Grilled Mustard and Green Onion Chicken

Let me just start off by saying I LOVE our new grill.  I can set food on it, close the lid, and go do other things in the kitchen.  When I cook on the stove, I feel compelled to constantly be moving it, checking on it, but on the grill, I can let food do what it’s supposed to.

This was the second whole chicken we’ve grilled, and the first that was amazingly delicious.  Normally a chicken might take 40 minutes to an hour to cook on the grill, but by butterflying it, it takes 12-15 minutes on each side, as long as the butchering goes quickly.  Last time I butterflied a chicken, it was so quick and easy that I wanted to do a photo tutorial.  Of course, the chicken gave me some trouble, but I got enough good shots to put something together – find it below the recipe.

Grilled Mustard and Green Onion Chicken (4 servings)


  • 1 whole chicken, 3-4 pounds
  • 4-6 green onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 c. dijon mustard


  1. To prepare the chicken, turn it breast-side down on a cutting board.  Slice down either side of the chicken’s backbone, cutting through rib bones, to remove the backbone.  Save this for homemade chicken stock!  Watch out for the rib bones as they can be somewhat sharp.
  2. Open the two sides of the chicken and turn it so that the breasts are facing toward you.  You should see a triangular shaped bone.  Slice diagonally, downward and underneath the breastbone from both sides.  Slide your thumbs into each of the slits and push upward, releasing the breastbone.  The chicken should now lay completely flat.
  3. In a food processor, finely chop the green onions and garlic.  Squeeze lemon juice over the onions and add mustard, plus a pinch of salt and pepper.  Process until green onions form a paste – my mixture looked much like guacamole.
  4. Returning to your chicken, place it skin-side up.  Loosen skin over breasts and thighs as much as possible without tearing the skin.  Spread approximately half of the onion mixture under and on top of the chicken skin on this side.  Flip the chicken over and spread the remaining mixture over that side.
  5. Heat a grill to medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, or until temperature reaches at least 350.  Place chicken, breast side down, on the grill, and cook for 15 minutes.  Flip and cook 12-15 minutes more, or until cooked through.

How to Butterfly a Chicken

As I mentioned above, this chicken’s breastbone was giving me a bit of trouble coming out.  It was actually covered with a little bit of flesh and fat, so I couldn’t even find it at first.  Then it wouldn’t come out, so, the pictures aren’t perfectly illustrative of the process.  Also, as the rib bones are sharp and troublesome, I will be researching another way to dismantle a chicken that might be a bit more useful.  There may be no way to get around the rib bone issue, but I can try.

With the chicken breast-side down on a cutting board, slice down one side of the backbone.

When I get down to the bottom of the backbone, I will often use the heel of one hand to press down on the knife.

Here is one side of the chicken completely cut away from the backbone.

Then, cut the backbone away from the other side of the chicken.

Here is the chicken opened up.  You could probably grill it like this, but taking out the breastbone makes it lie completely flat, and it’s a little quicker to grill and easier to cut apart that way.

The tip of the knife here shows where the breastbone is.  Slicing downward on either side of it, you can pop it out.  This is where pictures are missing because I had a real struggle getting it out of there and kind of, ah, butchered the chicken (pardon the pun).

See how the chicken now lies completely flat.  Hooray!


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