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Don't let the name Spatchcocked Chicken fool you into thinking this chicken dish is hard because it is really easy and completely delicious!
My husband is a HUGE chicken fan, well, at least since we got married. When he was younger, he used to say that chicken was always a dry, tasteless piece of meat. His mother never cooked it right, and his dad taught him how to cook it in the microwave. I mean, he even tried to show me this method once, and I just looked at him sideways, trying not to laugh because my silly husband was very proud of himself. After all, he did get the chicken cooked. Now whether or not it was actually edible or tasteful is a whole other debate. I always totally appreciate my husband's help in the kitchen, but I know he prefers his role as a taste tester above all other things.
Though let's be honest, chicken (or any whole bird really) can be very bland after a while. It can become dry and parts overcooked, especially when we are talking about an entire bird. I mean, we often try to figure out how to make these things look good and taste good, and recipes become so overly complicated we mess them. I mean. When we go through all the work to cook them, it is logical to expect them to taste good, right? Well, you've come to the right place!
What is Spatchcocoked Chicken?
In a nutshell, this is a way of cooking chicken. It's also known by the term butterflying the chicken, but the process is the same. Remove the spine from the chicken's back, allowing the chicken to open up and lay flat. This allows the chicken's skin to get nice and crispy and the flesh to stay tender and moist.
How to Spatchcock and Chicken
1. Take a whole, fully defrosted (if previously frozen) chicken, remove the giblets and pat dry.
2. Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut down along each side of the spine from the cavity to the neck.
3. Score the cartilage on the back, inside areas of the breast bone with a knife, creating a shallow incision.
4. Flip the whole chicken over and gently press down on the breast bone with your hands to crack the breast bone, allowing it to lay flatter.
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What Does Spatchcocking Do?
When you cook a whole bird, it can sometimes take a long time. Think about how long it takes for you to roast your Thanksgiving turkey, for example. You might also notice that the breasts can sometimes become drier than other parts of the bird when it does as well. The skin can also have uneven browning, with the bottom of the bird being soggier while the tops get crispy.
When you spatchcock the bird, you allow it to lay flat. This solves the issues of hidden areas of the bird, not getting enough heat while others are getting more. It will enable the bird to cook more evenly and faster. All while leaving the bird perfectly juicy all the way through.
Can You Only Spatchcock a Chicken?
Nope, you can do this to any whole bird, and it works perfectly. I've made chickens, ducks, and even turkeys using this method, and they all come out the same way with juicy meat and beautiful crispy skin!
Ingredients in Spatchcocked Chicken
- You can really season the bird any way you want for this simple recipe; it has the following.
- Whole Chicken
More Family Dinner Recipes
Meyer Lemon Sheet Pan Roasted Chicken
- 1 4-5lb Whole Chicken or turkey (cooking times will vary)
- ¼ C Butter Ghee, or Olive Oil
- 2-4 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 1 TBS Salt
- ¼ C Lemon Juice
- 2 TBS Thyme
- 2 TBS Rosemary chopped
- 1 Medium Onion sliced
- 1 Lemon Sliced
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Take your defrosted bird of choice and using a pair of kitchen shears or a serrated knife and cut along the sides of the backbone and remove it from the bird.
- Make a small incision on the backside of the breast cartilage and then lay the bird down on a cutting board, opening the chicken. Gently push down along the middle of the breast line, breaking the breastbone to flatten the chicken, set aside.
- Slice the onion and the lemon and arrange in a layer in either in a cast iron pan, sheet pan, or baking dish depending on the size of the bird you are using.
- Mix the remaining ingredients, Rub the chicken down with the mixture, making sure to coat all sides and underneath the skin. Place the chicken over the onions and lemons breast side up and let it rest about 15 minutes. (If you want your skin extra crispy, you can leave this in the fridge, uncovered overnight. Just bring it back to room temperature for about 30 minutes before continuing.)
- Roast the chicken at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until the thickest part reads 160 degrees with a meat thermometer. (If you are using a bigger bird, the time will vary if the bird starts to over-brown, reduce the heat to 375, lightly tent with foil and continue to cook in 10-minute increments until the internal temperature has reached 165.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest. Remember, the temperature will increase another 10-15 degrees as it rests. Do not overcook the bird, or it can become dry.
- Serve it along with some of your favorite sides or give some of these a try!
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