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spatchcocked Chicken With Herb Garlic Lemon Smear on top and on cutting board
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5 from 5 votes

Lemon Garlic Herb Chicken

Smear your cutting board and chicken with herbs, garlic, lemon and olive oil to create an aromatic herb chicken dish packed with fresh flavor. The simple technique of mingling the chicken juices with a herb-y smear while the chicken rests is definitely worth checking out.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings (change as needed): 4
Author: Cheryl


  • 1 whole chicken, 3 1/2-4 pounds, spatchcocked/flattened (NOTE 1) I used kosher chicken if possible (already brined)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • seasonings (salt, pepper, paprika)

Aromatic Herb Lemon Garlic Smear

  • 1/2 cup fresh herbs, finely chopped (any combination e.g. basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, parsley, tarragon)
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves (2 tsp), crushed (or 2 frozen cubes)
  • zest of 1 lemon (plus optional 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes or less (optional)


  • IF GRILLING : Clean and oil grill. Heat gas grill to medium high (400-425F).
    IF ROASTING: Heat oven to 400F. Line a pan with foil and spray with oil.
  • PREPARE CHICKEN: Rub olive oil over chicken and sprinkle on seasonings, front and back.
  • TO GRILL CHICKEN Place chicken skin side up on grill. Turn off burner under chicken. Try to keep temperature of BBQ at 375F-425F. Grill for about 40 minutes or until instant thermometer reads 160F in breast. Temperature will rise with resting. Optional: To increase browning on skin, flip chicken over, skin side down, turn on burner and grill for a few more minutes.) NOTE 2 to roast chicken instead. 
  • MAKE SMEAR: While chicken is cooking, combine with all smear ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. It's a good idea to grate garlic or crush it with back of knife since it will be eaten raw. (Alternatively, pulse all ingredients in food processor - that's what I do.)
  • FINISH DISH: Spread 1/3 of aromatic smear on a large cutting board or platter. (If using platter, cut up chicken first). Place chicken on top of smear. Spoon rest of smear on top and sides of chicken. Cut chicken into pieces. Loosely cover with foil and let chicken rest for 10 minutes, allowing chicken juices to mingle with smear. Flip chicken around in the juices and herbs and serve.


  1. To spatchcock or flatten chicken: Cut out the backbone by using kitchen scissors to cut down both sides of the back bone. Turn chicken over and press down hard to flatten. (Or ask the butcher to do it for you)
  2. To roast chicken (instead of grilling): Place chicken, skin side down on pan. Roast chicken for 20 minutes. Flip over and roast for another 20 minutes or until instant thermometer reads 160F. Temperature will rise with resting.
  3. To Make Ahead: The aromatic smear can be made a few hours ahead. The chicken can be made ahead and warmed in a 350F for 10 minutes. Or served cold. 
Calories: 634kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 53g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 434mg | Potassium: 418mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1032IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 2mg