For me, a perfect roast chicken has been elusive. I never particularly loved poultry as a child, as most of what was served was overcooked and tended to be on the dry side. When I started learning to cook I was following a vegetarian diet, and thus never learned to roast a proper chicken. In the past year as I have incorporated meat back into my diet, I haven't had many occasions to cook an entire chicken. It's a lot of meat for just two people!
The first time I attempted a roast chicken, I didn't realize it was still frozen in the center and after two hours in the oven it looked perfect. Upon carving, however, I realized my mistake when the center was still raw! All of my side dishes done, I resorted to microwaving the carved meat to finish cooking. I know, I know, cooking travesty! The result was chicken that was safe to eat, but very dry. Again, cementing the fact that a whole roasted bird is just not good.
Enter spatchcocking. I have what I call a "culinary bucketlist" of recipes and cooking methods I've read about, watched on a cooking show, or eaten at a restaurant, that I'd like to learn to cook and perfect. Spatchcocking is one of those cooking methods. Simply put, spatchcocking is butterflying a chicken or turkey so it cooks quicker and more evenly. So when the grocery store had free range organic whole chickens on sale, I knew I'd have to try it. It's really not that hard!
It is however, kind of gross. Really, anything that involves cutting through bone and flesh, removing innards, is gross. I think I'm too used to my meat prepackaged in a safe little container. Sure I'll pull the heads off prawns and I love oysters, but get my hands inside a whole raw chicken? It better be worth it. And this recipe certainly was.
Note to self...take your ring off next time you're wrists deep in raw chicken...
The first step is to thaw your chicken - for real, make sure this sucker is thoroughly thawed. Don't make the mistake I did and put a partially frozen chicken in the oven. You will not be happy. To begin spatchcocking, lay the chicken on a baking sheet, parchment paper, or something to protect your counter, with the backbone facing up. Basically the process involves removing the backbone so we can flatten the chicken. To do this I used my clean kitchen shears. Pretty gross, and kind of messy, but not that hard. Cut through the ribs on either side of the backbone until you've removed the entire thing. Trim any visible fat and remove any giblets left inside your chicken. Flip the chicken over and press down on the breastbone to flatten.
To season the chicken, I used softened butter, minced garlic, and rosemary. Spread under and on top of the skin, it provides great flavor and creates a nice crispy skin. Salt and pepper finish the seasoning. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven until a meat thermometer reads 165. My chicken took about 45 minutes - far less than a half frozen whole chicken!
The verdict? Spatchcocking is a great way to cook a chicken and although the process was a bit gross it made a perfectly juicy bird with great crispy skin!
Spatchcock Roast Chicken with RosemaryBy Land of Noms, October 14, 2014
- 1 Whole chicken, thawed if previously frozen
- 2 tablespoons of butter, room temperature
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 springs of fresh rosemary, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Lay out your chicken backbone facing up on parchment paper or a baking sheet.
- Using clean kitchen shears or a sharp knife, carefully cut through ribs on either side of the backbone, removing backbone.
- Trim away any visible fat and remove giblets, dry chicken well with clean paper towel.
- Flip over and press down on the breastbone to flatten the chicken.
- Combine butter, garlic, and rosemary in a small dish.
- Loosen skin on breasts and thighs of chicken and spread butter under and on top of skin.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Place chicken skin side up in a roasting pan with a tray fitted into the bottom.
- Roast uncovered until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees, 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on size of chicken.
Sharing our culinary adventures in Cascadia with simple, sustainable & satisfying eats. Bon Appétit!