Spatchcock chicken is the best way to cook a whole chicken...
This recipe shows you how to spatchcock chicken, which means to butterfly a whole roasting chicken. I have tried many different cooking methods. This one is my favorite because the skin gets so crispy, making cooking an entire chicken infinitely easier.
You could use any seasoning for this: however, I highly recommend using celery salt in regular salt when cooking chicken. Celery salt gives it that seasoned "fried chicken" taste, which is unparalleled to plain salt.
You'll love this recipe because it's...
- Great for meal prep
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First, cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and a parchment paper line. Then, lay an oven-safe cooling rack on top. I recommend using a heavy-duty, stainless steel, grid-style cooling rack, like this one, instead of the one I used. It'll help to hold the chicken up off of the pan. Spray the rack with a bit of cooking spray.
Prepare your ingredients.
Since you are working with raw meat, it is essential to prep all of your ingredients before touching the chicken.
What you'll need:
- seasoning of choice
- one small lemon, sliced
- 4 - 5 squares of semi-frozen butter (The butter should be soft enough to slice, but not enough to melt).
- good quality olive oil
Line your work surface.
After everything is ready to go, line your work surface with wax paper, a non-porous cutting board, and paper towels. Make sure you have extra paper towels ready to go for later. Lay your whole chicken atop the covered workspace with the breast side down.
Spatchcock the chicken.
Okay, there are two ways you can butterfly the chicken. The first way is to cut around the spine and take it out completely. The second way is to make one cut down the middle of the back next to the spine.
I only make one cut because the back of the chicken doesn't matter. Plus, it's easier to make a single cut than remove the whole spine, but feel free if you want to remove it altogether.
Use Kitchen Shears!
I make one cut down the back with a sharp serrated knife or high-quality kitchen shears. Sharp kitchen shears are the easiest.
You're merely sawing through the area where the rib-cage meets the backbone. Be careful because the bones may be sharp after you cut through them.
After, open the chicken and lightly score the breastplate, then gently press down on both sides of the sternum. Doing this will crack the breastbone, helping the chicken lay flat when you flip it over.
Now, gently and quickly, flip it breast side up onto your prepared baking sheet.
How to make your spatchcock chicken crispy and juicy...
Next, pat the chicken dry with clean paper towels. The drier the skin is, the crispier it gets. I repeat, the drier the skin, the crispier it will be!
Then, separate the skin from the breast and thigh muscle by sticking your finger underneath the skin. Continue by sliding the pats of frozen butter and lemon slices in between the flesh and skin.
Depending on the size of your chicken, you may not use all of the lemon and butter. Toss whatever you do not use!
After, season the chicken with your seasoning of choice. I use celery salt, dried herbs, and smoked paprika. Once your chicken is adequately seasoned, drizzle a minimal amount of olive oil onto the chicken.
Only enough oil to form a paste with the seasonings. Use your hands to gently massage the spices into every crevice of the spatchcock chicken.
Finish it off...
In a hot, 450 degrees Fahrenheit oven, roast the chicken for about 45 minutes, rotating the pan at the halfway point. The size of your chicken will determine the final cooking time. The larger the chicken, the longer it'll take to cook.
A general rule of thumb is to cook the chicken for about 15 - 20 minutes per pound. For best results, use an oven-safe meat thermometer, like this ThermoPro 2 probe thermometer.
This thermometer allows you to monitor the temperature without taking the chicken out of the oven. Simply place the probe inside the hip joint, where the thigh meets the body, without touching the bone.
Each part of the chicken cooks differently, so you will have to double-check the internal temperature, in multiple places, once it has finished cooking.
Bake until the skin is golden brown and a meat thermometer registers at 160 - 165 degrees. Let the chicken rest for at least ten minutes before enjoying.
Here are some other recipe(s) I think you might enjoy…
The easiest way to roast a whole chicken for extra crispy skin and juicy meat!
- 1 whole roasting chicken
- 2 teaspoon celery salt
- 2 teaspoon dried herb blend
- 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 small lemon, sliced
- ½ stick butter, sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees-Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, parchment paper, and an oven-safe cooling rack. Also, line your workspace with wax paper and paper towels to protect it.
- With the breast-side down, use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to cut down the middle of the back, right next to the spine. Gently score the breastbone. Use both hands to press down on both sides of the sternum.
- Gently flip the butterflied chicken over onto the prepared baking sheet. Stuff the lemon and butter slices underneath the skin of the chicken, so it sits directly on top of the muscle.
- Now, season the chicken skin with your choice of seasonings. I use celery salt, dried herbs, and paprika. Drizzle the chicken with a very small amount of olive oil, and massage the seasoning onto the chicken.
- Roast the butterflied chicken rotating the pan at the halfway point. The skin should be golden, and your meat thermometer reads 165 F. Let cool for 10 mins. (see notes)
Check the temperature in multiple places, at the meatiest parts of the chicken making sure not to touch the bone. A general rule of thumb is to cook poultry at 15 - 20 minutes per pound, but you must use a meat thermometer to assure the right temp. Example - a 3-pound chicken will take approximately 45 - 60 minutes.
I recommend an oven safe thermometer to measure the temperature of the bird during cook-time. The probe gets placed near the hip joint (again, without touching bone), then you can set the thermometer to alert you when the temperature nears 165 degrees F. You will still have to check the bird for 'done-ness,' but it helps to keep from overcooking the chicken.
Depending on the size of your chicken, you may not be able to fit all of the butter and lemon under the skin. Toss whatever is left!
You can use whatever seasonings you like, but I highly recommend replacing salt with celery salt.
Depending on the seasonings used, the skin may brown faster. If the chicken isn't up to temp, but your skin is golden, you can tent the chicken with a sheet of aluminum foil to help deflect some of the heat. Personally, I have never had to do this, but a few people on Pinterest suggested it for very large birds.
Also, please note that every oven is different. I have to cook everything in my oven as close to the top as possible to prevent burning.
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Kitchen Shears by Gidli - Lifetime Replacement Warranty- Includes Seafood Scissors As a Bonus - Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Multipurpose Ultra Sharp Utility Scissors.
Ultra Cuisine 100% Stainless Steel Wire Cooling Rack for Baking fits Half Sheet Pans Cool Cookies, Cakes, Breads - Oven Safe for Cooking, Roasting, Grilling - Heavy Duty Commercial Quality
ThermoPro TP-17 Dual Probe Digital Cooking Meat Thermometer Large LCD Backlight Food Grill Thermometer with Timer Mode for Smoker Kitchen Oven BBQ, Silver
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 334Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 553mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 28g
Nutrition facts are for personal reference only as calories may vary on a case by case basis.
Love this recipe! Last time I didn’t have any lemon in the house so I rolled the butter in lemon/pepper spice and pushed it under the skin! It came out delicious!
This was absolutely delicious,! I doubled the decipe as i had a 6 lb chicken. This recipe is a keeper!
OMG! Your seasoning combo/ratios are perfect. This Chicken was the spotlight of my Sunday dinner. My son -self-proclaimed connoisseur when it comes to moistness and seasonings was so complementary. Thank you for sharing.
Hi JJ, I'm so glad you loved the recipe. Please share it with everyone you know! It really helps me out.
So I made this bad boy today with the help of my husband cutting out the spine. Let me tell you my house smelled amazing. I have a very dark skin on top. Which all honesty, I blame my oven and it wonky working ability. Chicken moist and delicious!
Hi Tawnya. so glad to hear it came out great! How big was your chicken and how long did it take to cook?
My son showed me years ago about spatch cocked chicken,which would also be brined overnight in my big soup pot filled with cold water and 1 cup each of salt and sugar,mixed thoroughly until dissolved,then add the chicken and put in fridge overnight. The chicken once roasted very moist,no salt taste at all....but so,so tender. After brining,dry off the chicken and use whatever is your favourite seasoning rub. I have even brined chicken legs and breasts.Same result.
Absolutely! I just don't have room in my kitchen to brine. Plus, the cooking becomes way more involved, but I do love a good brine! Thanks for sharing your tip.