3.12.2009

Spatchcock Chicken

I've cooked plenty of whole chickens and I think it's a great way to easily fix a whole bird. It's very simple and you can place herbs and lemons inside the chicken for extra flavor. But my favorite way to fix a whole chicken is to spatchcock it - to butterfly it. There's a couple of reason why I prefer this method. First, I love dark meat and when you butterfly a chicken, the thighs get nice and crispy. When you cook a whole bird, unless you flip the chicken, the thighs will be on the bottom of the pan and they end up never really getting brown. Also, if you are pressed for time, a butterflied chicken will cook much faster than a whole chicken. To butterfly the chicken, you simply remove the backbone, flip the chicken over, and press down on the breastbone until the chicken cracks and lays flat.



Use heavy duty kitchen scissors or these poultry shears, which I have.  They cut right through bone very easily and make removing the backbone a snap.  Just cut through on either side of the backbone and make sure your fingers are out of the way.  I save the backbones and freeze them to use later in broths.

Flip the birds breast side up and press on the breastbone, until you hear a crack and the bird lays flat.

I squeeze lemon and orange juice all over the chickens, drizzle them in olive oil, salt and pepper and chopped parsley.  Marinate for a couple of hours on a sheet pan in the fridge.

Place a rack under the chickens and roast at 375 degrees for 50 minutes.  Roast the lemons along with the chickens.  They get very soft and are easy then to squeeze the juice out during roasting.





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18 comments:

  1. This is really helpful. I'll admit, I usually buy mine already cut and cleaned.

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  2. I do exactly the same thing! And I also use the backbone for stock. I feel very cannibalistic while cutting the chicken. :) Thank you as always for your wonderful tutorial, I have not marinaded the chicken like that, so I will be trying that next time! I usually cut little slits in the skin and stuff cut garlic cloves in there - yum. I love garlicky, lemony chicken.

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  3. Un altro ragione che non posso aspettare per ritornare a casa mama! 3 mesi senza tuo cibo e molto difficile. Tu vederò mercoledì!

    Baci,
    Barry

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  4. You know how I love your step by steps! Never did this, but now I'm going to try! Are you working on the video's???

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  5. Fantastic chicken recipe!

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  6. I love this recipe! I am going to fix it for Sunday dinner. I have butterflied my chickens like that before but have always BBQ'd them, roasting them in the oven with lemon and orange sounds delicious. Thanks you for this wonderful site!

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  7. Ah, I have a coupon for chicken and they're going to get spatchcocked!! Looks so good :)

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  8. Have always been afraid to cut through the backbone (how squeamishly-silly is that?) but with your tutorial - think I could give it a try. Has all my favorite flavors combined.

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  9. i like the tutorials too. i get to stare at that rock on your finger!!!

    oh, and spatchcocked chicken. great to eat, fun to say!

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  10. do you make gravy from the drippings? seems you could hit that with butter or wine or both...

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  11. FRET: You are so right: I absolutely have done a pan gravy from the drippings. These were actually Rock Cornish hens, so they were much smaller. Regular chickens provide enough drippings that you can make a sauce. Now I'm getting hungry talking about it.

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  12. I would like to be the 3rd person to say how much I like your step my step photos - they are lovely too.
    This post is perfectly timed for those spring chickens we will soon be enjoying.
    I had never had poultry shears until my mum bought me a pair last year - they have become one of my favourite kitchen tools.

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  13. I mentioned to my husband just last week that this is the way I next want to make chicken. And his favorite marinade is *exactly* what you used, how funny. The first time I used both the orange and lemon he thought it would be too citrusy, but it's so perfect every time. Thanks for the tutorial.

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  14. Oh...beautiful! I totally agree about the need for brown thighs by the way...they are easily my favorite part and I adore crispy skin. I think I roast chicken out of laziness but I'll have to give this a try!

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  15. Can't wait to go buy a chicken!

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  16. Thanks a lot. This is an interesting recipe. At last I have found something interesting and unique to serve to my guests during the holidays. I am sure that they'll love this Spatchcock Chicken.

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  17. Anonymous4/28/2011

    375 F is 190 C for those who need to know. Love this recipe, I add lemon thyme to the marinade... nice.

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