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Spatchcock chicken gives you the most flavorful, juicy chicken and crispy skin, but for a fraction of the normal cooking time. We’re giving you step-by-step instructions so you can spatchcock your chicken like a pro!

Overhead view of spatchcock chicken on a baking sheet.

If spatchcocking is a foreign term to you, have no fear! This is a fairly simple way to prepare a whole chicken that drastically cuts down the cooking time! Roasting a whole chicken has always been a favorite dinner of ours, but it feels like it takes forever to cook, and we don’t always set aside the time. Spatchcock chicken still gives you that amazing crispy skin and juicy meat, but this method cooks the chicken much more evenly. Just trust us and go with it, because you will be spatchcocking like a pro in no time!

Why spatchock chicken?

Spatchcocking chicken is a method of cutting poultry to remove the spine so that it lays flat for cooking. This lay-flat method allows for more even cooking and reduces the cooking time of a whole chicken by about 25%. The spatchcock method can be used for roasting poultry in the oven or cooking it on a grill or smoker.

Kitchen Shears:

This recipe requires a good pair of sharp kitchen shears in order to cut out the spine of the chicken. If you do not own a pair of kitchen shears, you can always use a serrated knife, though it is more difficult and you should be extremely careful.

Vegetables with Spatchcock Chicken:

The veggies are totally optional, and you could always just cook your chicken by itself. However, we love one pan cooking! It saves us from dirtying another baking dish or pan, so we highly recommend you make it easy on yourself and throw some veggies in!

When is the chicken ready?

Chicken needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the bird. To ensure safe cooking without overcooking, we highly recommend using a digital meat thermometer.

Spatchcock chicken on a baking sheet with carrots and potatoes.

Grilling and Smoking Instructions:

Grilling: Preheat your gas or charcoal grill to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the grill reaches temperature, adjust the heat source to create an indirect heat source for cooking. For gas, turn off the burners on one side of the grill where you can place your chicken and use the other burners to maintain heat. For gas, move the charcoals to one side to provide heat and allow for cooking on the other side of the grill. Place the chicken breast side up onto the indirect heat side of the grill. Close the lid and cook until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, about 1 hour. For a crispier skin, finish the chicken by flipping and cooking breast side down over direct heat for 3 to 5 minutes to crisp.

Smoking: Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Place spatchcocked chicken breast side up in the smoker. Close the lid and smoke until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours depending on the size of your chicken.

Storage and Reheating Instructions:

Store any remaining chicken pieces in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit until warmed through, or in the microwave in 30 second increments until warmed through.

Is brining necessary?

We love how this buttermilk brine tenderizes the meat, and we know you will too. It is worth that extra time to brine! But, you can always skip the brining and season your chicken with your favorite rub, or one of ours. See below for other recipes using whole chicken.

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious chicken recipes:

Watch the video below where Caytlin will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Overhead view of spatchcock chicken on a baking sheet.
Spatchcock chicken gives you the most flavorful, juicy chicken and crispy skin, but for a fraction of the normal cooking time. We're giving you step by step instructions so you can spatchcock your chicken like a pro!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds)

Buttermilk Brine

  • 4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic , or garlic powder

Roasted Vegetables

  • 2 pounds red potatoes , 1-inch chunks
  • 2 pounds carrots , 1-inch chunks
  • 1 yellow onion , 1-inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • drizzle olive oil
Instructions

How to Spatchcock Chicken

  • Using a clean surface, lay bird breast side down and identify the spine.
  • Using kitchen shears, cut down both sides of the spine until it is completely removed. Discard spine.
  • Flip the bird back over and rotate out the leg quarters. Give it a firm press right on the center of the breast bone. This will help the bird lay more flat.
  • Add the spatchcock bird to the buttermilk brine, cover, and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours, or overnight.
  • Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove bird from brine and discard the brine.
  • Place the bird on a parchment lined baking sheet breast side up. Tuck the wings to ensure they don't stick up and burn.
  • Add vegetables around the chicken and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season veggies with salt and pepper.
  • Roast in the 400 degree oven until the internal temperature of the bird reaches 165 degrees, about one hour. Actual cooking time will depend on the size of your chicken. Use a meat thermometer to ensure accuracy.
  • Let chicken rest for 10 to 20 minutes before carving.

Buttermilk Brine

  • Use a large container that can fit the entire chicken submerged in liquid. In the container, stir together buttermilk, kosher salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. Stir to combine.
Notes
Grilling: Preheat your gas or charcoal grill to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the grill reaches temperature, adjust the heat source to create an indirect heat source for cooking. Place the chicken breast side up onto the indirect heat side of the grill. Close the lid and cook until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, about 1 hour. For a crispier skin, finish the chicken by flipping and cooking breast side down over direct heat for 3 to 5 minutes to crisp.
Smoking: Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Place spatchcocked chicken breast side up in the smoker. Close the lid and smoke until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours depending on the size of your chicken.

Nutrition

Calories: 156kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 3741mg | Potassium: 353mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 405IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 288mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dinner, Grilled Chicken, Main Dish
Cuisine: American, Dinner
Keyword: Spatchcock Chicken, Whole Chicken
Overhead view of spatchcock chicken on a baking sheet.
Spatchcock chicken gives you the most flavorful, juicy chicken and crispy skin, but for a fraction of the normal cooking time. We're giving you step by step instructions so you can spatchcock your chicken like a pro!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds)

Buttermilk Brine

  • 4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic , or garlic powder

Roasted Vegetables

  • 2 pounds red potatoes , 1-inch chunks
  • 2 pounds carrots , 1-inch chunks
  • 1 yellow onion , 1-inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • drizzle olive oil
Instructions

How to Spatchcock Chicken

  • Using a clean surface, lay bird breast side down and identify the spine.
  • Using kitchen shears, cut down both sides of the spine until it is completely removed. Discard spine.
  • Flip the bird back over and rotate out the leg quarters. Give it a firm press right on the center of the breast bone. This will help the bird lay more flat.
  • Add the spatchcock bird to the buttermilk brine, cover, and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours, or overnight.
  • Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove bird from brine and discard the brine.
  • Place the bird on a parchment lined baking sheet breast side up. Tuck the wings to ensure they don't stick up and burn.
  • Add vegetables around the chicken and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season veggies with salt and pepper.
  • Roast in the 400 degree oven until the internal temperature of the bird reaches 165 degrees, about one hour. Actual cooking time will depend on the size of your chicken. Use a meat thermometer to ensure accuracy.
  • Let chicken rest for 10 to 20 minutes before carving.

Buttermilk Brine

  • Use a large container that can fit the entire chicken submerged in liquid. In the container, stir together buttermilk, kosher salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. Stir to combine.
Notes
Grilling: Preheat your gas or charcoal grill to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the grill reaches temperature, adjust the heat source to create an indirect heat source for cooking. Place the chicken breast side up onto the indirect heat side of the grill. Close the lid and cook until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, about 1 hour. For a crispier skin, finish the chicken by flipping and cooking breast side down over direct heat for 3 to 5 minutes to crisp.
Smoking: Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Place spatchcocked chicken breast side up in the smoker. Close the lid and smoke until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours depending on the size of your chicken.

Nutrition

Calories: 156kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 3741mg | Potassium: 353mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 405IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 288mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dinner, Grilled Chicken, Main Dish
Cuisine: American, Dinner
Keyword: Spatchcock Chicken, Whole Chicken
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