The Devil’s Hot Toad Chicken

The Devil’s Hot Toad Chicken (French grilled spatchcocked chicken).

I found this great recipe in the book “French Grill: 125 Refined & Rustic Recipes.”

The Devil’s Hot Toad Chicken (Le Poulet De Diable En Crapaud) tastes fantastic, thanks to a mixture of mustard, ground peppers, and bread crumbs (applied while the chicken is cooking).  True to French cooking, the chicken displays a balanced flavor profile – a little spicy, a little tangy, a little crunchy – and avoids excessive complication.

By the way, “toad” refers to the look of the chicken after it’s been spatchcocked: like a toad about to hop.

I wasn’t able to find the grounded French pepper piment d-Espelette, so I substituted hot paprika.

The Devil’s Hot Toad Chicken Recipe.


  • 1 whole chicken spatchcocked. See Aamer’s recipe for a tutorial or ask your butcher to “spatchcock” or “butterfly” the whole chicken
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt per pound of chicken
  • 1/2 teaspoon piment d’Espelette (ground French pepper). I substituted hot paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon spicy smoked paprika
  • 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs


  1. Dry brine the chicken: sprinkle chicken with salt and cover in fridge for at least 4 hours, as long as 24 hrs. This dry brine will allow the salt to penetrate deep into the chicken.
  2. Prepare the grill to cook at about 325 degrees direct.
  3. Whisk together the piment d’Espelette, paprikas, and mustard to prepare the rub.

    Mustard and ground peppers rub that gets applied during cooking
    Mustard and ground peppers rub that gets applied during cooking
  4. Rub 1/2 the butter (1 tablespoon) all over the chicken, including under the skin
  5. Place the chicken, skin side down, on the hot grill, cover (i.e. close the lid) and cook for about 15 minutes or until the skin begins to turn golden.

    Chicken after initial sear
    Chicken after initial sear
  6. Flip the chicken (so it’s now skin side up) and rub the skin with 2/3 of the mustard mixture.

    Rub applied to chicken
    Rub applied to chicken
  7. Sprinkle with half the bread crumbs. Press them into the rub and add a few drops of butter
  8. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes
  9. Flip (so skin side down now) and baste the meaty parts of the chicken with the remaining mustard mixture. Sprinkle with the rest of the bread crumbs and press them into rub. Add a few drops of butter
  10. Flip the chicken for the last time (skin side up) and cook until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

    The Devil's Hot Toad Chicken
    The Devil’s Hot Toad Chicken




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