If nothing gets your culinary juices flowing like a succulent, crispy-skinned chicken, piping hot and fresh out of the oven then this week’s Foodie Phrase is for you. While at first listen the word spatchcock might sound somewhat, well, offensive, it’s meaning is, I assure you, completely innocuous and oh sooooooo delicious!
Spatchcocking is the process of removing the backbone of a chicken so it can then be flattened out and cooked. Also known as butterflying, which is not nearly as much fun to say, spatchcocking is a relatively easy technique to perform. All you need is a set of very sharp kitchen shears (we positively love these from Cutco) and an uncooked bird. Simply place the bird breast side down on a cutting board and, using your shears, cut a parallel line up both sides of the bird’s backbone from the tail to the neck (see photo above) until you can separate it from the body – easy peasy! You can either reserve the backbone for making stock or toss it, depending on how you roll.
This technique is helpful for two main reasons: (1) a spatchcocked bird roasts much faster than a non-spatchcocked bird, and (2) a spatchcocked bird cooks more evenly as well, no more dried out breast meat waiting for the luscious dark meat to cook. A spatchcocked bird (can you tell I like using that word?) is ideal for roasting on a sheet pan but you can also cook it on the grill as well.
Once you’ve successfully spatchcocked your bird, feel free to season it any way your heart desires (i.e. lemon and thyme, buffalo sauce or tradish poultry seasoning). For a delightful “one-pan” meal, go ahead and add your favorite ingredients to the roasting pan with it. Mushrooms? Sure! Onions? Of course! Potatoes? Why the hell not! You can really make it your own using whatever leftover veggies you have in the fridge or flavor combination you’re craving. One of our favorites is our Burgundy-inspired Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions – total and complete YUM!
In addition to chicken, you can spatchcock virtually any type of poultry. If you’re feeling super adventurous, you could even spatchcock the Thanksgiving turkey! Something to think about. Ever since I discovered this technique, I almost never roast a chicken the traditional way unless I want to stuff it. And while I highly encourage you to try this technique at least once yourself, you can always ask your butcher to do it for you. Just be careful, he might think you’re propositioning him.
I hope you enjoy experimenting with the delicious technique and to check out more of our Foodie Phrases, please click here. Also, what’s YOUR favorite part of a roasted chicken – white meat, dark meat, crispy skin? Please let me know in the Comments section below!