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Spatchcock chicken recipe

Spatchcock chicken recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Poultry
  • Chicken
  • Cuts of chicken
  • Whole chicken
  • Whole roast chicken

Spatchcock two whole chickens by removing their backbone and flattening them before roasting them with lemon and spices. You can make a delicious gravy by adding a splash of white wine to the roasting tin at the end, encouraging all those delicious sticky bits to dissolve.

37 people made this

IngredientsMakes: 2 roast chickens

  • 2 (1.5kg) whole chickens
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced and seeded

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:35min ›Extra time:5min resting › Ready in:50min

  1. Preheat oven to 230 C / Gas 8.
  2. Place chicken, breast side down, on a work surface. Starting at the tail end, cut along both sides of backbone with kitchen scissors. Remove backbone. Grabbing hold of both sides of the chicken, open it like a book. Turn breast side up. Push down on each side of breast with your hands until you hear it crack. Flatten chicken and transfer to one end of a large rimmed baking tray. Repeat with the second chicken.
  3. Combine salt, tarragon, paprika and pepper in a small bowl. Stir in oil. Run your fingers under chicken skin and rub tarragon paste under skin. Slide lemon slices under skin in a single layer.
  4. Roast until skin is crisp and chicken is no longer pink, about 35 minutes. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before slicing each chicken into 8 pieces.


Your local butcher can spatchcock your chicken for you if you prefer.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(19)

Reviews in English (15)

by gogeta

The roasting time is way off, more like an hour. To prevent problem of dry meat, I always brine any chicken that I will roast or grill. And yes, the salt is excessive.-16 Jan 2019

by Michael Lebert

Excellent recipe! We had a heavy frost last night but I was able to salvage the last of our Mexican Tarragon. I processed it with the oil and other seasonings and applied as directed. The chicken finished nice and crispy with a wonderful color. YUMMY!-11 Nov 2018

Spatchcocked (Butterflied) Roast Chicken Recipe

Making a simple but perfect roast chicken is a technique that should be in every home cook's arsenal. But the reality is that perfection is difficult to achieve, especially if you're trying to roast that chicken whole. The problem is that chicken breasts dry out if cooked beyond 150°F (66°C) or so, but legs need to come up to 175°F (80°C). Spatchcocking, or butterflying, is the solution: By flattening out the chicken, you expose its legs to higher heat, helping them cook a little faster than the breasts—which is exactly what you want for juicy meat. It also yields crisper skin and a much faster cooking time than traditional roasting. In and out of the oven in 45 minutes or less!

How to Spatchcock a Chicken in 6 Easy Steps

It may look tricky, but this cooking technique is so simple.

There&rsquos nothing better than classic roast chicken. But with these simple steps to spatchcocking (a.k.a. butterflying) a chicken, we&rsquove made sure that you&rsquoll have a perfectly cooked bird &mdash in a lot less time than it normally takes. Introducing the best chicken recipe to add to your arsenal: Spatchcock chicken! Our lemon thyme spatchcock chicken is juicy and moist, and is the perfect addition to your weekend dinner routine. Learn how to spatchcock a chicken and try this recipe for the best-ever Sunday night, family-style supper.

Why Are Spatchcocked Chickens Better for Roasting?

If you’re going to try your hand at spatchcocking (which I promise, is very simple!), you probably are equally as interested in why you should cook chicken this way.

The trickiest part of roasting a chicken is timing. White meat (chicken breasts) cooks and dries out much faster than dark meat (chicken legs and thighs). Traditional trussing can provide some insurance by plumping up the chicken breasts, but doesn’t work very effectively.

Why Spatchcocking Works:

  • removing the backbone allows the chicken to lay flat during roasting, which exposes the legs and breasts of the chicken evenly, and allows the dark and white meat to cook quickly and evenly. The heat in most kitchen ovens is very inconsistent, and this method uses this weakness as an advantage.
  • spatchcocking exposes all of the skin, resulting in crisper, more evenly golden brown chicken skin (*note: seasoning and salting the chicken well in advance, and allowing it to sit uncovered in the fridge, also helps with this).
  • since spatchcocked poultry cooks faster (more surface area, more heat exposure), it allows you to roast at higher temperatures, which promotes even browning.
  • spatchcocked chickens are easier to season, as everything lays flat. There is no concern that the awkward crevices won’t be seasoned as evenly as the rest of the bird.
  • no trussing required and easier to carve for serving.

Roasted Spatchcock Chicken And Vegetables

How to spatchcock a chicken, this is our favourite way to roast a whole chicken.

Every part is so juicy and flavorful, it’s an easy dinner that comes together in one pan.

How to Spatchcock Chicken:

You’ll need a whole chicken and a pair of good kitchen shears.

Place the chicken breast-side down with the wings and neck facing towards you, identify the spine and use the kitchen shears to cut through the ribs right next to the spine on both sides.

Keep that piece for later to make chicken stock.

Now open up the rib cage and use a heavy knife to score down the sternum, This will help to pop out that breastbone and flatten the chicken.

Season the inside with about half a tsp of salt and a pinch of black pepper.

Now flip the chicken over and place it on a rimmed lined baking sheet. Using the palm of your hand push firmly over the breastbone so the chicken lays completely flat.

Use your hands to carefully separate the skin from the meat over the breast thigh and drumstick areas, you’re going to fill those spaces with amazing flavoured butter.

In a small mixing bowl combine four Tbsp of softened unsalted butter and one Tbsp of olive oil add one Tbsp of finely chopped fresh parsley, then mince in two garlic cloves.

Now add half a tsp of fresh lemon zest then squeeze in one Tbsp of lemon juice and don’t add more than that or it’ll be hard to combine the butter.

Finally season with a tsp of salt and a generous pinch of black pepper.

Mash that together with a fork for a couple of minutes until nearly all of the lemon juice is incorporated.

Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel so it’s easier to work with then stuff two-thirds of your flavoured butter mix under the chicken skin, make sure to get it in the breast, thigh and drumstick areas, then spread the butter around by massaging over the top of the skin.

Roughly spread the remaining butter over the top of the chicken. The butter melts over the chicken so there’s no need for perfection here.

Set the chicken aside and this is a great time to pre-heat your oven to 425˚F. Rinse and scrub two pounds of medium red potatoes and cut them into quarters.

Next prepare your 8 ounces of Brussels sprouts. Trim off the dry base and remove any tough outer leaves.

Cut the larger sprouts in half and if they’re tiny leave them whole. Peel three medium carrots and cut them into 1-inch pieces.

Arrange all of your vegetables in a single layer around your prepared chicken, drizzle everything with olive oil and season generously with salt and black pepper.

Bake in the centre of a preheated oven for 45 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160˚F. When inserted into the thickest part of the chicken breast.

Then, if you have any lemon left, I love to serve it with some fresh slices of lemon, it just looks so beautiful, gives it a little pop of freshness and colour.

And of course the vegetables and in all honesty, I love the vegetables just as much as I do the chicken.

There’s so much flavour there. Perfectly cooked and especially the Brussels sprouts – my favourite.

Ok, lets slice right into it and because it lays flat, the chicken breast turns out juicy and flavorful.

It’s not the prettiest slice but that’s what happens when you’re desperate.

I can tell you that brown meat or the dark meat of the chicken even better. If you like dark meat and that lemon butter under the skin and over the skin gives the chicken so much incredible flavour, you can taste the lemon, the parsley and the garlic.

The vegetables are infused with that same flavoured butter.

it just makes every bite irresistible good.

The potatoes have a crisp, salty skin and they’re just creamy on the inside. Delicious!

How To Carve A Spatchcock Chicken

After you allow the baked spatchcock chicken to rest, it’s time to carve. Here’s the best approach:

  • Cut off legs from the breast. (Both thigh and drumstick.)
  • Separate drumsticks from thighs by cutting through the joint.
  • Remove breast and wings from by running a knife along the breast bone and then rib cage to gently pull meat away from carcass.
  • Separate wings from breast by cutting through skin and connective tissue where they meet.
  • Slice breasts in half if desired and serve!

Lemon, garlic and thyme roast spatchcock chicken

Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6. Put the chicken, breast-side down, on a large chopping board. Using a large, heavy knife or sturdy kitchen scissors, cut down either side of the backbone of the chicken. Remove the bone and open out the chicken and press to flatten with the heel of your hand.

Using a pestle and mortar or a mini processor, mash or blitz the garlic, lemon zest and thyme leaves to a coarse paste, stirring in the olive oil to loosen.

With a sharp knife make slashes over the flesh of the chicken and rub the mixture in with your hands, pushing it into the slashes all over the chicken.

Spread the potato slices over the bottom of a large roasting tin or shallow baking tray and rest the chicken on top. Pour the chicken stock into the bottom of the tin and roast for 45 mins until golden and the juices run clear from the chicken when pierced with a knife.

Carve the chicken into pieces and serve with the potatoes with a good grinding of black pepper and the pan juices spooned over. For toddlers, chop the chicken (without the skin) into pieces and serve with the potatoes and a little of the pan juices spooned over the top.

Cook's tip: For babies, put some of the chicken (without the skin) in a blender with some of the pan juices and blitz to a loose coarse purée. Add a little potato and some mashed veg, such as carrot or butternut squash.

A spatchcock chicken (“butterflied”) is a technique used to remove the backbone and flatten the chicken for a more even cooking in less time than roasting it whole, ensuring a juicy chicken with crispy skin.

  • To start, be sure to have the chicken on a clean cutting surface breast side down. Starting at the neck area using kitchen scissors or poultry shears, cut along each side of the backbone towards the legs to remove it, cutting through the rib bones as you go. Discard the backbone or freeze for soup stock.
  • In the center area there will be a triangle of cartilage right where the breastbone starts. Using a sharp knife, cut down a quarter inch and spread the cut area open to reveal the breast bone.
  • Flip the chicken over and press down. OR after removing the back bone, spread the chicken out and turn over. Flatten the breastbone using the heel of your hand so that the meat is butterflied and all one thickness.
  • Sprinkle the dry rub all over the chicken and using your hand rub into the skin to adhere. Set aside while you start up your grill or smoker to 325°F.

Ingredients You’ll Need For Spatchcock Chicken

You’ll only need a handful of ingredients to make this easy one pot chicken dinner. Here they are:

  • A Whole Chicken
  • Butter – for the compound butter. Compound butter is a mixture of butter with spices and herbs.
  • Poultry Herb Blend – You can find poultry herb blends in your local grocery store located with all the other herbs, or you can make your own using my recipe here.
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Salt & Pepper

I made a compound butter with poultry herbs, garlic and smoked paprika, which I spread half of it under the skin and the remaining over the skin for extra flavor and yumminess. Trust me, this butter is one of the secrets to this chicken being super juicy and succulent.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 whole 4-pound chicken
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced, divided
  • 6 small shallots (6 ounces), peeled and quartered lengthwise

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place chicken, breast side down, on a work surface. Starting at thigh end, cut along 1 side of backbone with kitchen shears. Turn chicken around cut along other side. Discard backbone or save for stock. Flip chicken, and open it like a book. Press firmly on breastbone to flatten.

Rub chicken with 1 tablespoon oil, and season with 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Brush 1 tablespoon oil in the center of a rimmed baking sheet slightly larger than the size of the chicken, and place half the lemon slices in a single layer on top of oil. Place chicken, skin side up, on lemons. Beginning at the neck end of breast, carefully loosen skin from flesh of breast and thighs with your fingers. Slide remaining lemon slices under skin in a single layer.

Roast chicken 20 minutes. Toss shallots with remaining teaspoon oil, and scatter around chicken. Continue to roast chicken until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast reaches 165 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes more.

Transfer chicken to a carving board, and let rest 10 minutes. Cut chicken into 8 pieces, and serve with roasted lemons, shallots, and pan juices. If using chicken for soup and salad, let chicken cool completely. Remove and discard skin, lemon under skin, and bones, and shred meat into bite-size pieces. Chicken, roasted lemons, shallots, and pan juices can be refrigerated up to 2 days. Store meat and pan juices in separate containers lemons and shallots can be stored together.