Servings: 2 Prep: 10 min Cook: 50 min Total: 60 min
This recipe is about roasted chicken, but a roasted chicken that’s actually faster to do than a standard roasted chicken, as well as more flavorful!
This chicken recipe involves a process called “Spatchcocking” or “Spattlecocking”; a process where the backbone of a whole chicken is removed and the bird is flattened and cooked. It’s basically butterflying the entire bird. While I realize that “spatchcock” is a strange word, it’s traditionally the word used for a young chicken in England (much like the French called them “poussins”). The technique and bird name have fused over the years, giving us the spatchcock technique.
Spatchcocking a bird is a great way to go, for a few reasons:
- The bird cooks faster. Because it’s flat and “thin”, it gets direct heat from both sides, while also cooking more evenly. Often the breasts will be dry, while the legs are just cooked. Spatchcocking yields a juicy bird, through and through!
- It usually tastes better. With a whole bird, not a lot of seasoning usually makes it into the cavity. It’s just tough to get in there and season it. However, with a spatchcocked bird, you can season one side, flip it over and season the other!
- It’s often a bit easier to get a crispy skin. Because this lies flat and even in a big pan or on a grill, the skin gets an even and direct blast of heat, crisping it up!
- It’s a little easier, in my opinion, to handle a spatchcocked chicken. It’s been flattened and just cuts up more easily. A whole bird is round and likes to wobble and roll.
I highly suggest watching at least one of the following two videos. Both show how to spatchcock a chicken, but each are a little different. I also feel both leave out an important piece, but we’ll get to that.
Bamaquer Spatchcock Video: including removing the keel bone and splitting the bird completely in half. This can be a smart move, but not required.
Hilah Spatchcock Video: she gives a great pitch for spatchcocking in a high quality video, even though she doesn’t remove the keel bone. HOWEVER, she DOES tuck the wings, which is an improvement over the first guy. She also shows a little bit about cutting the bird after it’s cooked.
Both techniques will work, as the main goal is simply flattening the chicken. I personally use a large chef’s knife, rather than the kitchen shears. I place my bird on the cutting board, with the backbone done. I stick my knife into the cavity, just to one side of the backbone, pushing the entire length of the knife through, so that the tip is sticking out near the neck. Then, with force, I push the knife straight through the ribcage. I move the knife to the other side of the backbone and repeat. Two swift moves and the backbone pops right out! From there, I remove the keel bone like the gentleman in the first video, then fold the wings like Hilah!
Once your bird is flattened, you can do what you’d like with it. Roast it, pan fry it, smoke it, grill it, etc. All are options! I’ve got a very simple herb rub and roasted it in a pan. Nothing more is really needed with a good well cooked bird!
Note: After spatchcocking, a light brine would make this already stellar recipe just a little bit better!
Serving Size: The recipe is for an about 3-lb. bird, which would feed 2 to 3 people. Add a few herbs and get a 4 or 5 lb. bird for 4 people. Adjust cooking time, accordingly.
Oven Roasted Spatchcock ChickenPrint Rate
- 2 tsp fresh thyme chopped
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary chopped
- 2 tsp fresh oregano chopped
- 1/2 tsp crushed red chili flakes
- 4 each garlic clove minced
- 1/4 cup light oil (such as coconut olive or ghee)
- 1 each whole chicken
- salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 450 F.
- Combine your herbs, chili flakes, garlic and oil. Mix, and then pour half into a large mixing bowl, while reserving the other half for later.
- Spatchcock your chicken and then place in the bowl with the herb oil. Coat the chicken, evenly and well, with the herb oil. At this point, it's not uncommon to let the bird marinate in the herbs for a few hours, up to overnight. This step is optional.
- Season both sides of the bird with salt and pepper.
- Pre-heat a large skillet or oven-proof sauté pan (large enough for the whole bird to easily fit in the bottom of the pan). The pan needs to be very hot.
- Once the pan is very hot, place your chicken in the pan, with the skin side down.
- Place the whole pan in the oven and allow it to roast until a thermometer in the deepest part of the leg reads 160 F. (start checking at about 30 minutes. Depending on the size of the bird, it will be ready between 35 and 50 minutes) When is it is the correct temperature, remove the pan and turn the bird over, so that the skin is now facing up. Cover with foil and leave somewhere warm for about 10 minutes. This will let the bird relax, the juices will settle and the chicken will continue cooking on its own, from the internal heat still in the chicken.
- Drizzle some of the fresh herb oil over the top.
- Cut and serve!
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