Spatchcock Chicken
March 12, 2009
[Elaine] in roast chicken, spatchcock chicken

I've cooked plenty of whole chickens and I think it's a great way to easily fix a whole bird. It's very simple and you can place herbs and lemons inside the chicken for extra flavor. But my favorite way to fix a whole chicken is to spatchcock it - to butterfly it. There's a couple of reason why I prefer this method. First, I love dark meat and when you butterfly a chicken, the thighs get nice and crispy. When you cook a whole bird, unless you flip the chicken, the thighs will be on the bottom of the pan and they end up never really getting brown. Also, if you are pressed for time, a butterflied chicken will cook much faster than a whole chicken. To butterfly the chicken, you simply remove the backbone, flip the chicken over, and press down on the breastbone until the chicken cracks and lays flat.

Use heavy duty kitchen scissors or these poultry shears, which I have.  They cut right through bone very easily and make removing the backbone a snap.  Just cut through on either side of the backbone and make sure your fingers are out of the way.  I save the backbones and freeze them to use later in broths.

Flip the birds breast side up and press on the breastbone, until you hear a crack and the bird lays flat.

I squeeze lemon and orange juice all over the chickens, drizzle them in olive oil, salt and pepper and chopped parsley.  Marinate for a couple of hours on a sheet pan in the fridge.

Place a rack under the chickens and roast at 375 degrees for 50 minutes.  Roast the lemons along with the chickens.  They get very soft and are easy then to squeeze the juice out during roasting.

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