whole raw chicken isolated on white background

My sister just went to a cookbook class she belongs to and told me the demonstration that day was on Spatchcocking a chicken. That was a new term to me and thought it might be for some of you too. Basically it means to butterfly. You accomplish it by removing the backbone of a whole chicken then laying the chicken flat before roasting, grilling, or cooking in your cast iron skillet. The process makes for a chicken with a super crisp skin and moist meat in much less time than it takes to roast or grill a whole chicken without spatchcocking it.

It is quicker because it exposes more surface area to the heat. It should take about 15 minutes less time to cook through. Chicken has two different kinds of meat that cook through at two different temperatures. Breast meat starts to dry out at 150 degrees and dark leg meat isn’t thoroughly cooked until it reaches 165-170 degrees. By spatchcocking, both kinds of meat get done at the same time creating a juicier chicken. And since all of the skin is exposed evenly to the heat when spatchcocking, it all crisps up evenly.

So how do you spatchcock? Start by placing the chicken breast side down on your work surface. You can also do this in the pan you are going to cook the chicken in if you want. Starting at the tail end, cut along both sides of the backbone with sharp kitchen shears and remove the backbone. You can save the backbone to make your own chicken stock. Open the chicken up, turn it breast side down and push on it to flatten it. Cook at 400-450 degrees until your meat thermometer reaches 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the leg meat.

I think it is an interesting process to try. Whole chickens are less expensive than buying cut-up chickens and this process should help get a flavorful dinner on the table more quickly!


Marcia Steed

Marcia Steed

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Home Economics Education. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and traveling.

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