The Cooking Technique That Will Get You A Perfect Roast Chicken

If you don't know what spatchcocking is, you're probably not alone, but it might pay to find out. According to Saveur, spatchcocking is lauded as an easy and efficient way to roast a chicken that will result in crispy skin and quicker cooking times.

The term apparently comes from a 17th-century slang expression which shortened "dispatching the cock," i.e., to open the chicken in order to better cook it. Perhaps a term more familiar to laypeople is "butterflying" a chicken (via Simply Recipes). However you refer to it, though, the process is the same.

Spatchcocking a chicken requires the removal of the backbone of the bird, which allows for the carcass to be flattened. This, in turn, provides you with the ability to roast it in the oven without flipping for a shorter period of time than an intact bird. However, it does require a decent amount of butchery, and if you're uncomfortable with it, try asking your local meat man to do it for you.

How to spatchcock a chicken

Positioning the chicken on a cutting board, breast down, using scissors, cut along the backbone from the bottom to the top. To finish removing the backbone, just cut along the other side of the bone, and though you might have to work your way through some rib bones, it should come right out. Flipping the chicken over, use your hands to flatten the bird so that it's at an equal thickness. Congratulations, you've successfully butterflied a chicken or dispatched a cock!

Now all that remains is the cooking. Spatchcocked chicken can be roasted in the oven for about 40 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas cooking an intact chicken at the same temperature might take twice as long. Because all of the skin of the chicken is exposed to the heat source in the oven directly, rather than being plastered against the baking pan, this method provides more surface area for crispy skin as well (via A Beautiful Plate).