Brined and rubbed with a blend of bold Cajun herbs and spices, this free-range heritage chicken is injected with a homemade creole butter, split through the breast bone and butterflied over a bed of smoldering hard woods before the whole bird slowly smoked and basted to succulent, mouthwatering perfection. Prepared in a similar fashion to wood plank chicken, this farm-raised fowl is served in it’s entirety or carved into quarters and breasts, requiring only an elementary degree of grilling execution, the end product is rich in flavor and provocative in presentation. Perfect as a light main course for a rustic date night or as the centerpiece of your next backyard barbeque.
- Creole Butter Injection:
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoons dried oregano
- ½ teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 pinches red pepper flakes
- Melt butter and whisk all herbs and spices until well-combined. Pour into metal injector. Pump butter concoction into white and dark meat of chicken immediately. Discard excess.
Excellent video from Chef Kevin at Slabs a’Smokin – Sharing best practices to marinade injection. Although this video is demonstrated with an alternate marinade recipe, the same principals and strategy apply for this Cajun Spice-Rubbed and Creole Butter-Injected Smoked Spatchcock Chicken, or any other finely de-feathered whole beast that may grace your grill grates.
- Cajun Brine:
- 8 cups water and 2 lager beers
- 1 cup kosher salt
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- Aromatics - 6-8 smashed garlic cloves, small red onion quartered, fresh thyme and oregano, a small handful of black peppercorns, 1 tablespoon paprika, ½ teaspoon each cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes
- Cajun Spice-Rubbed and Creole Butter-Injected Spatchcock Chicken:
- 1 4-5 pound whole fresh chicken, thawed, trimmed and giblets removed
- Creole Butter Injection, recipe above
- Olive oil, plus additional for basting
- Cajun Seasoning:
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons each dried oregano and thyme
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black peppercorn, to taste
- 8 cups maple and peach wood, or your favorite alternate hardwood, soaked 1 hour in water
- Spray bottle, filled with water, to douse flames, as needed
- In a large pot bring Cajun Brine to a boil. Remove from burner and allow the water to cool entirely (to room temperature). Immerse chicken in the cooled water, cover and refrigerate for 4 hours, up to overnight.
- Remove chicken from brine, rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towel. Discard brine.
- Inject each breast of white and each thigh, drum and wing of dark meat of the chicken with 1-2oz of melted Creole Butter. Then, cover the chicken with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator, drizzle the chicken inside and out with olive oil, then massage a liberal degree of the Cajun Seasoning. Rest at room temperature 30 minutes prior to grilling.
- Meanwhile, preheat grill to 225-250F. Place a single layer of tin foil over the grill grates then spread pre-soaked wood chips across the grill surface. Once smoke begins to emanate from the grill, simply rest the spatchcocked chicken over the middle the wood chips, skin-side up. Smoke the chicken for approximately 90 minutes, lightly basting every 15-20 minutes with olive oil, or until internal temperature of the dark thigh meat reaches 160F and juices run clear.
- Carefully remove the chicken from the grill (attentive to the smoldering wood chips) and transfer to a cutting board. Tent chicken with tin foil and rest for 5-10 minutes. Carve, season additionally to taste, and serve.
Keep the grill lid closed as much as possible for consistency of heat and airflow.
Maintain a full water spray bottle near by to douse flames as they arise.
With attention to safety first, this will be the undisputed best smoked chicken ever pulled from your grill.