Dinner ideas

Julie Goodwin’s barbecued butterflied chicken

A flavour-packed barbecue dinner.
Julie Goodwin's butterflied barbecue Portuguese chicken and vegetablesPhotography: John Paul Urizar. Styling: Michele Cranston.

Butterflying a whole chicken at home is easy and cost-effective, and it’s a great way to ensure a tender result when barbecuing. Julie Goodwin’s butterflied chicken and vibrant vegies are spicy and flavoursome, and the spice level can be adjusted according to your taste.

Serve this butterflied chicken with your favourite peri-peri sauce and a side of our crispy roast potatoes and barbecued corn on the cob.




Preheat a covered barbecue with the lid closed to 200°C.


To butterfly the chicken, use a sharp knife or kitchen scissors to cut down either side of the backbone; remove the backbone. Open the chicken out flat. Pat chicken dry with paper towel.


Turn the chicken over and, starting at the neck end, insert your fingers between the skin and flesh of the breast and over thighs and drumsticks to separate.


Mix the butter in a small bowl with the paprika, chilli, garlic and parsley. Grate the rind from the lemon; add to the bowl with salt and pepper. Spread the butter mixture under the skin and over the drumsticks, thighs and breast.


Cut the lemon in half and place cut-side down in a baking dish. Place the chicken on top of the lemon. Turn the middle burners of the barbecue off if a 6-burner, or the side ones off if a 4-burner, and place the baking dish on the part of the barbecue where the burners are off. Roast with the hood down for 45-50 minutes or until the skin is richly golden and chicken is cooked through. Carefully remove the chicken and lemon from the pan. Place the chicken on a platter; cover with foil to rest before carving.


While the chicken is cooking, place the vegetables on the direct-heat part of the barbecue with a generous drizzle of oil. Turn once or twice during cooking and remove when cooked through. Cover to keep warm.


While the chicken is resting, drizzle the vegetables with any pan juices in the roasting pan. Serve with peri-peri sauce.

Butter mixture is suitable to freeze. Not suitable to microwave.

Julie’s notes

How to butterfly a chicken

Butterflying is a technique used to flatten poultry so that it can cook evenly and more quickly, especially when it comes to roasting in the oven or cooking on the grill or barbecue.

To butterfly a whole chicken, such as for this Portuguese-style chicken recipe, place it breast-side-down on a board. Cut down both sides of the backbone with strong kitchen scissors. Discard the backbone (or you can freeze it to make your own stock). Turn the chicken over, then press down firmly with the heel of your hand to flatten it out.

This recipe ran in The Australian Women’s Weekly in 2018 and was published online in 2024.

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