Spatch…what? Yep, you read that right. Welcome to the most perfectly cooked bird you’ll ever eat, with the funniest name you will ever say: spatchcocked chicken.
A few years ago when I first made a spatchcocked turkey for thanksgiving, my family was a little skeptical, to say the least. So you’re doing what to the bird? And it’s going to take a third of the cooking time as a normal turkey? Yeah, I’ll see you at the table and you can eat that whole raw turkey yourself. We’re making another one for when you screw this up. And you want me to help you hack into that thing? HA. Good luck, I’ll stand here and watch.
Did I mention what happened next? The 18-lb turkey was done in an hour and a half, perfectly cooked, golden brown, and freaking DELICIOUS. Guess who didn’t have any leftovers of their turkey the next day, because we had eaten all of it? This girl, with her spatchcocked turkey.
So what even is spatchcock…ing? I may have just made that word up. But basically, you’re cutting out the backbone of the chicken, flipping it over, and pressing it down like a book. Then giving it a light herbed butter bath, and roasting that baby in the oven until it’s golden brown. Easier said than done, especially with a massive Thanksgiving turkey, but you get the point.
The best part? Once that baby is in the oven, you’re done. You just let it go, no turning, basting, ifs, and’s, or but’s about it. It comes out perfectly golden brown, perfectly cooked all over, every time I’ve made it. Can we talk about how freaking AWFUL dry chicken breast is? UGH. No thank you. Not this chicken. Juicy and delicious on the inside, perfectly crispy on the outside. Seriously what more could you want?!
Well, besides a million dollars. But let’s be realistic here. Maybe some chocolate. Not with the chicken though, duh.
Still skeptical? Check out the step-by-step pictures from Nom Nom Paleo’s Butterflied Big Bird (Spatchcocked Thanksgiving Turkey), which inspired this recipe!
Let’s get to spatchcocking.
- 1 whole chicken, 4-5 lbs
- ¼ cup fresh herbs: sage, thyme, and rosemary, chopped
- 3 Tbsp brown butter ghee (regular ghee or butter works too)
- ½ Tbsp sea salt
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil Place a baking rack on top of it.
- Pat the chicken dry and set it on a large cutting board. Using a large, sharp knife or a pair of poultry shears, cut along one side of the backbone (through to the cavity), then repeat with the other side of the backbone.
- Remove the backbone, and set aside to make broth later.
- Flip the chicken over and press it open like a book. The legs and wings will be sticking out to the sides, breast side up.
- Make the herb butter: mix together the ghee, chopped herbs, garlic and onion powders, and sea salt.
- Use your hands to loosen the skin, so you can fit your hand (or at least a few fingers) between the meat and the skin. Rub about ½ the herb butter under the skin of the chicken (breasts, thighs, wings, anywhere you can get!) and use the remaining half to rub over the top of the skin and underside of the chicken.
- Tuck the wing tips under the breast as best you can, then carefully place the whole chicken, breast side up, on the baking sheet.
- Pop the baking sheet in the oven, chicken breasts facing toward you.
- Roast for 45-50 minutes, until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees F.
- Allow the bird to rest for 15 minutes before you slice into it, so all the juices don’t run out.
- Devour. The crispy skin is DIVINE.