How to Spatchcock Chicken, Turkey or any Poultry

Learn how easy it is to spatchcock, or butterfly, poultry. A chicken is used here, but this method will work for turkey, goose, duck, quail, etc. If it has feathers, this method works. Why pay extra for something you can do for free?

Last Updated on December 3, 2021

Spatchcock chicken
Spatchcock Chicken

Learn how easy it is to spatchcock chicken or any poultry. A chicken is used here, but this method will work for turkey, goose, duck, quail, etc. If it has feathers, this method works. Why pay extra for something you can do for free?
What is Spatchcocking?

What is Spatchcocking

Spatchcocking, or butterflying, is another tool in your chest to get a good moist bird on the table. By flattening poultry, you are ensuring that it will cook uniformly at the same rate and retain moisture.  This is one of the methods I recommend in my eBook, The Good Plate Talking Turkey. The process is very simple. Just flip the bird on its front, remove the spine with poultry shears, turn it over, put your hands on the breast like you are an EMT doing a chest compression, and press down hard to break the breast bone. Tuck the wings in, season, inject with marinade, roast and you’re done.  It’s a lot easier than deboning.

Talking Turkey

Spatchcocking, or butterflying, is another tool in your chest to get a good moist bird on the table. By flattening poultry, you are ensuring that it will cook uniformly at the same rate and retain moisture.  This is one of the methods I recommend in my eBook, The Good Plate Talking Turkey. The process is very simple. Just flip the bird on its front, remove the spine with poultry shears, turn it over, put your hands on the breast like you are an EMT doing a chest compression, and press down hard to break the breast bone. Tuck the wings in, season, inject with marinade, roast and you’re done.  It’s a lot easier than deboning.

Compound Butter for my Spatchcock Chicken

When I made this chicken, I made a compound butter with fresh herbs and unsalted softened butter.  I also made a fruit stuffing that I cooked separately.  The vegetable ends and apple peels from the stuffing were used as an aromatic bed to lay the chicken on.  Half the compound butter was used for the stuffing and half under and on the chicken skin.

Inject Moisture

The other trick up my sleeve for a nice, moist bird, is using a marinade injection needle filled with broth, melted butter, and white wine.  It gives a lot of flavor.  If you don’t want to use butter, you could use olive oil.  Don’t like wine?  No worries, just omit it.  For injection needles, I highly recommend the kind the screws on.  They’re much easier to use and don’t come apart in the middle of injecting.  I also do this for my Turkey Roasted in a Nesco and for Deboned Turkey.

Get Accurate Temperature Readings

Use an instant-read thermometer.  The little pop-up that might come with your bird, especially with turkeys, is inaccurate. Usually, I just remove it.  Digital instant-read thermometers are better than analog ones.  You don’t have to spend a fortune, the one I have was less than $30.00 and I use it all the time.

Spatchcock Chicken or any Poultry

Learn how easy it is to spatchcock, or butterfly, poultry. A chicken is used here, but this method will work for turkey, goose, duck, quail, etc. If it has feathers, this method works. Why pay extra for something you can do for free?
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Resting: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Course: Dinner, Main
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free
Difficulty: Easy
Newsletter: 2021-11-30
Servings (slide to adjust): 6
Calories: 512kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs Chicken, whole

~~ — Compound Butter — ~~

  • ½ cup Butter, unsalted, softened
  • 1 tablespoon Sage, fresh
  • 1 tablespoon Rosemary, fresh
  • 1 tablespoon Thyme, fresh

~~ — Aromatics — ~~

  • ½ teaspoon Black pepper, freshly ground
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • Onion, skin and root
  • Celery, Root and leaves
  • Apple, peels and core

~~ — Injection Liquid– ~~

  • 2 tablespoon Butter, unsalted, melted
  • 1 teaspoon Chicken base
  • 1 cup Water, boiling
  • 2 tablespoon White wine

~~ — Seasoning — ~~

Ingredients necessary for the recipe step are in italic.

Instructions

  • Mis En Place
  • 4 lbs Chicken
    Put the chicken on a cutting board and blot it with paper towels.
  • Turn the chicken on its front and cut along one side of the spine with poultry shears.
  • Cut along the other side of the spine to completely remove it. Set the spine aside.
  • Remove the giblets and neck if they are present. Set the giblets aside and put the neck and spine together to be used for broth.

For the Optional Compound Butter

  • 1/2 cup Butter, 1 tablespoon Sage, 1 tablespoon Rosemary, 1 tablespoon Thyme
    Roughly chop the herbs. Put the softened butter in the bowl of a food processor. Add the herbs and process until it is thoroughly mixed.

For the Aromatics

  • 1/2 teaspoon Black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon Salt, Onion, Celery, Apple
    Put the aromatics on the bottom of a foil-lined roasting pan. Salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Put the chicken on top of the aromatics breast side up.

For the Injection

  • 2 tablespoon Butter, 1 teaspoon Chicken base, 1 cup Water, 2 tablespoon White wine
    Combine the chicken base and boiling water. Add melted butter and wine.
  • Using your gloved hands, put compound butter under the chicken's skin and rub it on the skin as well. Be thorough. Dip the injection needle in the injection liquid and fill the needle. Stab and inject the chicken breast, thigh, leg generously. Keep doing this until you have used up most if not all of the liquid. If the skin puffs up while you are doing this, it's normal. If some of the liquid comes out, that is normal, too.
  • 1 teaspoon Northwoods Seasoning
    Sprinkle the chicken generously with the seasoning. Cover the pan with foil and put it into a 325°F / 162°C oven.
  • Roast the chicken until it reaches 150°F / 65°C, about an hour. Remove the foil and turn the heat up to 475°F / 246°C and roast for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165°F / 73°C.
    spatchcock chicken
  • Let the chicken rest at least 20 minutes before carving. To prevent the skin from getting soft, don't tent it.
  • Use the poultry shears to cut the chicken into pieces and put them on a serving platter.
  • Enjoy!
    spatchcock chicken

Video

Notes

The compound butter is optional. You could use olive oil with herbs instead. You could also use olive oil in the injection liquid.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Spatchcock Chicken or any Poultry
Amount Per Serving (375 g)
Calories 512 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Fat 23g35%
Saturated Fat 13g81%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 227mg76%
Sodium 630mg27%
Potassium 794mg23%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Fiber 0g0%
Sugar 0g0%
Protein 70g140%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Got Questions? Let me know!Mention @arbpen or tag #arbpen!
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About arbpen

As an award-winning and serious home cook, I seriously believe there is no reason why you can't have a restaurant quality meal at home. One of the good things about eating at home is to save money, so armed with a good menu plan, a shopping list, and an appreciation of good food, we can all have gourmet food on a budget.

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