Spatchcocked Birds

Total Time: 24 hr 55 min
Prep: 20 min
Inactive: 24 hr
Cook: 35 min
Yield: 7 birds
Level: Easy


  • 1 spatchcocked or butterflied chicken
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns, lightly crushed in mortar and pestle
  • Generous 1/3 cup olive oil (not extra-virgin)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and bruised
  • Maldon or other sea salt
  • Handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 spatchcocked or butterflied poussins or Cornish game hens
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • Generous 1/3 cup peanut or vegetable oil
  • Good grinding black pepper
  • Maldon or other sea salt
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves chopped
  • 4 spatchcocked or butterflied quails
  • 1 bunch scallions, finely sliced
  • Generous 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • Dash toasted sesame oil
  • 3/4 -inch chunk fresh ginger, unpeeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Maldon or other sea salt
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves chopped


  1. For the 1 marinated chicken:
    1. For sprinkling over the 1 chicken:For the 2 marinated hens:For sprinkling over the 2 hens:For the 4 marinated quails:For sprinkling over the 4 quails:
  2. Set each bird in their respective marinade in a dish into which they fit snugly, cover with plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator, preferably overnight or for 24 hours, though even a couple of hours would have an effect.
  3. When the grill is good and hot, lift the birds out of their marinade and cook until the flesh has lost all raw pinkness but is still tender within and the skin is crisp and burnished and blistered. It’s hard to be precise about times, since grills differ even more than ovens do, but on my grill – a gas-fired Outdoor Chef, which I love to distraction and, since it has a lid, I use even in the winter rain – the chicken takes about 35 minutes, the Cornish hens 15 and the quail about 7.
  4. Along with sea salt, sprinkle freshly chopped parsley over the chicken and cilantro over the hens and quail, or use whatever herb seems right for the marinades you’ve concocted.