Beer Brined Spatchcock BBQ Chicken

5 from 1 reviews

Barbecuing a whole chicken has never been more delicious! Beer-brined spatchcock BBQ chicken comes off the grill juicy, flavorful and evenly cooked every time - perfect for summer cookouts.


  • 1 whole chicken (about 3 lb)
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 (12 oz) beer of choice
  • Water
  • 1/4 cup homemade BBQ spice rub
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 tbsp beer or apple cider vinegar


First brine the chicken.

  1. Make the brine by mixing salt, sugar and about 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl or other container until the salt and sugar dissolve. Pour it into the brine.
  2. Place the chicken (whole) into the brine. Fill the rest of the way with cool water to cover the chicken.
  3. Place the chicken (in the brine) in the refrigerator for at least a few hours, or up to 24 hours.

Spatchcock the chicken.

  1. Remove chicken from the brine solution and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet with the backbone facing up. Use sharp kitchen shears to cut along either side of the backbone and remove it.
  3. Flip the chicken over and press down with your hands to flatten the chicken so that all of the outside surfaces (with skin) are now facing up.
  4. An optional step for the crispiest skin: If you have time, place the chicken back in the refrigerator completely dry and bare. This will dry out the skin, resulting in a nice crisp outside once it's cooked. Leave it for a couple of hours, or up to 24 hours.

Rub the chicken down.

  1. Rub the chicken all over with the spice rub.
  2. Pour olive oil over the chicken and give it a good rub again.

BBQ the chicken on the grill.

    1.  Preheat grill, then turn it down and prepare it for indirect heat. If you're using a gas grill, turn one side to medium heat and turn off the other side. If you're using a charcoal grill, build the fire on one side of the grill, leaving the other side open.
    2. Place spatchcocked chicken with breast/skin side up on indirect heat (the side without the heat on). Close the grill and cook until thickest part of the thigh registers 150°F on a thermometer, about 45 minutes (start checking around 35-40 minutes).
    3. Mix BBQ sauce with beer or apple cider vinegar to thin it. Baste chicken with sauce every 5-10 minutes, starting around 25-30 minutes after the chicken goes on the grill.
    4. Optional: Move chicken to direct heat and place breast/skin side down to char the skin. Cook about 5 minutes. Check temperature to make sure chicken has reached 165°F before removing from grill.
    5. Let the chicken rest about 5-10 minutes before carving.


Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your chicken and hot hot your fire is, but a spatchcock chicken usually takes anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to cook on the grill. You'll know it's done when the internal temperature reaches 165°F. I highly recommend using a meat thermometer any time you cook chicken (or any meat) to ensure safe cooking without drying it out. Check the temperature at the thickest part of both the thigh and breast without touching bone.

Keywords: BBQ chicken, beer brined BBQ chicken, spatchcock BBQ chicken on the grill