Sunday nights are traditionally a Chef’s night off. “Making reservations” is often my go-to, but when I feel like staying home for a relaxing, comforting dinner I always like to prepare a simple roast chicken, salad, and a glass of wine.

In the warmer months, the easiest way roast a chicken is to spatchcock it and cook it on the outdoor grill.

You know what that is…or do you? The Oxford English Dictionary tells us that a “spatchcock” is any poultry which has been split open, removed of its spine using poultry shears, flattened, and grilled.

This wacky term comes from Ireland and may be an abbreviation of “dispatch the cock,” a phrase which the Irish apparently threw around in the 18th century when they needed to whip up a quick and simple chicken dinner.

It really is easy.  Purchase a whole, organic, or minimally processed chicken.  Place it on a cutting board breast side down. Using a sharp knife or kitchen shears, cut along each side of the backbone.  Pull the two sides apart and flatten the bird.  When the chicken is flattened most of it is the same thickness which allows it to cook evenly and quickly.

Once flattened, liberally salt and pepper both sides of the chicken. I use kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. It’s helpful to have an assistant flip over the bird while you’re doing this so you don’t have to wash your hands between sides.

If you want to “fancy” it up a bit, take any fresh herbs you may have and slide them under the skin covering the breast, and thighs. I brought some in from my garden that wintered over—sage, thyme, flat-leaf parsley, and rosemary. Any and all are great with chicken!

Preheat you outdoor gas or charcoal grill to about 400°F.  Slide the chicken onto the grill skin side down. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.  The skin should be brown and crispy.  Turn the chicken over and move to an area of the grill that is not directly over the heat source.  Close the lid and cook for another 30 minutes.  Test for doneness (should be at least 165°F at the leg joint and the thickest part of the breast. If it’s not to temp, give it another 15 minutes and test again.  The time will vary depending on the size of the bird.

This technique works for all kinds of poultry and would be a great way to cook a turkey as well.

When the chicken is done, remove it from the grill and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes.  Cut into pieces and enjoy with a salad, a glass of wine and family and friends!