WEEKEND RECIPE from Red’s True BBQ: Brined & Smoked Spatchcock Chicken

By November 22, 2014

Food. Leeds.


Every fortnight, TSOTA features one of its top recipes for all you hungry folks out there to try. It might be courtesy of a local chef, foodie or from one of our avid followers or contributors.

If you are a chef, baker or just cook for fun, and would like to contribute a recipe to this feature, do get in touch or tweet us @TSOTArts (#weekendrecipe)

This week’s recipe comes from the folks at RED’S TRUE BBQ, the third branch of which has recently opened in Headingley. This one will take a little time, and you’ll need a BBQ, but certainly one to impress your friends and truly do-able!

Read our mouth-watering review of Red’s True BBQ Headingley launch



Brine Ingredients:

  • 2 ltrs water
  • 200ml Bourbon (or whisky)
  • 300g sea salt
  • 300g brown sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves


Method (Brine):

  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl deep enough to fully submerge 2 halves of the chicken, dissolving the sugar and salt fully (use tepid water if needed)


Rub Ingredients:

  • 2 ground/flaked bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon flaked sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoons soft light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin



  • Mix all ingredients in a pestle and mortar

Brining the chicken overnight with a simple salt and sugar solution will help lock extra moisture into the breast, making for a much more plump, juicy slow-smoked bird.  It’s such a simple trick but massively effective!


Spatchcock Preparation

  • Half your chicken & remove the backbone by using heavy duty kitchen scissors.  From the rear end of the bird, cut along one side of the back bone all the way up to neck.  Repeat on the other side so you completely remove the spine.  Flip the bird over, open up and push down to flatten it out. Use a sharp knife to cut through the middle of the breasts, pushing through the wishbone, fully halving the chicken
  • Make your brine by combining all ingredients in a bowl deep enough to fully submerge the two halves of chicken
  • Mix well to dissolve the sugar and salt and add the chicken. Weigh the chicken halves down with a plate to submerge them fully. You can also use heavy duty zip lock bags if you prefer.
  • Leave to take on the flavour for 12hrs in the fridge.



  • Prepare your grill for indirect heat between 225F-275F (110C-135C). Soak 4 to 6 wood chunks. Indirect cooking is as simple as pushing hot coals in your barbecue to one side, and cooking on the opposite side.
  • Once brined, dry the chicken with paper towels and make a few slashes into the legs and the thighs all the way to the bone. This will help the chook cook evenly.
  • Massage the dry rub deep into the chicken so it’s well covered, on both sides and push into the slashes. Leave aside to marinate for 10 minutes.
  • Add the wood chunks to the coals and position your chicken halves on the opposite of the coals for indirect smoking. Place the lid back on your grill.
  • Smoke for 2-3 hours and only open the smoker cover if the smoke levels die off.  If needed, add more logs or chips to keep the smoke churning
  • Use a temperature probe to check the internal temperature of the chicken. Once you hit 72C internal, flip the chooks skin-side down but this time crisp the skin up directly over the coals for a few seconds. If you don’t have a digital probe thermometer, just cook the chicken until the juices run clear once pierced with a toothpick.
  • Once crispy, flip them back over and place them onto the indirect side of the grill.
  • Glaze the smoked chicken with a BBQ sauce generously and smoke for a further 20 mins with the lid on.
  • You should now be at 75C after one final probe check.
  • Joint the rested chicken, top with more BBQ sauce and serve alongside slaw and pickles.











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