Spatchcock piri-piri chicken

Spatchcock piri-piri chicken

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(21 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 35 mins Plus marinating


Serves 4

Butterfly a whole chicken by removing the backbone to keep it juicy during grilling, and flavour with a chilli pepper marinade

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freeze uncooked

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal552
  • fat40g
  • saturates10g
  • carbs1g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre0g
  • protein47g
  • salt0.4g


  • 1 chicken (about 1½ kg/3lb 5oz)



    While it's the traditional Christmas bird, turkey is good to eat all year round, though…

  • 4 red chillies, chopped (deseeded if you don't like it too spicy)
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika



    A spice that's central to Hungarian cuisine, paprika is made by drying a particular type of…

  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley



    One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • lemon wedges and Tabasco sauce (optional), to serve


  1. To spatchcock the chicken, flip it over so the backbone is facing you. Using a sturdy pair of kitchen scissors or poultry scissors, cut down either side of the backbone, then discard. Turn the chicken over and push down firmly on the breastbone to flatten out the bird. Make a few slashes in each leg joint. You can watch a video showing how to spatchcock a chicken in the How To Cook section of the website).

  2. Put the chillies and garlic in a food processor with a good pinch of salt, or use a pestle and mortar. Blend to a paste, then add the paprika, vinegar, parsley and olive oil. Mix well, then smear over the chicken. Leave to marinate for at least 1 hr or overnight if possible. Can be frozen at this stage.

  3. Fire up the barbecue. When the flames have died down, place the chicken on the centre of the barbecue, skin-side down, and cook for 15-20 mins until nicely charred. Flip the chicken over and continue cooking for another 5-15 mins until cooked through. Check that the juices run clear, as the heat of every barbecue will vary. To cook in the oven, heat to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and cook for 35-40 mins on a baking tray. To char the skin, grill for a further 5-10 mins. Serve with lemon wedges, and Tabasco if you like it hot.

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Comments, questions and tips

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9th May, 2016
Really easy marinade and very testy meal (BBQ). Made double amount so to have some in the fridge. Will certainly do this again.
bluematrix's picture
3rd Jun, 2015
love this recipe have done this loads of times, family fav!!!!,
21st Jan, 2015
I love this recipe!
20th Sep, 2014
I've made this a few times, and it's happily marinating again for this weekend. No substitutions, no alterations, just a really great recipe. Brilliant with tomato & red pepper rice, coleslaw and the suggested buttery baked corn.
27th Jul, 2014
Fantastic recipe, it was delicious and really easy. This is already a favourite.
11th May, 2013
I made this for supper tonight, it was a real hit, my partner said I was getting very chefy, all thanks to BBC good food!! I add some coriander to the marinade and grated some lemon zest over the marinated chicken. Served with boiled new potatoes and vegetables. Delicious and fresh. Definitely one to do again.
5th May, 2013
What would be the best to cook this other than barbecuing? Just in he oven?
21st Feb, 2013
This recipe is great - all the family love it. Really easy to make and very tasty!
11th Jun, 2013
First time I've spatchcocked and it was easy and cut down massively on the cooking time. I'm not keen on barbeques so was happy to pop it in the oven at 180 and serve it with salad. I was glad I de-seeded the chillies although there was extra chilli sauce with "Pain is good" written on it, added by some!
8th Jan, 2013
Delicious, I substituted coriander for parsley. I also used chicken breast with bone in and skin on and cooked it in the oven. I made up twice the suggested amount of marinade and this was just enough for 4. The whole family loved it. Served it with coleslaw and potato wedges. Try it!


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