No, it’s not a dirty word. Spatchcocking refers to removing the backbone and flattening poultry for more even cooking. It can also speed up the cooking time. Charlotte Fresh is going to attempt to spatchcock her Thanksgiving turkey this year, adapting a recipe she got here. (Wish me luck!) Supposedly an 8-12 pound turkey takes 45 minutes to roast with this spatchcocked, high-temperature method, versus a few hours in the traditional way.
Cutting down the turkey roasting time would be a dream come true. But, with my beautiful pasture-raised turkey on the way, I didn’t want any mistakes. So, I thought I would practice on a chicken first to see if I could even get the backbone out. My chicken of choice for this trial run was a nearly four pound New Town Farms pasture-raised organic Red Bro that I roasted for dinner last night. And boy, was it good!
Here’s a step-by-step guide to spatchcocking, along with my recipe for Roasted Rosemary Chicken with Apples. (Thanks to hubby for taking great pics!)
Fresh Technique: How to spatchcock
Fresh Recipe: Roasted Rosemary Chicken with Apples
It’s best to insert a probe thermometer while cooking the chicken. Since the chicken is flat, it will cook a bit more evenly than a whole standing bird. But, you will still need to watch to make sure the breast doesn’t get overdone. Cover the breast with foil near the end if the thighs are not coming up to temperature as quickly. Aiming for 165 degrees in the thigh will help ensure the breast is not overcooked. My 3.9 pound chicken was still icy at 32 degrees when it went into the oven, and it took about 45 minutes to roast. It would have roasted faster if I had defrosted it better. At any rate, compare that with 1 hour to 1 hour + 15 minutes for conventional roasting. I used Davis & Son Orchards apples and dried organic rosemary sprigs from Poplar Ridge Farm.
- One 4 lb. spatchcocked chicken
- 2 apples, sliced – try a sweet variety like Pink Lady
- 3 sprigs of rosemary, 5-inches each
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 Tbs butter, softened
- salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Spread the apples in a roasting pan. Crush one sprig of rosemary and mix with the butter.
Place spatchcocked chicken on top of apples, reserving 4-5 thin apple slices. Carefully lift the skin away from the breast and place chunks of rosemary butter under the skin all around the bird. Rub some of the butter on the outside of the chicken. Place reserved apple slices in between the skin and the breast.
Nestle garlic and remaining rosemary sprigs under the legs and wings of the chicken. Salt and pepper the chicken to taste.
Insert probe thermometer into thigh. Roast at 450 degrees until thermometer reaches 165 degrees. Let chicken rest for 10-15 minutes before carving. The temperature should climb to about 170 degrees out of the oven.