Roasted Spatchcock Chicken is moist and delicious.
Spatchcock refers to the flat shape that roasts much faster than whole.
According to MarthaStewart.com, spatchcocking means removing the backbone so the chicken lays flat rather than upright during roasting.
A flatter chicken means the drumsticks and thighs are also exposed to direct oven heat. The results are juicy breast, juicy thighs, crispy and evenly browned skin.
A Cornish Hen
For my first try, I used a “small” cornish hen. Very easy to make.
Turned out great.
CLEAN & DRY THE CHICKEN
Start with a clean, dry chicken with breast side down on a clean cutting board or large plate.
After rinsing the chicken, use paper towels to pat until thoroughly dry. The dry skin will turn crisp while roasting.
SPATCHCOCK THE CHICKEN
Place chicken breast side down on a large plate or cutting board.
Use a pair of kitchen scissors or poultry shears to cut away the backbone, the small piece of fat around the neck and miscellaneous pieces of fat hanging off the edges.
This is the backside of the chicken after cutting away the backbone
and the fat around the neck.
FLIP OVER & PRESS THE BREAST PORTION
After removing back bone flip. Press center of chicken (breast area) with both hand until it lightly snaps and lies flat.
SEASON THE CHICKEN
Thoroughly cover the areas under the wings and beneath the legs with the dry rub mixture.
COAT IN OLIVE OIL
Drizzled entire chicken with olive oil.
Roast uncovered in preheated HOT oven so skin gets crisp.
MINIMUM SAFE ROASTING TEMPERATURE
According to the USDA, chicken must be cooked to the minimum safe temperature of 165 F (73.9 C) (all parts). Insert thermometer into the thickest part of a thigh, but not touching bone or gristle.
Since chicken parts are irregularly shaped, be sure to check the temperature in several pieces.
HOW TO CROSS THE LEGS
To achieve this elegant pose, gently tuck wing tips behind the chicken to prevent tips from burning (they cook very fast).
Fold legs together as pictured. Tuck a toothpick in meaty section of both legs to hold the together while roasting. Remove toothpick before serving.
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Roasted Spatchcock Chicken
- 1 whole chicken Use small or medium size.
- 1/4 cup paprika regular or smoked
- salt to taste
- black pepper (optional)
- 1/2 teapoon garlic powder or preferred seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder or preferred seasoning
- vegetable oil for drizzling
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Thoroughly rinse whole chicken. Pat dry with paper towels. Place on a clean cutting board (or other surface).
- Place whole chicken breast down on cutting board. Use a sharp pair of kitchen scissors or poultry shears to cut away the backbone. Start cutting along neck area, through the rib bones on BOTH SIDES of the backbone towards the legs. Discard the backbone or freeze for soup stock.
- In the center area,, use a sharp knife or sharp scissors to cut down 1/4 inch in the "triangle of cartilage" where the breastbone starts. Spread the cut area open to reveal the breast bone. Please note this doesn't apply to cornish hens which have a small amount of meat.
- Flip the chicken over and press down until meat is butterflied and one thickness.
- NOTE: If meat does not flatten, use the heel of your hand to press between the breast bone until the whole chicken is butterflied and one thickness. This may be a required step for a large chicken.
- In medium sized bowl, thoroughly combine paprika, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder (or preferred seasonings).
- Wear gloves if desired. Place chicken breast side up in an ungreased baking dish. Rub the mixture under the skin (top and bottom). Rub dry mixture all over the outside (top and bottom). Be sure to rub under the skin and under the wings and leg areas.
- Cross the legs at the ends. Insert a toothpick in right leg and penetrate the left leg to secure while roasting.
- Drizzle with olive oil or vegetable oil. Place in preheated oven.
- Roast 45 minutes or until breast meat is solid white and internal temperature reaches 170. Roasting times will vary based on size of chicken. Adjust accordingly.
- Carve and serve hot.