Roast Chicken or Spatchcocked Grilled Chicken

Contributor: Jim Brown via his wife, Niz, from Ristorante La Lanterna.

This is from the recipe collection of Jim Brown (former beloved Il Cenacolo Member who recently passed away). This recipe was used in his La Lanterna restaurant.

There are as many ideas about how to best roast a chicken as there are cooks. Jim wasn’t very dogmatic about it. Many, the many Sunday Dinners he cooked for us started with two whole chickens, seasoned in various ways – at a minimum, rubbed with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then he put them side-by-side in a large Pyrex baking dish, facing in opposite directions, and baked them at 400F for an hour or so. The chickens are done when a leg will jiggle easily and the meat and skin start to pull away from the drumstick.

An alternative is Spatchcocked grilled chicken. To spatchcock a chicken, cut the raw chicken right along the backbone – or cut along both sides to take out the backbone entirely – and spread it out so that the inside cavity of the chicken is flat against the cutting board. Season it and either roast it or grill it. If you are short on time, this is a good option.


Notes and Special Equipment: Oven-roasted or outside grill
Prep Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: minimum 60 min
  • Whole chicken or
  • Spatchcocked chicken
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Seasonings of choice

At a minimum, rub the chicken with a light coating of olive oil. Salt and pepper the bird prior to roasting, or use any herb and seasoning mix of your choice.

Follow cooking instructions for oven-roasted or grilled chicken.

Whole Roast Chicken (min internal temp: 165

3 to 4 lbs
5 to 7 lbs.
350°F (177°C) 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours
2 to 2 ¼ hours

A spatchcocked chicken will roast in about half the time and is a popular way to cook it on the grill or for a larger bird.


Wine Pairing Suggestion
Wine Pairing Ideas for Roasted and or Grilled Chicken: Chicken is so versatile that many different wines make good pairings. But first suggestions, stay away from Cabernet Sauvignon, Barolo, Sangiovese (these wines are heavy and require grilled beef and or grilled lamb dishes). If you are roasting the chicken and stuffing it with lots of lemons and sage, I would go with a dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc, Arneis, or Pinot Grigio. If instead you are spatchcocking the chicken, it will be more of a grilled style (some chefs place bricks on top of the spatchcocked chicken so it is weighted down (mattone in Italian) and gets more “grill” effect, maillard reaction, carmelization) in which case move to a heavier white such as a buttery chardonnay or go to a fruity red such as Merlot, Pinot Noir, or Barbera. Enjoy!

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