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Nutrition

Spatchcock Chicken

Learn how to spatchcock a chicken and then roast it to perfection. This spatchcock chicken recipe leaves you with the juiciest herbed chicken meat and super crispy skin.

There are so many different ways to prepare chicken. We have so many delicious chicken recipes on FFF. We love chicken thigh recipes, easy chicken breast recipes, chicken casserole recipes and everything in between.

What is a spatchcock chicken?

A spatchcock chicken is a method of cooking a whole chicken where you remove the spine so that you can butterfly the chicken and cook it faster. Spatchcock chicken is sometimes called butterflied chicken; they’re one in the same.

When it comes too preparing a whole chicken we are huge fans of spatchcock chicken! Why spatchcock chicken?

  • Spatchcock chicken is the best way to end up with crispy chicken AND juicy meat.
  • You get an even roast when you spatchcock a chicken because everything is laid flat.
  • Because the chicken is flat on a baking sheet or cooling rack, the cook time is faster.
  • Since the chicken is already flat, it is easier to carve after it is roasted.
  1. Prepare a baking sheet for the spatchcock chicken.
  2. Remove excess moisture from the chicken with a paper towel.
  3. Butterfly the chicken.
  4. Rub the spatchcock chicken with a dry rub.
  5. Refrigerate the chicken.
  6. Roast the spatchcock chicken.

How to Spatchcock a Chicken

Don’t be afraid to spatchcock your chicken. It is SO much easier than you think! There are really only 2 steps to get your spatchcock chicken flat.

Before removing the spine of the chicken, make sure you have a pair of very sharp kitchen shears. It makes the this whole process easier.

When you have a sharp kitchen shears, place the chicken flat on it’s breasts. Starting from the back of the bird, cut along one side of the spine of the bird. Then, repeat on the other side of the spine.

Once the spine is completely removed, the bird should fall open.

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Raw spatchcock chicken on a platter.

After you have removed the spine from the chicken, flip the chicken over and spread the chicken out so that the opening of the chicken is facing the flat surface.

Place your hand on the middle of the chicken and press down so that the breast bone breaks and the chicken is flat on the surface.

That’s it! You have spatchcocked a chicken! Now it’s time to flavor and roast the chicken.

Once you have spatchcocked the chicken, it’s time to rub the chicken with dry rub. Using a dry rub on the chicken skin helps flavor and crisp up the chicken skin. Here are the spices you need (these spices are very similar to the spices in our dry rub for chicken recipe).

  • Garlic powder
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Dried thyme
  • Ground mustard
  • Dried basil
  • Ground pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt
  • Paprika
  • Brown sugar

Before rubbing this dry rub on the chicken, rub a teaspoon of salt under the chicken skin on the chicken meat. Then, mix all of the spices together and rub the dry rub all over and under the chicken skin.

After the chicken has been rubbed with spices, refrigerate the chicken in the refrigerator uncovered for at least 2 hours (or overnight for best results).

Dry rub on spatchcock chicken.

This spatchcock chicken has a delicious flavor secret—> the sauce! To make the delicious sauce for this chicken you place tin foil on the baking sheet and then place onion, garlic, fresh thyme, white wine, broth, and olive oil on the baking sheet.

The chicken will roast above these ingredients on a metal rack and all of the chicken drippings will drop onto the tin foil.

After the chicken has roasted, you will take this delicious sauce that has been simmering in the oven place it in sauce pan and add 1 cup of broth and simmer everything together.

When you serve the chicken, pour the sauce over the chicken for an amazing flavor blast of deliciousness.

Onion and thyme on a baking sheet.
A raw spatchcock chicken on a making sheet.

Spatchcock Chicken Tips + Tricks

Spatchcock chicken and butterfly chicken are the same thing. Butterfly is just a fancy word for spatchcock.

The temperature recommendation for poultry is 165ºF. We like to take our chicken out around 160ºF, let it sit, and it continues to cook for a while after which leaves you with a juicy spatchcock chicken.

Cook your chicken to a temperature that makes you feel comfortable!

This is important! Do not skip the metal rack that the chicken is baked on. Baking the chicken flat on rack is crucial to crispy skin!

One thing we love about spatchcock chicken is that there are usually leftovers! Store the chicken in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator and use the spatchcock chicken in salads, soups, or any of your favorite chicken recipes!

Spatchcock chicken on a making sheet.
Spatchcock chicken on a platter.

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  • 3 – 4-lb. whole chicken
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt (separated)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, separated
  • ½ white onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed 
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ¼ cup dry white wine 
  • 1.5 cups broth, any kind (separated)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice 
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Chicken Seasoning

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2  teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  1. First, prepare the chicken seasoning. Mix together all spices and set aside.
  2. Next, remove the chicken from the packaging and place the chicken on a clean, dry cutting board. 
  3. Remove excess moisture from the chicken with a paper towel.
  4. To spatchcock the chicken, set the chicken breast-side down on a cutting board and use very sharp kitchen shears to begin cutting down one side of the spine through the ribs and then repeat on the other side of the spine. Discard the spine. 
  5. Flip the chicken over onto the chicken breasts and use your hands to press on the middle of the bird pressing down firmly to flatten the chicken. 
  6. Place the chicken on a large plate and carefully separate the chicken meat from the chicken skin with your hand. 
  7. Carefully rub 1 teaspoon salt on the chicken meat under the skin being sure the chicken meat is covered with salt. 
  8. Next, season the whole chicken with the all purpose chicken seasoning. Be sure the whole chicken is covered (skin, legs, thighs, etc.). Then, refrigerate the chicken for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  9. When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 425ºF and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. 
  10. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. 
  11. Place the onion, garlic, thyme, white wine, ½ cup of broth, and 1 tablespoon olive oil on top of the aluminum foil and sprinkle with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt.  
  12. Place a metal rack on top of the foil and vegetables and carefully place the whole chicken flat on top of the metal rack breast-side up. 
  13. Rub the chicken with the additional 2 tablespoons of oil. Be sure to really massage the oil into the chicken. 
  14. Place the chicken in the oven and bake at 425ºF for 35-45 minutes or until the whole bird has an internal temperature of at least 160º. Make sure to take the temperature at the thickest parts.
  15. Remove the chicken from the oven and let the chicken rest for at least 15 minutes. Your chicken should continue to cook 5ºF to make the internal temperature 165ºF.
  16. While the chicken is resting, prepare the sauce. Add all of the cooked vegetables, liquid, and herbs from the bottom of the pan into a small saucepan along with the rest of the broth (1 cup). 
  17. Bring the sauce to a boil and then turn the heat to medium/low and add the lemon juice. 
  18. Then, carefully sprinkle the cornstarch into the sauce and whisk. Let the sauce cook over medium heat until thick. Remove from heat and discard the herb stems. 
  19. Carve the chicken and serve with the sauce. 

Serving Size: 1/6
Calories: 475
Sugar: 1
Fat: 24
Carbohydrates: 5
Fiber: 1
Protein: 56

Author: Category: DinnerMethod: OvenCuisine: American

Photography: photos taken in this post are by Erin from The Wooden Skillet.

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