How to Spatchcock a Chicken

  • By: Jack Mancuso

How to Spatchcock a Chicken

The term spatchcocking isn’t something you hear every day. But once you learn how to do it, you’ll love the results you get from your recipes. I use the technique in various applications, and it almost feels like a “secret” ingredient to making amazing chicken. But you may wonder how to spatchcock a chicken. Read on. 

What is spatchcocking?

The term spatchcocking is synonymous with butterflying. The method cysts out the backbone initially. That may sound hard, but you can usually do it with kitchen scissors. Next, you open the chicken like a book, then flatten it on a solid surface like your cutting board.

Why Fuss so Much?

There are a lot of benefits to spatchcocking, the biggest one of which is even cooking. If you were to cook a whole bird, it would take you minimally 15 minutes more than one that’s butterflied. Sometimes, the lovely breast is undercooked, while other parts of your bird are too tough to eat. Spatchcocking is the solution. And you will be able to make skin with that perfect crunch.

How to Spatchcock a Chicken: Step by Step

  1. Get out your cutting board and a pair of sharp kitchen shears
  2. Put the chicken on the cutting board with the breast side downward
  3. Use paper towels to pat it dry before going further
  4. Cut closely along the spine on both sides of the chicken
  5. Lift the backbone out of the bird and set it aside. This makes incredible stock. Don’t waste it!
  6. Now, turn the chicken breast side up. 
  7. Push firmly on the breast in the middle. There should be a cracking sound.
  8. The bird now lies flat on the ribs. 
  9. At this point all that remains is patting it dry once more, then marinating or using a dry rub for your recipe.

I have created some all-natural rubs, some of which are ideal for chicken, including

Cusos Coconut Rum Seasoning: A taste of the Caribbean in your backyard

Cusos Dust Seasoning: GIves the meat a slightly smoky edge

Cusos Hot Honey Powder Seasoning: The perfect blend of sweet and heat

Cusos Smoky Garlic Buffalo Seasoning: Chipotle brings a subtle heat and smokiness

Tips for Success

Don’t rush yourself when you’re first learning. Pat your chicken dry all over. They’re slippery suckers, and you don’t want them rolling around on the cutting board. 

Make sure you get as close to the backbone as possible when you cut. Why? You’re preserving meat. You’ll want to dry it again before treating it with seasonings. Get herbs everywhere you can on the bird’s surface. Let it rest a while to absorb flavors in the refrigerator..

Always bring your chicken up to room temperature before cooking. When it’s done, don’t cut into it immediately. Resting helps redistribute juices that create both tenderness and flavor.

PitMaster’s Memo: Storage

Once the leftover chicken cools, keep it in the refrigerator for about 5 days. Make sure it’s in a covered, airtight container. Do the same thing when freezing, keeping the chicken good for about 3 months. 


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