clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Grilled Butterflied Chicken with Dry Brine

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Total Time: 8 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x


Grilled Butterflied Chicken with Dry Brine recipe - butterfly the chicken to speed up cooking, dry brine it to season it all the way through.


  • 2 (4-pound) chickens
  • 2 tablespoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt (1 tablespoon per bird)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper (1 teaspoon per bird)
  • 1 fist sized chunk smoking wood (I used an oak wine barrel stave, but hickory, cherry, and apple are good alternatives)


  1. Butterfly and Dry brine the chickens: Butterfly the chickens: cut out the backbone, then flatten the breastbone by pressing down hard with the back of your hand. Fold the wing tips back under the wing. Sprinkle each chicken evenly with 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, concentrating a little extra on the breasts and thighs. Refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours.
  2. Prepare the grill: Prepare your grill for cooking on indirect high heat, and add the wood chunk to the coals. For my Weber kettle, I light a chimney starter full of charcoal, wait for it to be covered with ash, then pour it in two equal piles on the sides of the grill, and put the drip pan in the middle, between the piles. Finally, I put the wood chunk on one of the piles.
  3. Grill the chicken: Put the chicken on the grill over the drip pan, skin side down. Cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Flip the chicken skin side up and cook, covered, until the chicken is done, about another 15 minutes. The chicken should be 160°F in the thickest part of the breast and 170°F or more in the deepest part of the thigh.
  4. Crisp up the chicken (optional): At this point, you should have nice, crispy skin. If you don't, put the chicken skin side down over the coals and sear until the skin is crisped up, about 3 minutes. Watch out - dripping chicken fat causes flare-ups. You don't want to burn the chicken at the last minute.
  5. Serve: Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes, then carve into serving pieces. Cut the legs from the body, then cut the drumsticks from the thighs. Cut the wings from the breasts, then split the breast right down the middle.


For more butterflying details, see my How to Butterfly A Chicken Video

I recommend the Weber Chimney Starter, because it holds 5 quarts of charcoal, exactly the right amount for this recipe.

  • Prep Time: 8 hours
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Grilling
  • Cuisine: American