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Best EVER way to cook chicken 

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Tuesday
Dec072010

Spatchcock Chicken


Does this pan make me look fat?

Being of a curious nature, I felt compelled to seek the origin of this word, “spatchcock”, and why something so outrageously delicious would have such a, well, peculiar name.  Hoping for something culturally divergent, charming and fascinating, I was sorely disappointed to find that it means a fowl that has been split open and dressed for grilling.  Oh.

So, people, I give you spatchcock chicken!  I’ve roasted many a chicken in my day (don’t tell those 6 hens out in the coop), but I can honestly say without reservation or hesitation that I will always and from now on be roasting my chicken thusly.  Oh, my ever lovin’ goodness does this chicken come out moist, succulent, and fall-off-the-bone good.  And because the dark meat comes in direct contact with the pan, it cooks in exactly the same amount of time as the breast meat. 

If you’ve never de-boned a chicken, there’s nothing to fear here.  Except maybe how possibly disgusting these photos might appear.  But if you’re going to roast a chicken, you might as well get in there and get messy.  If you’re at all squeamish, avert your eyes and scroll down to the bottom of this post.

So all you have to do is grab a sharp pair of kitchen shears and a nice, fresh, organic chicken, and with the breast-side down, start cutting along the side of the backbone.  Don’t worry if you don’t make a perfect cut here – no one’s going to see this. 

Then, cut along the other side of the backbone (make sure you go all the way to the neck), and then remove the backbone. 

Turn the chicken over and press down to flatten the chicken a little.  Don’t be concerned about the crunching sound.  Oh dear, this is getting quite horrid, isn’t it?!

Then place your chicken in an appropriate-sized skillet (a cast-iron pan is the perfect vehicle here).  Sprinkle with a little salt, pepper and paprika.  I don’t add a lot of lemon or herbs or such to my chicken.  I really just like it to taste like chicken.  That’s all.

 Then pop the whole shebang into a 425 degree oven and roast for about an hour (or a little longer, depending on the size of your chicken).  My 4 lb chicken took just a few minutes over an hour.

Then let your chicken rest for about 15 minutes and carve her up.  The legs and thighs will just practically fall off, and the breast is easy to remove by cutting down from the center on each side.

 There.  Now grab a napkin and prepare to be delighted, even possibly enraptured by this super moist, flavorful, yet simple chicken.  The end.

Spatchcock Chicken

For a printable recipe, click here

Serves 3-4
1 whole chicken, about 3-4 lbs
kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper
paprika

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

Cut the backbone out of the chicken, so the chicken will lie flat.   Sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika.

Place the chicken in a heavy skillet (cast iron is best) and roast for 1 to 1 ¼ hours, or until skin is crisp and golden brown and juices run clear.

 

Reader Comments (17)

Wow! So easy. I had pretty much quit buying whole chickens in favor of Rotisserie Chickens but this looks so good I may have to go back to fresh ones.

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPaula (Salad in a Jar)

I think you'd really like this, Paula. It really IS easy, yet so, so good.

December 7, 2010 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I'm so going to have to try this!

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen

I hope you do, Kathleen. Let me know what you think!

December 8, 2010 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

eat mor cowz! we r going to continue to peck our eggs until u agee to stop this kind of cookin. if we could stop laying completely...we would! we r disapointed in U! what r u thinking? ..and we have also decided that we r going to all start acting like roosters until u agree to stop cookin foul!...and if u donT agree to our demands we will escape this chicken paradise..u think that silly net can keep us in..HA..U just wait!

December 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe girls

we hve decided to launch a campaiin to protest this blog! pleaz support us. http://www.circle-b-kitchen.com/matters-and-musings/ Send corn. and we demand a coop heater. it iz cold out hre!

December 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe girls

Well, now. Calm down, girls. Your life is about as idyllic as it gets for chickens. Nice warm coop, fresh food and water every day, and a big pen with trees for you to climb. Yes, we did put netting over the pen, but have you seen that big hawk that was swooping down and trying to get you? You're safe now. And, no, we're not going to eat more cowz. We don't eat cows here, but I'm not going to try and explain that to you. How did you get hold of my blog, anyway???

December 8, 2010 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Roasted chicken is such a wonderful winter meal, and this one looks fabulous. I had to stop in and drop you a comment because your comment that accompanied this photo on Tastespotting made me laugh :)

December 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

Thanks, Carrie! Glad you stopped by... always looking for ways to amuse ourselves around here.

December 8, 2010 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Your chicken is beautiful! I love how brown it turned out, not anemic looking like some roasted chickens I've seen. Can't wait to try out this method.

December 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEmm

Thanks, Emm! Roasting it at that high heat really does give it a beautiful golden hue. Tastes good too! Thanks for stopping in!

December 8, 2010 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

This looks great! Kind of like the chicken under a brick method that is used in the Middle East ( had some the other night at Balaboosta in the city).

December 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

Visually yummie! Thank you! I will try this!

December 10, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbb

Bravo!!! Fantastic, effortless and amazing! Thank you so much for sharing this. My boys' reactions to this chicken were priceless and I am now a kitchen heroine.

January 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStefanie

That's so awesome, Stephanie!! Your boys have very good taste!! Congratulations on your new status as kitchen heroine!

January 24, 2011 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I did this with cornish hens in my panini maker. Didn't even have to flip 'em! I can not wait to try your whole bird recipe.

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTracy

I love that, Tracy! In your panini maker... very clever!

March 24, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

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