Spatchcock Grilled Chicken and Couscous

This Spatchcock-grilled chicken is an ode to North African cuisine, seasoned with a fragrant blend of herbs and spices. Slowly barbecued with hard wood and basted in olive oil, this dish requires minimal preparation and elementary grill skills. Round out the meal with Casablanca couscous, and you have a light main course perfect for warm summer nights.


For the chicken

1.8 – 2.5kg whole chicken, trimmed with giblets removed
olive oil
3 tablespoons Ras el Hanout seasoning
zest of 1 lemon
mint leaves

For the Casablanca Couscous

3 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups multi-coloured couscous
½ cup red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cups Medjool dates, finely chopped
¼ cups dried apricots, finely chopped
½ cup dry roasted and salted hazelnuts, chopped
½ cup mint leaves, packed
fresh ground pepper


  1. Using sharp shears, cut down either side of the chicken’s backbone. Remove the spine and discard. Flip the bird breast-side up, press into the breast bone and flatten the chicken. Drizzle the chicken inside and out with olive oil, massage a liberal degree of the Ras el Hanout across all portions of the chicken, cover in plastic wrap and rest at room temperature 30 minutes prior to grilling.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the grill to medium-high using the two zone cooking method by turning one side of the grill to high heat. This will be your direct zone. Leave the other side off. This will be your indirect zone. Wrap 2 cups of wood chips in tin foil, then perforate tin foil packet several times with a fork or knife. Apply packet to back corner of the direct heat grilling zone. Once wood packet is billowing with smoke the grill is ready.
    HOT TIP – Soak woodchips in water one hour prior to grilling. A smoker box is a nice alternative to the wood chip packet.
  3. Simply rest the spatchcocked chicken over the direct zone grates breast-side down and grill for 10-12 minutes with the grill lid closed. Turn the chicken over and slide to the cooler, indirect zone. Grill for an additional 20-30 minutes, basting intermittently with oil, until the internal temperature of the dark thigh meat reaches 70°C and juices run clear.
  4. Remove chicken from the grill and transfer to a cutting board, loosely tent with tin foil and rest for 5-10 minutes. Carve the bird in half length-wise through the breast bone and plate upon a bed of prepared couscous. Season additionally to taste, garnish with lemon zest and mint leaves. Serve.