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How to Spatchcock a Chicken (Video)

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Spatchcock chicken, or butterfly chicken, is an easy way to get a whole chicken prepared for cooking by removing the backbone and getting it to lay flat. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about how to get it done quickly and effortlessly. 

a spatchcocked chicken on a wooden board

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If you’ve ever seen one of those beautiful flat laying whole chickens that looks Instagram worthy and wondered how you could do the same, then look no further. It’s pretty easy to do the same thing. The popular term for this flat laying chicken is called spatchcocked or butterflied.

So why would you spatchcock a chicken? Other than it being pretty gorgeous once done, spatchcocking a chicken allows it to cook a little quicker, cook evenly, and generally results in crispier skin. Laying a chicken flat is also good for when you want to grill a chicken.  

Things Needed:

  1. A smaller whole chicken – You’ll want one that’s 2-4lbs. Smaller chickens are easier to spatchcock and it’s easier to cut along the backbone.
  2.  A cutting board – Make sure it’s not slippery or moving around on your counter. Use a kitchen towel underneath to keep it in place.  
  3. Sharp Kitchen shears – Makes cutting along the backbone much easier and safer than using a knife. 
  4. A paring knife – For scoring the cartilage which makes it easier to lay the chicken flat.

How to Spatchcock a Chicken:

  • To Spatchcock a chicken, you’ll need to place the chicken breast side down with legs toward you.
  • Use sharp kitchen shears and cut along the backbone to remove it. You’ll end up cutting through the rib bones.
  • Slit the white cartilage that’s in the middle of the breast.
  • Turn the chicken over and use two hands to pull the breast and wings upward while pushing the middle of the breast down, until it lays flat.
  • Remove any excess fat from the chicken.

And that’s it. You can grill the chicken, air fry the chicken, or bake the chicken in the oven on 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 40-45 minutes.

a cooked spatchcocked chicken
Yield: Spatchcock Chicken

How to Spatchcock a Chicken

a spatchcocked chicken on a wooden board

Learn how to Spatchcock a Chicken with this easy guide.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Difficulty Easy

Materials

  • A 2-4 lb chicken
  • Cutting Board
  • Kitchen Shears
  • Paring Knife

Instructions

    1. Place the chicken breast side down with legs toward you. Cut along the backbone with sharp kitchen shears. scissors cutting along the backbone of a whole chicken
    2. Slit the cartilage that's in the middle of the breastbone. a knife cutting the cartilage of the chicken between the chicken breast
    3. Place two hands on the breast and wings and pull them apart while pushing down on the middle of the breastbone. two hands pulling the breast of the chicken apart
    4. Your chicken will lay flat. Cut off any excess fat. a spatchcocked chicken on a wooden board

Notes

  • Smaller chickens are easier to spatchcock as it's easier to cut along the backbone. I generally use chickens that are around 2-4lbs.
  • Dry your chicken with paper towels prior to cutting. It'll make grabbing and gripping the chicken easier.
Overhead shot of the cooked dish in a skillet.
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Jim

Friday 2nd of October 2020

Thank you for this information! I've seen chickens cooked this way but never really knew how it was accomplished. I'm looking forward to the weekend and giving this a try and will be using the air fryer for the perfect touch! I am constantly amazed at the great recipes and information I get through your newsletter and I am truly appreciative. Your lovely family is very fortunate to have you in the kitchen!

Tanya

Friday 2nd of October 2020

Thank you so much Jim! I'll be sure to let them know too :)

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