.

In a small bowl, mix butter, 2 tsp Garlic Blend, and 2 tsp Lemon Pepper flavor Dust.  Add in juice and zest from 1/2 lemon.

Using your fingers, press some of the butter mixture under the skin and over the breast meat.  Then, slather

the rest over the skin of the chicken.  Lightly coat the skin side of the chicken with more Garlic Blend and Flavor Dust.

Place in 300 degree smoker with extra smoke flavor- apple or cherry are good choices.

Cook until breast reads 162 degrees, about 45 minutes. Remove to a sheet pan and lightly cover with foil.  Rest for at least 5-7 minutes.  Carve and serve.