How to Spatchcock Chicken: A Step-by-Step Guide to Perfectly Cooked Poultry

How to Spatchcock Chicken: A Step-by-Step Guide to Perfectly Cooked Poultry

If you’re looking for a simple, effective way to cook a whole chicken, spatchcocking might be the answer you’re looking for. This cooking technique involves removing the backbone of the chicken and flattening it out, which results in faster, more even cooking and deliciously crispy skin. In this article, we’ll show you how to spatchcock a chicken the right way, along with tips and tricks for seasoning and cooking it to perfection.

The Advantages of Spatchcocking Chicken

The benefits of spatchcocking chicken are numerous:

  • Even Cooking – When a chicken is spatchcocked, it lies flat against the cooking surface, ensuring that it cooks evenly all over. This means that all parts of the chicken are fully cooked and moist, rather than some parts being overcooked and dry while others are underdone.
  • Quicker Cooking Time – Flattening the chicken means that it will cook faster than if it was left whole. This makes spatchcocking a great option if you’re short on time.
  • Crispy Skin – When a chicken is spatchcocked, the skin is exposed to more heat, which makes it crispy and delicious.

Tools Needed for Spatchcocking

To properly spatchcock a chicken, you’ll need a few tools:

  • Kitchen scissors
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board

Step-by-Step Guide to Spatchcocking Chicken

Selecting the Chicken

The first step in spatchcocking a chicken is to select a fresh, whole chicken that weighs around 3 to 5 pounds. Rinse it thoroughly and pat it dry with kitchen towels.

Removing the Backbone

Lay the chicken breast-side down on a cutting board, and use kitchen scissors to cut along both sides of the backbone, starting at the tail end and working towards the neck. Remove the backbone and save it for making stock or discard it. Then, open the chicken up like a book.

Flattening the Chicken

Use your hands to flatten the chicken by pushing down on the breastbone until you hear it crack. This ensures that the chicken will lay flat while cooking, ensuring even heat distribution and quicker cooking times.

Seasoning the Chicken

Once the chicken is flattened out, you can season it to your liking with salt, pepper, herbs, and spices. Rub the seasoning all over the chicken, making sure to get it into the nooks and crannies.

Cooking the Chicken

There are several ways to cook a spatchcocked chicken:

  • Grilling – Place the chicken on a preheated grill over medium-high heat, skin-side down. Cook for about 10 minutes per side, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Baking – Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the chicken skin-side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for about 45 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Frying – Heat a large skillet over high heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is shimmering, place the chicken skin-side down in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes until the skin is crispy. Flip the chicken and cook for an additional 5 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Video Tutorial

For a visual guide to spatchcocking chicken, check out this helpful video tutorial:

Recipe-based Article

Try this easy and delicious recipe for Spatchcocked Lemon-Herb Chicken:


  • 1 whole chicken, spatchcocked
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper.
  3. Place the spatchcocked chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Drizzle the marinade over the chicken, making sure to coat it thoroughly on both sides.
  5. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  6. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Comparison Article

When it comes to cooking chicken, there are many different preparation methods to choose from. Here’s how spatchcocking compares to other popular methods:

  • Baking – While baking a chicken is a classic way to prepare it, it can take a long time and can result in uneven cooking. Spatchcocking ensures that the chicken cooks evenly and more quickly.
  • Frying – Frying a chicken can be delicious, but it’s not the healthiest option. Plus, it can result in greasy chicken. Spatchcocking allows the skin to get crispy without the need for frying.
  • Roasting – Roasting a whole chicken can be flavorful, but it can also dry out the meat. Spatchcocking ensures that the chicken stays moist and tender during cooking.

Seasonal Article

If you’re looking for a festive way to prepare spatchcocked chicken during the holidays, consider adding some seasonal flavors to it. For example, you could mix together butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and honey to create a sweet and savory glaze to brush over the chicken while it cooks. You could also serve your spatchcocked chicken with a side of cranberry sauce or roasted vegetables like sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts.


Spatchcocking chicken is a simple but effective way to cook a whole chicken that’s juicy, flavorful, and perfectly cooked every time. By using our step-by-step guide and recipe suggestions, you’ll be able to master this technique and enjoy delicious chicken for any occasion.

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