Spatchcock Lemon Rosemary Chicken

If you ever stumble upon one of my favorite restaurants, Le Petit Maison, be sure to pop in and order their lemon chicken – as well as just about everything their legendary chef, Raphael, has on the menu. You can find his spots in London, Dubai, Beirut, and Miami. The original is in Nice and well worth the trek.

If you can’t make it there anytime soon, this lemon chicken recipe is a close cousin to Le Petit’s tasty bird. You’ll have to plan ahead and marinate the chicken so it absorbs the flavors of thyme, rosemary, garlic and the other seasonings. Afterward, grill on direct, then indirect, heat as you brush it with the basting sauce. It’s that simple and that delicious.


  • Marinate the Chicken:
  • 1 3-4 pound fresh chicken or 2 small baby chickens, spatchcocked (backbone removed by your butcher)
  • 4 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped, separated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, leaves finally chopped, separated
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 6 cloves of fresh garlic, rough chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and stemmed
  • 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard
  • Malden salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Basting Sauce for Grilling:
  • 3 lemons, peel just the outer yellow skin of the lemon, not the white flesh, then set aside and juice the lemons (discard the flesh of the lemon and white skin)
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons of mustard
  • 1/4 cup rosemary leaves
  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper to taster

Making It

  • Marinate the chicken 24 hours in advance:
  • Lay lay the bird flat on a baking sheet. Pat dry and liberally add salt and pepper to both sides, then set aside. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, herbs, garlic, jalapeño and pulse 4-6 times. You want the ingredients to be chopped but not minced. Brush liberally on both sides, put in gallon bags, and refrigerate for 12-14 hours.
  • It’s grill time. Turn one half of your gas grill on medium-high, while the other half should remain off. If you are using a charcoal grill, look up the best way to have both direct and indirect heat for grilling. Weber has a quality site for this.
  • While the grill heats up, make the basting sauce by putting all the basting ingredients in an immersion blender, and pulsing until you have a bright yellow and thick fragrant mix to brush on the chicken while cooking.
  • Take the bird out of the bag and flick off the garlic. Grill breast down over direct heat for ten minutes, then flip and put on indirect heat for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on size. Be sure to liberally baste the chicken every 10 minutes. Glob it on to raise the flavor profile.
  • At the 45 minute mark, check to see when the temperature gets to 150 degrees, then wrap in tinfoil. After 10 minutes, remove from tinfoil and let sit for 5 more, then carve with a very sharp knife

4 comments on “Spatchcock Lemon Rosemary Chicken

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