Roasted Spatchcock Chicken (with a How-To Video!)
Perfecting a Roasted Chicken is one of the easiest and always affordable ways you can impress someone that comes over for dinner. Let me tell you, I cannot count how many dry or rubbery or otherwise ill-prepared chickens I fed my husband trying to teach myself how to make a traditional chicken roast or a crock pot chicken recipes. It was many.
The one technique that has worked for me 100% of the time is a Dry Brine Spatchcock Roasted Chicken.
Dry-Brine and Spatchcock are two separate techniques that will help you create one of the most delicious birds you have ever encountered. I can almost guarantee you will want this recipe again and again!
The first thing to do with this recipe is to Spatchcock your chicken. A Spatchcock is the process where you remove the chicken backbone and break the breast bone so the chicken can lay flat during the roasting process. The video below will walk you thru the visuals of how exactly you can accomplish this 🙂
The Dry Brine is essentially a salt brine method where you salt the meat directly then let time work magic while the meat rests for 8-24 hours in the fridge. You will skip the liquid part of traditional brining which will prevent potential salmonella contamination in your kitchen. You can also use smaller quantities because there is no water to dilute the flavoring. I first showed you an easy dry brine in my yummy Basic Pork Belly Roast recipe from this past January.
Once you have removed the backbone, you need to take a moment and loosen the skin. There is some really thin connective tissue that semi-attaches the skin to the meat. We want to separate them without actually removing the skin so we can add salt to alllllllll of the chicken meat. Lets be honest, we want alllllll of the chicken to taste good 🙂
Now we are ready to add the salt! You will want to apply the salt both on and under the skin on both sides of the chicken. For a typical 3-4 pound chicken, I use one (heaping) tablespoon of salt, plus a touch more right before baking. My hubby eyeballs the salt completely when he makes this for me.
I try to get the salt evenly spread thru the entire chicken. I can most effectively do this when I keep a ‘wet’ and a ‘dry’ hand. I use the ‘wet’ hand (my left) to lift the skin and the ‘dry’ hand (my right) to add the salt. It will seem like a lot of salt, but please trust me that this will be one super yummy chicken! Make sure to reserve some salt for the outside of the chicken.
Once I have most of the salt distributed as evenly as I can under the skin, I take a moment and give the chicken a quick massage. Yes, I massage the chicken. At this point, the salt is still grainy. The quick massage gives me one more opportunity to spread the salt under the skin before the brining process really begins.
Put most of the salt under the skin, and keep a smidgen, say less than a teaspoon worth, to salt the outside of the chicken (including the innards part facing down and the skin facing up). We do want the skin to dehydrate a little because it adds to the making of crispy skin!
Now, we are ready to cover the chicken and let it brine away in the fridge! I have brined first thing in the morning and cooked it that evening for dinner, but most commonly I start a chicken brining just before bed and cook it the next evening!
**At least 8 but no more than 24 hours later**
Compound butter is an absolutely delectable way to add that extra something something to this meal. My favorite herb to add to this chicken is a rosemary; Italian seasoning would be a close second fav. The butter helps ensure the chicken is not only tasty, but also juicy! Compound butter is super easy too!
So easy in fact, it is literally just an herb of your choosing, plus softened unsalted butter! Note: because the chicken has already been salted during the brine process, you do not want to use any kind of herb mix that would add more salt. I think a two part butter to one part dry herb works really well for this chicken.
Sometimes during the summer I will use fresh rosemary from my garden. If I do use fresh, I reduce the amount of rosemary to about 1 1/2 teaspoons (or roughly half a tablespoon) because the flavor potency of a fresh herb is much more robust.
When your compound butter is well mixed, it is ready to add to the chicken!
Just like when we salted the chicken to start the dry brine process, we want to apply the majority of the butter under the skin. Our goal is for some of the compound butter to reach as much of the chicken as we can get it to. My next tip to ensure this?
Give you chicken another quick massage! This will, like with the salt, help ensure the compound butter reaches the nooks and crannies. It also has the added bonus of getting a bit of butter ontop of the skin.
Lastly, we want to add that quick pinch of salt and we are ready to put the chicken in the oven.
Reminder: The major benefit of the spatchcock chicken is it can lay flat so it will roast up quickly and evenly. We want the oven to be preheated to a toasty 425 degrees and will bake the chicken for 45-55 minutes. I always double check the chicken with a meat thermomoter in the thigh and the breast to at least 165 degrees internal temp.
Despite the wordy article, I hope you can see how easy and how achievable this chicken is for you to prepare and impress with! Please let me know in the comments below how it turns out for you!
Spatchcock Roasted Chicken
- Whole Chicken, 3-4 pounds
- 1 Tablespoon salt, plus a pinch more
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 Tablespoon dry herb, unsalted OR 1/2 Tablespoon fresh
- Rosemary is my favorite and Italian seasoning is a close second 🙂
- Kitchen Shears
- Spatchcock your chicken (remove the backbone) and break the breast bone so the chicken lays flat. See video at top of recipe for assistance
- Clean up the inside of the chicken if necessary. Any odd bits can be saved with the backbone for a future batch of chicken stock
- Loosen the skin from the meat without removing the skin.
- Add most of the salt evenly to all parts of the chicken under the skin. Massage chicken briefly to ensure even salt distribution
- Sprinkle remaining salt on outside of the chicken (including skin and innards bottom side).
- Cover and allow brine process to happen while chilling in fridge for 8-24 hours
- Create compound butter with herb of choosing and evenly add under the skin to all parts of the chicken. Massage chicken briefly to ensure even butter distribution
- Bake in 425 degree oven for 45-55 minutes. Check for doneness with meat thermometer reading at least 165 degrees