What on earth is a Spatchcock Chicken?

The technique of splitting, then flattening a chicken, yielding a perfect roasted chicken in half an hour. It also exposes more skin. Yes, more crispy bits!!!

There is lots of ways to customize this. Oven roasting, barbecuing, pan searing.

Compound Butter

4 T       softened butter
Zest of one lemon
2          cloves garlic, minced
1 T      fresh thyme leaves, taken off the stems
1 T      grainy mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3-4 lb chicken

  • In a small bowl combine the butter, lemon zest, garlic, thyme, mustard, a teaspoon of salt and a good grating of pepper. Set aside.
  • Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and set it on a cutting board breast side down.
  • Using sturdy kitchen shears remove the backbone by cutting carefully down each side of the bone, starting at the tail end of the bird. The entire inside of the chicken should be exposed when you are finished.
  • Sprinkle the cavity thoroughly with salt and pepper, flip the chicken over and firmly press on it so that it lies flat. Trim any excess deposits of fat from around the cavity, and gently slide your fingers under the skin and ease it away from the meat, around both sides of the breast and both legs. Carefully smear the compound butter underneath the skin all over the meat, being careful not to break the skin. Reserve about a tablespoon of the butter spreading evenly over the skin, followed by a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.
  • Lay the chicken in a shallow roasting pan, just large enough to accommodate it and put in the refrigerator for an hour or two (this will help the skin crisp more when you roast it or BBQ it).
  • When you’re ready to make dinner, heat the oven to 425 degrees and remove the chicken from the fridge. Roast for 15 minutes, then baste and decrease heat to 375. Cook for another 15 minutes, basting once again midway through cooking. If you are going to do this on the BBQ, searing in a cast iron skillet works best. Heat the skillet in advance to medium and place the chicken in skin side down searing it carefully, the butter will brown quickly. When you like the colour turn it over and lower the heat. Close the lid and roast for 15 minutes, checking often. You can baste with compound butter or old-fashioned BBQ sauce. Cook for another 15 minutes and check temperature.

Checking the temperature:

  • Using a meat thermometer check temperature between the leg and thigh. 160 degrees is what you are looking for. Let the chicken sit for a few minutes before carving to set the juices.
  • Carving is simple. Cut straight down the middle and separate the breast from the thigh and leg.