There are so many ways to prepare a roasted chicken. It's a staple dish, whether you're using it for meal prep lunches(Opens in a new window) or sheet-pan dinners(Opens in a new window). But if you haven't spatchcocked a chicken before, it may become your standard chicken cooking technique.
What is Spatchcock Chicken?
Yes, it has a funny name. Spatchcock chicken means “butterflied." It describes a whole bird with its backbone removed (using poultry shears(Opens in a new window)) so that it can be flattened out.
This method of cooking chicken is good because flat chicken cooks faster and more evenly. The skin is also easier to season, so more of it gets browned and crisp.
Spatchcock Chicken Temperature Cheat Sheet
Making sure the oven and your chicken are up to temp is of the utmost importance for food safety. Our roasted spatchcock chicken recipe below recommends an oven temp of 450°F. According to the USDA, the internal temperature of chicken should be 165°F to be considered fully cooked. Be sure to use a meat thermometer to check on yours.
Here are our best tips for spatchcock chicken success:
1. Season Generously
Using salt and pepper(Opens in a new window) and olive oil adds dimension and accentuates the natural flavor of chicken, and it simply makes the chicken taste good. Pinch salt with five fingers and sprinkle evenly about four times so that salt is part of every bite.
2. Make crisper skin
2. Make Crispier Skin
If you have time, dry the spatchcocked chicken. Put it on the sheet pan(Opens in a new window) loosely covered with wax paper in the refrigerator for a day or so after salting. Save the oil for later. If you have 30 spare minutes before dinner, remove the chicken from the fridge to take the chill off.
3. Press down hard
3. Press Down Hard
This chicken should be pretty flat. Press down on the breast until it breaks. Then press some more to get it really flat or pound it with the OXO Meat Tenderizer(Opens in a new window).
4. Use high heat
High-heat roasting is perfect for a flat chicken. Ovens lose heat quickly, so when you check the temperature of the chicken with a meat thermometer(Opens in a new window), open the oven door, put the pan on the counter, close the door, and take the temp.
5. Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature
Check the temperature after 35 minutes by using a meat thermometer. It may take a while longer to cook depending on the size and shape of your chicken and actual oven temperature. The USDA recommends cooking chicken to 165°F for safety(Opens in a new window), but the temperature will continue to rise when the chicken is out of the oven. For taste and juiciness, some chefs cook chicken to 155°F at the center of the breast.
6. Make broth
6. Make broth
Broth is easy to make and saves you money. Save the spine and wing tips to make stock by simmering in four cups of water with a cut up onion, sliced carrot, two stalks of celery and a bay leaf for one-to-four hours. Strain and freeze.
7. Make it yours!
The beauty of a basic recipe is that it begs to be customized. Substitute butter for oil. Rub grated garlic, fresh thyme leaves, chopped oregano, paprika or cumin powder to the skin. Roast on a bed of lemon slices or sprinkle with chopped rosemary or sage. Brush(Opens in a new window) with barbecue sauce halfway through the cooking, or keep the ingredients as is and grill on a banked fire, adjusting the time to your grill’s heat, and only flipping for a few supervised crispiness minutes.
Read on for our delicious Spatchcock Chicken recipe. Then save these tips on how to poach chicken(Opens in a new window), how to roast vegetables(Opens in a new window), and the best way to get crispy turkey skin(Opens in a new window) for future weeknight dinners.