To Spatchcock or Not To Spatchcock?

Spatchcock is a fun, new word that was added to my vocabulary just a few short weeks ago.
Natalee and another colleague were discussing a recipe for spatchcock chicken and I did a double take – “spatchcock what???”

So here is what I have learned since…
spatchcock is an old cooking method and is making a comeback! It’s when you remove the back bone of a bird, like chicken, and flatten it before roasting it.

Why would you spatchcock a chicken? A spatchcock chicken roasts faster and cooks more evenly and it looks a little fancy!

Of course I had to give this cooking technique a try. It was easy enough to remove the back bone but involved a couple minutes of bone crunching sound effects. All you need is a good pair of kitchen scissors and maybe some ear plugs!

How to Spatchcock a Chicken
  • Place chicken breast-side down, with the legs towards you.
  • Using sturdy scissors, cut up along each side of the backbone to remove it, cutting through the rib bones as you go.
  • Open the chicken out and turn over. Flatten the breastbone with the heel of your hand so that the meat is all one thickness.

Lemon & Thyme Roasted Spatchcock Chicken

  • 1 Spatchcock Chicken
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • the juice of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. new potatoes, halved
  • 8 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 bulb of garlic, cloves peeled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, thyme and oregano. 
  3. Place chicken breast side up on a large roasting pan and brush herb mixture onto the whole surface of the chicken. (If you have the time, you can also allow the chicken to marinade in this mix in an extra large plastic bag for an hour.) Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black ground pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss your potatoes, garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  5. Scatter the potatoes, carrots and garlic around the body of the chicken in a single layer.
  6. Roast in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the breast reaches 165 degrees. Remove chicken from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Carve and serve with potatoes, carrots, garlic and a salad.  

Shannon RD
Registered Dietitian