Alton Brown’s Broiled, Butterflied Chicken

(Last Updated On: January 19, 2012)

I have been cooking a lot of whole chickens as of late. A local grocery store had a sale on several Saturdays in a row on whole chickens for $.69/lb. That was a deal I do not want to pass up, so I would always head off there and get my max allowed 2 chickens. I would usually freeze one and cook the other one soon after. Eventually started tiring of the same old roast chicken, so I searched out some other methods. One I came upon was Alton Brown’s Broiled, Butterflied Chicken. I have never done either of these things with chicken before, so it was the perfect idea.

I have tried this recipe twice now and both times ran into some issues, but I think my third attempt will be the charm. Read below my experiences from this recipe. You can find the entire recipe at Food Network’s website.

1) Butterflying the chicken was easier than I thought. A good pair of kitchen shears will easier help you remove the backbone. The harder part is removing the bone, so that the breast can lay flat. Alton makes it look easy in the show, but it I had to mess with it a bit to get the bone off. Hopefully with practice I will get better.

2) The first time I broiled the chicken, I did so with the rack at the lowest level. But it was still raw in the middle after the 30 minutes it says in the recipe outline. I would use my probe thermometer to get the exact temperature but in this case the broiler is too harsh of any environment for that. What I discovered when reading the first volume of Good Eats, is that the book tells you to broil it for 25 minutes, then flip and another 25, much longer than the online instructions say. This would probably solve the problems I had.

3) The second time I broiled the chicken, I read the book halfway through after being frustrated the chicken still wasn’t done even when I moved it to a higher position in the oven. Some of the skin was pretty black. I ended up having to finish it by turning the broiler off and just roasting it at 425.

4) The next time I try this I am going to follow the book and do it 25 minutes each side as well as keep the chicken on the lower rack, so I don’t blacken it.

5) Alton makes a sauce out of the chicken drippings. I haven’t tried this yet, because both times dinner was later than I wanted and I didn’t want to take the time to try it.

Sometimes with recipes, you have to work with them a bit, figure out what works for you. Don’t just give up with the first “failure”. Both times my chicken still turned out moist and juicy (especially the 2nd time as I brined it). It just took longer because I keep taking it out of the oven. But I am confident when I get it right, I will be happy with the results.

If you are a fan of a crispy skin on your chicken, then it’s worth the effort to master this recipe. You can get that crispy skin without drying out the meat underneath. So it’s a way to have your cake and eat it too.