What a word.
It’s fun to say, and even more fun to pull off.
This classic technique of deboning and flattening a chicken is honestly one of the easiest and fastest ways to create a juicy bird, and it’s done in a fraction of the time it would take you to roast one in the traditional manner. Best yet, because you’re able to expose most of the skin during roasting, you end up with lots of golden brown crispy goodness.
All you have to do is remove the backbone.
Before you give me those collective moans, don’t fret. It’s seriously easy. And don’t forget, we here in Louisiana live in a culture that brought that the world that miracle in deboning, the tur-duck-en. Somewhere in your Bayou State bloodstream, by birth or by association, there lurks the ability to remove a chicken’s backbone, so get out your sharp knife, or at least your sharp shears.
Once that’s done, season the bird generously, then roast it for 45 minutes in a 450 degree oven. Let it rest for 10 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes, mac-and-cheese, roasted sweet potatoes, coleslaw, potato salad or fresh sautéed vegetables. It’s an easy satisfying dinner that you’ll make over and over again.
1 3-4 pound whole chicken, giblets removed
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, (use a combination of tarragon, thyme, rosemary, sage or parsley)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Several turns fresh cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, for outside of bird
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place bird on a clean work surface breast-side down. Using kitchen shears or a sharp boning or chef’s knife, begin with the neck bone area, and slice through one entire side of the backbone and then the other, cutting through the rib bones on both sides. Remove backbone and reserve for stock. Turn the chicken back over, breast side up, and with the heels of your hand, press down to flatten the breastbone.
In a small bowl, combine softened butter with chopped herbs and salt and pepper to create a compound butter. Using your fingers, not a knife, gently separate the skin in a few spots, creating pockets that allow you to reach the flesh beneath while keeping the skin intact. Working about a teaspoon of compound butter at a time, ease the mixture under the skin, spreading it evenly across the flesh of the breasts, legs and thighs. Dab the outside of the bird with the olive oil, and coat generously with salt and pepper. Season the underside of the chicken with salt and pepper as well. (If possible, let the bird sit overnight after you season it.)
Slide bird into a roasting pan and tuck the wing tips under to avoid burning. Roast for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown, with an internal temperature at the thigh of 165-170 degrees.
Spatchcock is also great for grilling since you create a bird even in thickness.