Butterflied lemon and rosemary chicken

Butterflied lemon and rosemary chicken

Pollo a la parrilla con limon y romerito

South American Grill
Bonnie Savage

Chicken is often butterflied and grilled whole in South America. Cooking in this way aids the meat to cook evenly and helps prevent the delicate breast meat from drying out. The marinade gives the chicken a garlicky tang which perfectly complements the charred and crisp skin. Delicious!


Quantity Ingredient
1.5kg whole free-range chicken
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small handful rosemary leaves
vegetable oil, for greasing
rock salt, for seasoning


  1. To butterfly the chicken, place it breast side down on a chopping board. Use kitchen scissors or a large sharp knife to cut along both sides of the backbone from the tail to the neck and remove the backbone. Turn the chicken over and use the palm of your hand to press down and break the breastbone. Cut the skin connecting the thighs and the body and bend the thighs outwards to break the joints. The chicken should now lay flat and cook more evenly. Wash under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. To make the marinade, mix the garlic, cumin and pepper together in a small bowl to make a smooth paste. Finely grate the zest of one of the lemons and juice both the lemons. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil and rosemary to the garlic mixture and stir to combine.
  3. Smear the mixture over the bone side of the chicken and under the skin of the chicken breast. Place on a large non-reactive tray, cover, and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 2–4 hours.
  4. Preheat a charcoal or gas barbecue to 180ºC. All the burners should be set to medium. Brush a little vegetable oil over the grill.
  5. Season the chicken with rock salt and cook the chicken, breast side down, for 15 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown and crisp. Turn the chicken over, close the barbecue lid and cook for a further 15–20 minutes, or until the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. Transfer to a chopping board, cover with foil, and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
  6. To serve, cut the chicken into eight pieces and serve with quinoa salad.
South American Grill
South American
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