Cast Iron Spatchcocked Chicken carved up and resting on crispy grilled kale and garnished with delicate red nasturtium flowers

Cast Iron Spatchcocked Chicken with Crispy Grilled Kale

  • Author: Foodterra
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4 1x


Spatchcocked chicken, or butterflying, ensures quick and even cooking, but more importantly, using two cast iron skillets to weight the bird delivers crispy skin and a juicy interior. The robust spice rub adds to the exterior lacquer and ramps up the flavor. Arrange the mouthwatering results on flame-kissed kale, drizzle with pan juices and a delicate nasturtium butter–drop the forks and dig in.



  • 1 whole farm chicken, (about 34 pounds)
  • 1 bunch of kale, stems removed
  • 1 dried pasilla chileseeded and ground using a mortar and pestle (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Olive oilas needed
  • fleur de sel, a flaky sea salt for finishing
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, season as you go

For the Nasturtium compound butter

  • 810 nasturtium flowers, cleaned, stems removed, small chop
  • 5 tablespoonunsalted butterat room temperature
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Splash of vinegar (apple cider or rice vinegar)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Stack a medium cast-iron skillet inside a larger one and preheat them, too.
  2. Spatchcock the chicken: remove wings (you can cook them on the side for a Scooby snack). Place bird breast side down on a work surface. Using kitchen shears and starting at thighs, cut down both sides of backbone, remove it and save for stock. Flip bird over and, using both hands, press down firmly on each side of breastbone, breaking ribs and flattening chicken for grilling. Remove ribcage and wishbone. Cut along leg and thighbones to expose dark meat for even cooking.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together ground pasilla, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle spice rub over both sides of chicken, pressing with your hands to adhere it to surface. Coat skin side of bird with olive oil.
  4. Coat bottom of the large preheated skillet with olive oil and add chicken, breast side down. Coat exposed side of chicken with oil and place second skillet on top to weigh it down. Shut grill lid and cook for 25–30 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking and reweighting it with skillet, until skin is golden brown. Transfer to a work surface and let rest for at least 5 minutes.
  5. Make nasturtium compound butter: In a mixing bowl with a hand whisk or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, combine nasturtiums, butter, lemon zest, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix until ingredients are fully incorporated and butter lightens in color. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  6. Grill Kale: Massage the kale leaves with olive oil to coat and season with salt and pepper. Grill directly on the grate until kale is crispy and blackened in some spots, 4–5 minutes. Arrange on a serving plate.
  7. Carve the chicken: remove thighs, drumsticks, and both breasts. Slice breasts and plate all of the chicken on top of kale. Spoon some nasturtium butter directly onto hot chicken and whisk the rest into pan juices remaining in skillet. Pour over chicken and finish with nasturtium flowers and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.


  • While we prefer to use a grill outside and avoid smoking out our house and splattering up the oven interior you can roast the chicken for about 30 minutes in a preheated 450°F oven instead. The top cast iron pan does help cut down on most of the splatter.
  • Make extra nasturtium compound butter and save it for later. Spoon the finished butter onto a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap, roll into a cylinder, and twist ends to secure. Refrigerate for about a week or freeze for the future, about 6 months.
  • Category: entrée
  • Method: grill

Keywords: Spatchcocked chicken, kale,