Spatchcock Roast Chicken


Who doesn’t like a fragrant roast chicken coming out of the oven on any day of the week.

I hate to admit that after so many years of cooking, making a great roast chicken has been hit and miss.  It’s always been between a juicy breast and under cooked legs and thighs or well cooked legs and thighs and a very dry breast.  A beautifully golden skin most times forfeited not to end up with an overcooked bird.

I came across this method of Spachcocking or Butterflying chicken a while back and convinced myself it was worth a try but have been putting it off as I feared ending up with a less than favourable dinner.

Reading up on the subject a little more dispelled my doubts and fears so last week I took the plunge and went for it with great results.

Chicken breast cooks to a lower internal temperature of 150 degrees F. while the legs need a higher 175 degree internal temperature for safe eating.  Spatchcocking satisfies both as flattening the chicken exposes the legs to higher heat allowing them to cook faster than the breast ending up with a perfectly cooked chicken.

The higher cooking temperature of 425 degrees F. gives a crisp golden skin and if that isn’t enough a 4 pound chicken will cook in about 45  minutes.

Why did I put it off so long!

Spatchcock Roast Chicken

4 pound roasting chicken

1 tablespoon olive oil


pepper medley

1 lemon



  1. On a cutting board turn chicken breast side down.
  2. With kitchen shears cut up one side of the back bone.
  3. Cut along other side and remove backbone altogether.  This can be wrapped and go into the freezer to be later added to a stock pot.
  4. Season inside of chicken cavity with salt, pepper medley, rosemary and thyme.
  5. Turn chicken breast side up and with heel of your hand push down firmly on the breast bone to flatten chicken.
  6. Place chicken in roasting pan with a low rim.  Cut a Lemon in half or quarters and tuck under the chicken cavity.
  7. Tuck chicken wing tips under the chicken for even roasting
  8. Rub surface of chicken with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper medley, rosemary and thyme.
  9. Place chicken in a preheated 425 degree F. oven uncovered  for 45 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 150 degrees F. in the thickest part of the breast and 165 to 170 degrees F. in the thigh.
  10. Allow chicken to rest for 5 minutes before cutting.

This is a 4 pound roasting chicken, proceed with the following steps for any size chicken adjusting cooking time for a larger or smaller bird.


Turn chicken over breast side down.  With kitchen shears cut up one side of the backbone.  Cut along other side as well.


Remove backbone and freeze for later use to add to a soup pot.


Turn chicken breast side up and with the heel of your hand push down firmly to flatten chicken.  Tuck wing tips under for even roasting.


Season the inside of chicken with salt, pepper medley, rosemary and thyme.


Turn chicken right side up again, cut lemon in half or quarters and tuck under chicken, rub surface with olive oil and season with salt, pepper medley, rosemary and thyme.


Roast uncovered in a preheated 425 degree F. oven for about 45 minutes until chicken tests done and has a golden crisp skin.

Notes, Tips, and Suggestions

  • If no instant-read thermometer is available, after cook time, test by piercing the thick part of the thigh and breast, if the juices run clear then the bird is likely done.
  • Another way to test is when you pierce either breast or thigh with the tip of a knife hold the knife in for at least 15 seconds then touch it to your lips or inside of the wrist.  If it’s hot enough to hurt,the chicken is likely done.
  • If chicken being cooked is greater or smaller than 4 pounds adjust cooking time accordingly.
  • Use a baking pan that will allow the chicken legs to touch the edges as this ensures better roasting.
  •  Dark pans tend to absorb heat better than light for faster cooking.
  • Club House brand Zesty Pepper Medley is not spicy hot and adds great flavour.
  • The moistness of this chicken both breast and leg meat is amazing!
  • This method would certainly shave some time off roasting a turkey.  Not too bad for presentation as well.

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