Skip to Content

How to Cut and What is a Spatchcocked Chicken

What is a spatchcocked chicken, how to cut it and cooking it to tender is here. Baking a whole chicken flat in the oven or smoking it makes the meat fall apart melt in your mouth tender with crispy skin to boot.

What is a Spatchcocked Chicken

We will talk about this new way of cooking and how to spatchcock a chicken so you can try it too. Whether you flatten it to bake, grill or smoke it I bet it will become a new favorite method for your family too. (affiliate links present)

What is Spatchcocking a Chicken

We will answer that question, how to do it, why it’s done and everything in between here. Spatchcocking a chicken is a cooking technique where the backbone is removed and the bird is then flattened out before cooking however you’d like. This technique is also known as butterflying chicken.

Want to save this post?

Enter your email below and get it sent straight to your inbox.

Save Recipe

And be automatically signed up for our free newsletter too!

To spatchcock a chicken, you start by cutting out the backbone with a pair of sharp poultry shears or a very sharp knife and steady hands. Then, you can flatten the it out by pressing down on the breastbone with your hands or using a heavy object to weigh it down.

How to Cut a Spatchcocked Chicken

Once it is flattened, it can be seasoned and cooked in the oven or on the grill. The purpose of this is to help it to cook more evenly and quickly. This technique can also make it easier to carve when it is done and tender. Additionally, it allows for more surface area to be exposed to seasonings, resulting in a more flavorful dish.

How to Cut a Spatchcocked Chicken

How to Spatchcock a Chicken with a Knife

If you have ever cut up a raw turkey this has basically the same anatomy. There are two breast meat pieces on either side of the spine, two legs, wings and thighs as well. To keep it simple you are going to remove the spine in the middle of the breast bones, as you see here above.

  1. Place the chicken breast side down on a cutting board, with the legs facing towards you.
  2. Using a sharp knife, make a cut along each side of the backbone, from the tail to the neck.
  3. Remove the backbone and save it for making stock or discard it.
  4. Flip the chicken over so that it is breast side up.
  5. Press down firmly on the breastbone with the palm of your hand until you hear a cracking sound and the chicken flattens out.
  6. Tuck the wings behind the chicken, and use kitchen twine to tie the legs together if desired.
  7. Season the chicken as desired, and roast chicken or bake according to the recipe you’re following.

Once you get the hang of how this is done there are tons of spatchcock chicken recipes you can make. Change it up with the seasonings or whether you marinade it or not. Different cooking methods have a variety of flavors too, like when smoking a whole chicken.

How to Spatchcock a Chicken with a Knife

Spatchcock Chicken

This is how to do this if all you have are kitchen shears or scissors on hand. First off make sure they are nice and sharp. Use a knife sharpener to get them to slide thru nicely.

  1. Place the chicken breast side down on a cutting board, with the legs facing towards you.
  2. Use a pair of kitchen shears to cut along each side of the backbone, from the tail to the neck. You may need to apply some pressure to cut through the bones.
  3. Remove the backbone and save it for making stock or discard it.
  4. Flip the chicken over so that it is breast side up.
  5. Press down firmly on the breastbone with the palm of your hand until you hear a cracking sound and the chicken flattens out.
  6. Tuck the wings behind the chicken, and use kitchen twine to tie the legs together if desired.

Season the chicken as desired, squeeze on some fresh lemon juice over the skin, and cook according to your recipe.

Spatchcock Chicken

Spatchcock Chicken Seasoning

There are countless ways to season a whole chicken. The best choice depends on your personal preference and the type of cuisine you are cooking. If you don’t choose to use something like our smoked chicken brine, here are a few popular chicken seasonings ideas:

  1. Salt and pepper is a simple but classic seasoning that enhances the natural flavor of poultry.
  2. Garlic and herbs are easy enough.
    • You can use fresh or dried like thyme, rosemary, sage, or oregano with garlic to create a flavorful blend.
  3. You can use our chicken dry rub that is both sweet and savory together.
  4. I use this when I cook a whole bird or just pieces, coated well.
  5. Combine lemon zest, juice, and herbs like parsley, basil, or cilantro for a fresh and zesty flavor.
  6. BBQ seasoning is a great one too, made with a dry rub.
  7. Combine a blend of smoked paprika, brown sugar, cumin, and chili powder can give you a smoky and slightly sweet flavor.
  8. Curry powder blend of spices including turmeric, cumin, coriander, and ginger can give the meat a deliciously exotic flavor.
  9. Jerk chicken seasoning is a blend of allspice, cinnamon, thyme, garlic, and chili powder, among other spices, will give your chicken a Caribbean taste.

Remember, you can always adjust the seasoning to your taste preferences. Feel free to experiment with different spices and herbs to find your favorite combination.

How Long to Cook a Spatchcocked Chicken

How to Cook a Spatchcocked Chicken

The cooking time for a spatchcocked chicken depends on several factors, including the size of the chicken, the cooking method, and the oven temperature. As a general guideline, here are some estimated cooking times:

  1. Oven: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 C).
  2. Place the chicken on a baking sheet or roasting pan, and cook for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken.
    • To check if it’s done, use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken has reached 165 degrees F in the middle of the thigh.
  3. Grill: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
  4. Place the chicken on the grill, skin side down, and cook for about 10-15 minutes.
    • Flip the chicken over and continue cooking for an additional 25-35 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (75°C).

As always, it’s important to use a meat thermometer to ensure that the chicken is cooked to a safe temperature. Additionally, the cooking time may vary depending on the specific recipe and cooking equipment, so it’s always best to refer to the recipe for specific instructions.

Spatchcock Chicken Grill

How Long to Cook a Spatchcocked Chicken

Time needed: 15 minutes

How to Spatchcock Chicken

  1. Cut

    To prepare chicken, place breast side down, tail end towards you. Use kitchen sheers and cut through the back of the chicken along side of the backbone. Repeat on the other side of the backbone. Remove this bone and discard.

  2. Lay flat

    At the the base, where the thighs meat, is a small triangular piece of cartilage. Make a cut with a knife or kitchen sheer 1” to 1.5”. Place a hand on each side of the chicken and pull outward, you should hear a snap. Continue to pull outward so that chicken will lay flat.

  3. Prepare

    Flip chicken over. Drizzle olive oil all over skin of the chicken. Combine garlic powder, chili powder, salt, and pepper, and rub onto chicken. Bake or smoke bird until cooked.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.