Half-Cocked Chicken
©2004, The Naked Whiz

No, this isn't half cooked chicken, it's half-cocked chicken. Take spatchcocking a step furher to produce chicken halves that don't have the bone and cartilege down the middle. This also allows you to more easily fit more chicken on the grid. We cook this chicken on a raised grid in a preheated ceramic cooker. The idea is to get the bird away from direct heat, but also to raise it closer to the hot ceramic dome (that's why we pre-heated the cooker) to assist in cooking and crispening the skin.


  • 1 - 3 to 4 pound chicken
  • Rub of your choice

Preparation Directions:

Spatchcock the chicken. What's that? Click here to read about how to spatchcock the bird. Then come back here and we'll half-cock it! These pictures show how it is done:

We want to remove the keel bone and the cartilege which runs down the center of the bird between the two breasts. Start by taking a sharp paring knife or boning knife and cut along either side of the cartilage and bone.
Here you can see the cuts have been made.
Use your fingers to get into the cut and separate the meat from the cartilege and bone. You may want to use your knife to cut the meat away from the cartilege and bone.
When you flattened the bird, the bone you see here between the blades of the shears may have cracked. If not, cut them with your kitchen shears.
Now just finish separating the meat from the bone and cartilege until you can pull it all out.
Use a knife to cut the two halves apart and.....
.....there you have it: A half-cocked chicken.

Cooking Directions:

Stabilize your egg at 400°F. Allow the cooker to preheat for about half an hour. You want the entire cooker to be hot. Place your choice of smoking chunks on the fire and when the cooker is smoking to your satisfaction, place the chicken on a raised grid, skin side up. Cook direct for 30-45 minutes (or until an instant read thermometer shows the temperature you desire for the breast meat) and you are done. There is no need to turn the chicken over.

Special Instructions:

  1. You can also rub the chicken with your favorite rub. We have used McCormick's Montreal Roasted Garlic Chicken seasoning and Montreal Steak Seasoning, but lately our favorite is Dizzy Pig Shakin' The Tree.

  2. If you desire a crispier skin, you can leave the bird uncovered, skin side up in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours, to dry the skin. You will know the skin is dry when it takes on a transluscent appearance.

  3. You may find that your cooker's temperature drops and takes a while to come back up to 400 degrees after you place the bird on the grid. You may wish to open the air vents to help the fire get hot again, and then close them back up to their previous setting after the fire has returned to the proper temperature.

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