Now that we've got wholesome, pasture raised chickens available at Augustus Ranch, let's kick things off with a really easy weeknight one pan chicken recipe. Why butterfly (also known as spatchcock) a chicken? Because it cooks quicker, more evenly, and you get uniform crispy chicken skin! Truly simple and delicious. In this recipe we'll demonstrate how to butterfly your chicken, plus we show you a trick for getting extra crispy chicken skin.
As mentioned above, butterflying a chicken is really a great way to approach cooking any type of bird or poultry. It works well for both grilling or roasting. In fact, once you discover how good the results are, you will likely never go back! This recipe is great for feeding a family of 4 - 5.
1 Whole chicken, around 4 pounds
Salt and ghee/olive oil for seasoning
- Red onions
- Brussels sprouts
TIME AND DIFFICULTY
- Prep Time: 20 minutes total
- Cook Time: 45 - 60 minutes total
- Difficulty: Easy
May We Suggest:
Mixed vegetables/mushrooms for roasting as a side dish
- A sheet tray plus parchment paper for easy cleanup
Step 1: Butterfly the chicken. For this task you will want a cutting board and either a knife or a pair of kitchen shears. The shears are safer and easier, but a knife works just as well. When using a knife, you will need to apply some pressure as you're cutting through the bone, so be mindful of keeping your opposite hand safe from the path of the knife in case you slip.
- Turn the chicken over, and place a paper towel beneath it for better stability.
- Make a couple small marks along the spine as a cutting guide. If using a knife, it's helpful to sit the chicken up on its neck and cut down from top to bottom.
- On photo 3, my left thumb pulling back the "oyster", a great piece of meat we want to keep attached to the leg. Be mindful of where you are cutting and try to keep these delicious morsels on both sides of the chicken when removing the spine.
- Cut down both sides of the spine until you reach the neck and pull the spine away. Save this in the freezer and make a batch of chicken broth when you have enough bones!
- On photo 5, we are making a small incision into the inner breast plate to flatten the chicken. Don't cut too deep, only enough to split the cartilage.
- On photo 6, once the job is done, flip the chicken over and use your hand to flatten the chicken. This should be easy now that you've made an incision on the inside of the breast.
Optional Step: Pour boiling liquid over top the skin. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil (plus two tablespoons of vinegar for good measure). Or just microwave in a glass measuring cup to the point of boiling. Now carefully and steadily pour this hot liquid over all areas of the skin. This will tighten up the pores and result in a crispier chicken skin. Pat the chicken completely dry with paper towels, especially the skin.
Step 2: Prepare the roasting tray while the oven preheats. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut your vegetables and season them with olive oil and salt. Since everything is roasting at the same time, we want everything to cook and finish around the same time. Don't cut the vegetables too small, but give them some size and consider the amount of time it may take. I went about 1.25 inches on everything, which turned out well. Lay a piece of parchment paper (or foil) flat on the tray and spread the vegetables out in an even layer. Place the butterflied chicken on top of the vegetables and rub the dry skin with ghee and season liberally with salt.
Step 3: Roast at 450 degrees for around 45 minutes. The cooking time will vary based on a few variables, like how cold is the chicken when going in, how large is it, etc. Generally speaking, this should take around 45 - 50 minutes. Less time if smaller, more time if larger. If you are using an instant read thermometer, you want the chicken to reach 160 degrees internal temperature near the bone on the leg and breast. Another way to gauge the doneness is to observe how easily the legs begin to pull away from the body. This will become very easy once the chicken is fully cooked! Make sure you give the chicken a few minutes to rest after coming out of the oven so the juices can calm down a bit, otherwise they will escape immediately once cutting.
Cutting and serving: we turned this butterflied bird into 8 pieces.
- Pull each leg away from the body to separate.
- Cut between where the joint connects the drum to the thigh. There's a space in between what would be the knee area where the lower and upper leg bones connect.
- Cut from top to bottom between the two breasts to separate (you should be able to cut through the bone fairly easily once it is fully cooked).
- Cut each breast in half from left to right (again, cutting through the cooked bone).
Note about red color in or around the bone: if you see a red color in the middle of a bone or just around the joint where it connects to the meat, keep in mind that this is normal and not a sign of being undercooked. Especially when frozen, the pigment from the bone marrow can sometimes escape into the bone or into the meat just around the area causing a deep red color. It will be an obvious difference from pink in the thickest part of the breast or thigh if the chicken is undercooked. So don't worry if you see this red color when all other signs point to the chicken being fully cooked (internal temperature of 160, juices running brown/clear, etc).