How to Spatchcock a Chicken

by candy47

Roast a chicken or turkey in half the usual time by spatchcocking before roasting.

What is Spatchcocking?
The definition of the word spatchcocking has become a bit muddled over the past 300 years or so. But, by today’s standards it simply means to ‘butterfly’ a chicken, or any type of fowl, in preparation for grilling or roasting.
I saw this done on a television cooking show and of course I had to try it myself. It’s surprisingly easy and only takes a few minutes. Remove the backbone then flatten the bird at the breast and you have a spatchcocked chicken.
The same can be done with your Thanksgiving turkey, it'll roast in half the time!

Intro photo from video below

Spatchcock a Chicken Video

With Sarah Carey

Sarah Carey from Everyday Food shows us in this short 3 minute video how easy it is to spatchcock a chicken.

This is How I Did It

There's nothing intimidating about spatchcocking a chicken, I did it with this four pound chicken and it took me about a minute.  I always put poultry on my marble cutting board, it's easy to clean and disinfect.  A sharp scissors makes the job go fast and easy.

  • With the back side up, begin cutting alongside the backbone.
  • Cut on both sides and remove backbone.
  • Open the chicken like you're opening a book.
  • Turn the chicken over so the breast side is up then press on it to flatten.  You'll probably hear the breastbone crack.
  • Transfer to a shallow roasting pan.

Photos by Candy Dorsey

Cutting the Backbone
Cutting the Backbone
Backbone Removed
Backbone Removed
Breast Side Up
Breast Side Up
Ready to Roast
Ready to Roast

How to Cook a Spatchcocked Chicken

Simply place the chicken skin side up in a shallow pan, roast at 450 F for about 35 minutes. As you can see, I sliced a lemon and put some of the slices under the chicken and the rest on top with a few fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped.

Let your imagination take over as far as seasoning goes. You can use BBQ sauce, fresh rosemary, Italian seasoning, adobo or spread orange marmalade on the chicken with a drizzle of honey. The possibilities are endless with a little imagination.

Serving Platters

Different motifs for any occasion.  

  • Lenox, always a classic
  • Stainless steel in assorted sizes
  • Tequila Sunrise for a Southwestern style

The Right Tools for the Job

I like to use a non-porous cutting board for poultry like this marble one, and a good kitchen shears will easily cut through the skin and bone of a raw chicken.

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Updated: 09/30/2017, candy47
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candy47 on 05/01/2016

The first time I heard the word was on the Martha Stewart Show.

Sgolis on 05/01/2016

My husband does this, but he has never referred to it as Spatchcock. I learned a new word

candy47 on 04/29/2016

It's so easy Sandy, and delicious too!

Sandy KS on 04/29/2016

Oh that looks amazing prepare. I bet it is delicious.

CruiseReady on 09/03/2015

That's certainly a new word to me, too. We were recently tipped off to seasoning baked chicken with dijon mustard and honey, with curry mixed in. Delish!

AngelaJohnson on 06/01/2015

I learned a new word - spatchcock. I haven't cooked a whole chicken in a long time.

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