How to Spatchcock a Chicken

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It’s simple to learn how to spatchcock a chicken to make it cook up quickly and delicious!

Don’t be afraid of the unusual name! Spatchcock is basically a method that takes a whole chicken and flattens it for quick and easy cooking. This easy method is a timesaver and produces tender breast and thigh meat at the same time.

a spatchcock chicken with potatoes

What Does Spatchcock Mean?

To spatchcock poultry like chicken or turkey means to butterfly it by removing the backbone from the neck to the tail and opening the bird completely so it lies flat.

Why We Love to Spatchcock

  • A spatchcock chicken takes less time to bake than a whole chicken because the flat surface of the meat is exposed to more heat.
  • Chicken or turkey breasts and thighs are cooked more evenly and since the chicken is cooked under the skin, it stays juicy and tender and the skin gets evenly crispy.
  • A spatchcocked chicken makes for an elegant presentation any way it’s cooked. Many vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and onions can be cooked along with the chicken.
  • Chicken, turkey, Cornish game hens, even pheasants can be spatchcocked.
  • A cooked spatchcocked chicken is a great option for meal prep for a chicken to use all week long.

How to Spatchcock a Chicken

  1. Remove neck & giblets, if any from the cavity.

cutting a piece out of chicken to show How to Spatchcock Chicken

  1. Starting from the tail end, use poultry shears or kitchen scissors to cut along one side of the backbone all the way up to the neck. Repeat on the other side. Remove the backbone.

taking a piece out of the chicken to show How to Spatchcock Chicken

  1. Flip the bird over and apply pressure to the breast bone with the heel of your hand until the chicken flattens. Depending on the size of your chicken, you may need to apply quite a bit of pressure. You will be able to hear the breast bone break apart.

pressing chicken down on cutting board to show How to Spatchcock Chicken

  1. Snip off the tips of the wings or fold them under/behind the bird.
  2. Season the bird & cook as preferred. Regardless of the cooking method, let the chicken rest at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Cooking Spatchcock Chicken

Roast in the oven or barbeque for about 45 to 50 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165°F. Measure at the thickest part, away from any bones.

Spatchcock chicken can be seasoned with a variety of rubs.

Try Adobo Seasoning, Italian Seasoning, or Chicken Seasoning. Marinate the spatchcocked chicken overnight in a brine and then cook in your preferred method.

Tips for Spatchcocking Chicken

  • Spatchcocking is super easy, kitchen scissors may work on smaller birds however larger birds (like small turkeys) require poultry shears that are a bit stronger. Poultry shears are great for all kinds of uses and for breaking down a whole chicken too.
  • Save the backbone and wingtips in the freezer for future poultry stocks or homemade gravy.
  • Once the bird has cooked & cooled, cut it into sections by following this quick guide!

Did you try Spatchcocking a Chicken? Leave us a comment below! 

raw chicken and cooked chicken on a plate to show How to Spatchcock a Chicken with a title
taking a piece out of chicken to show How to Spatchcock a Chicken with a title
taking pieces of chicken out to show How to Spatchcock a Chicken with writing
chicken on cutting board to show How to Spatchcock a Chicken with writing
cooked chicken on a plate with a title to show How to Spatchcock a Chicken
About the author

Holly

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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