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Spatchcock Chicken | The Recipe Critic

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Spatchcock chicken is the secret to the most tender chicken and this method locks in all the juicy flavors. Seasoned with a delicious rub and oven-roasted to perfection this will be your new favorite way of cooking a chicken.

I love oven-roasted chicken! This recipe has all the home-cooked flavors you hope for in a meal. It also makes great leftovers because you can keep using the chicken throughout the week in other meals. If you have leftover chicken, you’ve got to try this casserole or this delicious of course chicken noodle soup. I love using leftover chicken in this appetizer because it’s always a total hit!

Top view of spatchcock chicken roasted on a roasting pan and garnished with roasted carrots, potatoes, and fresh herbs.

What is Spatchcock Chicken?

To spatchcock a chicken you simply butterfly it by removing the backbone so that you can spread out the chicken and flatten it out. This method reduces the cooking time and results in the juiciest chicken you will ever eat! It makes it so that the whole chicken is evenly distributed on the roasting pan allowing it to cook more evenly. Spatchcocking a chicken is my favorite way of cooking a whole chicken and I just know you are going to love it too!

I have made chicken in a lot of different ways. Spatchcock is my favorite, but there are other ways I love too. I really love the method of baking a whole chicken, and it’s also delicious in the air fryer! I just love that spatchcocking works for the oven, smoker, or whatever you end up cooking your chicken in. It’s easy to do and I’ve got lots of tips to help you become a spatchcocking pro. And once you have it down, you can spatchcock a turkey for your next Thanksgiving dinner!

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Ingredients Needed

There is not much needed to make an incredible chicken dinner. This recipe is surprisingly SO easy, and it only takes a few ingredients. I love to roast it with fresh vegetables for a full meal. See the recipe card below for exact measurements.

  • Whole Chicken: One whole chicken that is about 4-5 lbs.
  • Homemade Chicken Seasoning: My homemade seasoning is the best and adds the best flavor to this chicken recipe.
  • Rosemary and Parsley: Fresh herbs always add the best flavor!
  • Potatoes and Carrots: I love yellow or gold potatoes because they are buttery and delicious roasted! You can use any roasting veggies you desire!
  • Olive Oil: To coat the veggies before cooking.
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper: Season to taste.

How to Spatchcock Chicken

If you have ever spatchcocked a turkey, this is the same process! Once you spatchcock a bird, you will see how easy it is! I walk you through the whole process so you have nothing to fear. It’s the only way to cook a whole chicken and it’s so pretty on a serving platter. You are going to love this spatchcock chicken recipe because it stays so juicy and delicious!

  1. Dry: Pat dry the chicken with a paper towel.
  2. Cut: Set the chicken breast side down on a baking sheet with a wire rack. Using very sharp kitchen shears, cut along the backbone from the tail to the neck. Cut along each side until it is removed. Discard the backbone or save it to make a stock.
  3. Press: Flip the chicken over and then use your hands to press firmly to flatten the ribs and break the breastbone. Make sure the chicken is completely flat and position the thighs outward on the baking sheet.
  4. Rub: Rub the chicken generously with the chicken seasoning.
  5. Season the Vegetables: To season the vegetables, toss them with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
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Spatchcock Roasted Chicken

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Add the Chicken and Veggies to a Sheet Pan: Place the chicken in the middle of a large baking sheet pan. Make sure it is skin-side up. Scatter the vegetables around the chicken.
  3. Bake: Bake the spatchcocked chicken and veggies for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature and cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 1 hour or until the thickest part reaches 165 degrees.
  4. Rest: Remove the chicken from the oven and tent with foil. Let rest for 10-20 minutes. Then carve and serve with roasted veggies on the side.

Spatchcock Smoked Chicken

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your smoker to 240 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Add the Chicken and Veggies to a Sheet Pan: Place the chicken in the middle of a large baking sheet pan. Make sure it is skin-side up and that your pan is smoker-safe. Scatter the vegetables around the chicken.
  3. Smoke: Place the spatchcocked chicken in the smoker skin side up. Smoke for 3-4 hours or until the thickest part reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Alternatively, you can cook the vegetables separately, but I personally love cooking them in the smoker! Sometimes I’ll place the vegetables in their own smoker-safe pan and pull them out if they get done sooner.
  4. Rest: Remove the chicken from the smoker and tent with foil. Let rest for 10-20 minutes. Then carve and serve with roasted veggies on the side.
First photo of cutting out the backbone of the chicken with kitchen shears. Second photo of the backbone of the chicken removed. Third photo of flattening out the bird. Fourth photo of the spatchcocked chicken topped with seasonings.

Tips For Spatchcocking

If you are not familiar with breaking down a bird and have never spatchcocked anything before, here are some tips to help you feel confident! All it takes is one time and you will be a pro!

  • Watch a Video: If you have read these instructions and still feel nervous, watch a video! There are lots of videos on the internet showing professional chefs spatchcocking a chicken. Watch a few to get familiar with the process.
  • Practice: If you are nervous about messing up on your chicken, don’t be! A whole chicken isn’t very expensive, so there is less pressure to get it perfect the first time!
  • How to Carve a Spatchcock Chicken: You will have to carve it a little differently, but it’s not harder! First, remove the legs and wings. You will remove the entire leg including the thigh at the joint. Next, separate the drumstick from the thigh. Then you will remove the breast from the bone and slice it. Finally, arrange it on a platter and you’re done!
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Close up view of spatchcock chicken carved and served on a platter with roasted carrots, potatoes, and fresh herbs.

Storing Leftover Chicken

I love leftover chicken because it makes great meals for a few days! Follow these tips for storing your leftovers to get the most out of this recipe.

  • In the Refrigerator: Store the chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Use it in other dishes to get the most out of your chicken! Store the vegetables in a separate airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • In the Freezer: My favorite way to store chicken in the freezer is in ziplock bags. Shred the chicken and seal in a ziplock bag releasing any excess air. Freeze for up to 2 months. It’s great for last-minute meals and soups in the winter!

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