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Butterflied Grilled Chicken With a Chile-Lime Rub

Butterflied Grilled Chicken With a Chile-Lime Rub
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WebMD Recipe from

A quick and efficient way to cook a whole bird on the grill is to butterfly it. This method is so popular, especially in Southern California, that large chains have thrived selling chile-rubbed butterflied chicken to happy patrons. When cooking a whole chicken on the grill, try searing the chicken first over direct heat then finish cooking over indirect heat (as instructed in this recipe). That way you avoid the all too common problem when grilling—chicken burned on the outside and raw in the center. For best flavor, let the chicken marinate in the rub overnight in the refrigerator. Serve with lime wedges and fresh salsa.

Prep: 30 | Total Time: 85
  • 3 tablespoons
    chile powder, preferably New Mexico chile, or Hungarian paprika
  • 2 tablespoons
    extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons
    lime zest, freshly grated
  • 3 tablespoons
    lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon
    garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon
    ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon
    ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon
    dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1.5 teaspoons
    kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon
    freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Pinch
    of ground cinnamon
  • 1 3 1/2- to 4-pound
  1. Combine chile powder (or paprika) and oil in a small bowl with lime zest and juice, garlic, coriander, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and cinnamon to form a wet paste.
  2. Using kitchen shears, cut the chicken down one side of the backbone, through the ribs. Make an identical cut on the opposite side to remove the backbone completely; discard (or reserve it for stock). Place the chicken cut-side down and flatten with the heel of your hand. Generously smear the spice rub under and over the skin and on the interior of the bird. Place in a nonreactive baking dish (see Tip). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
  3. Preheat half the grill to medium-high (or build a medium-high heat fire on one side of a charcoal grill); leave the other half unheated. Have a squirt bottle of water ready by the grill.
  4. Leave all the spice rub on the chicken. Place the chicken skin-side down over the heat and grill until the skin begins to color and char marks form, about 5 minutes. (Extinguish any flare-ups with the squirt bottle.) Flip over and grill 5 minutes more. Move the chicken to the unheated side. Close the lid and cook, making sure the chicken is flat against the grate, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh without touching bone registers 165°F, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a platter and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before carving.


Nutritional Information

Makes: 6 servings
  • Calories214
  • Fat9 g
    • Saturated fat2 g
  • Cholesterol88 mg
  • Carbohydrates4 g
    • Dietary fiber2 g
  • Protein28 g
  • Sodium422 mg
* Nutritional Guidelines based on the USDA's MyPlate Standards.
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