Every Wednesday we have a ritual Top Chef and dinner night. Sometimes it’s just me and the roomie, sometimes it’s a few more people. This time, I decided to try a spatchcocked chicken, something I’ve been wanting to do since last winter but just never got around to.
“Spatchcock” is just a fancy chicken-centric word for butterfly. To spatchcock a chicken, you cut out the backbone and spread it flat, for faster cooking. I wanted to grill the chicken, so this took it from a multi-hour procedure to about 25 minutes with one flip. I used a pair of kitchen shears to remove the backbone — well, okay, technically I used two pairs of kitchen shears since I broke the first one. Most instructions tell you to remove the wishbone too, but after some poking and prodding I couldn’t quite figure out how to do this gracefully, so I just busted the wishbone all up and that seemed to work.
The picture above as you see it is our preparation; half covered in an Old Bay rub and half done up with a lemon, pepper, and herb rub. I wanted to do a before and after shot but unfortunately ran into… complications. I grilled the whole spatchcocked chicken for ten minutes on the rib side and then flipped to the breast/leg side for fifteen minutes. What I didn’t anticipate was the amount of fat that would render out and flare up, turning our lovely half and half chicken to well-blackened chicken.
Still, with twenty-five minutes of grilling and ten or so of rest, all of the meat was cooked through to USDA standards and fantastically juicy. Surprisingly juicy, considering how the skin looked (yes, I could show you, and no, I won’t; it’s not pretty). Autumn is setting in here in the northeast, and this was a perfect transitional dinner; yes, it’s a whole chicken for the colder weather, but it’s also grilled because we will grill until we are physically incapable of opening the grill lid due to frostbite; that’s just the way it is.
So, spatchcock chicken. Very funny sounding. Very practical. Very tasty. I’ll update when I do it again, more successfully, which I certainly will.