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spatchcock grilled chicken on planks on grill
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4.89 from 18 votes

Cedar Planked Chicken

You don't need a special smoker to add wonderful smoky flavor to your chicken. With simple wood planks, you can achieve a beautifully golden juicy cedar plank chicken infused with a mild woody smoked flavor. Simple and delicious!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
marinate45 mins
Total Time1 hr 45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings (change as needed): 4
Author: Cheryl


  • 1 whole chicken or one flattened/spatchcocked chicken, Note 1 (I use kosher chicken which is already brined, Note 2)
  • 2 cedar grilling planks (1/8 to 1/4 inch thick/3.2-6.3mm) (or one if chicken will fit)
  • Garnish: chopped parsley or herbs, plus squeeze of lemon for garnish

Marinade for chicken

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup (5g) chopped fresh herbs (thyme, green onions, oregano, rosemary) or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • PREPARE CHICKEN and PLANKS: To flatten (spatchcock) a chicken, see Note 1. Soak the planks in water for 15-30 minutes if 1/4-1/8/3.2-6.3mm inch thick and 60 minutes if 1/2 inch/1.27cm thick. Put them in the sink or a large pan and place cans or a pot on top to hold them down under water.
  • COAT CHICKEN WITH LEMON HERB MIXTURE: Combine all marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Coat the chicken all over with the mixture. Place in fridge, covered in a ziploc bag or covered with plastic wrap and marinate for a few hours or overnight.
    Shortcut : Eliminate marinating step by buying a kosher chicken (already brined). Or, let chicken marinate on counter for 30-45 minutes.
    If refrigerated, bring chicken to room temperature before grilling for 30 minutes.
  • PLANK AND GRILL CHICKEN: Heat gas grill to high. Pat planks with paper towel and spray lightly with oil. Place chicken, skin side up, on the planks (I use two planks side by side if chicken is too wide for one).
    Step 1: Place plank with chicken directly on the hot grill, close the lid for 3-4 minutes (if 1/8-1/4 inch plank) and 5-8 minutes for 1/2-3/4 inch plank. Planks will start charring and begin to give off smoke.
    Step 2: Then turn off burners under the chicken (keep on other burners). Cook undisturbed for about 20 minutes. Shift planks 180 degrees to help with even cooking. Close lid.
    Step 3: Turn burner(s) that were off back on to low and cook for another 18-22 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and reaches temperature of 160F/71C in breast on instant read thermometer. Temperature will rise as chicken rests.
  • SERVE: Transfer chicken to cutting board, loosely cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting into pieces. Temperature will rise. Add garnishes and serve. If not too charred, planks can be rinsed in water (no soap) and reused. If only 1/4 inch, I toss them.


Optional brine time is not included in timing. 
  1. To flatten (spatchcock) a whole chicken: Turn chicken over, breast side down. Cut along both sides of the backbone using a kitchen scissors or boning knife. Remove backbone. Turn chicken over and press down hard on the breast bone to flatten. 
  2. To brine chicken (optional): Place 4 cups room temperature water in a large ziploc or container. Add 4 tbsp salt, 1 tbsp sugar (and a clove or garlic and fresh thyme or rosemary if you like). Squish bag to dissolve salt and sugar. Add chicken. Seal bag/container and refrigerate for 6-8 hours or 1 hour at room temperature. Rinse chicken, pat dry and continue recipe. 
  3. Make Ahead: this chicken can be made ahead as it's delicious cold or at room temperature. 
Nutrition values are estimates. 
Calories: 532kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 441mg | Potassium: 381mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 583IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 2mg