How to spatchcock a chicken

How to spatchcock a chicken

If the idea of spatchcocking a chicken scares you, we’re here to put an end to that. Spatchcocking is not only easier than you think, but it’s a great way of cooking a chicken. We’re breaking down everything you need to know about spatchcocking a chicken and giving you a handy step-by-step guide. By Jess Spiro.

What does spatchcocking mean?

If the word “spatchcock” isn’t ringing any bells, butterflied chicken or a chicken “flattie” might. Essentially, spatchcocking refers to a method of preparing chicken in which the backbone is removed to flatten the chicken out.

Why spatchcock a chicken?

If you’ve ever roasted a chicken, you’ll know that it can take a while to cook. Added to this, you’ve got to make sure you get the timing right to ensure the thighs are cooked while preventing the breasts from drying out. Spatchcocking does away with all these woes as flattening the chicken means it will cook more evenly, and quicker than a whole bird.

Tips for spatchcocking a chicken

Prep your chicken before spatchcocking by removing any giblets or the neck, if they are included. Pop them into the freezer and use them to make stocks, soups or gravies. Similarly, once you remove the backbone, keep this for stock too. In terms of equipment, you don’t need anything specific – a good pair of sharp kitchen scissors will do the trick.

Find some of our favourite recipes using spatchcocked chicken here, as well as our step-by-step guide to spatchcocking a chicken below.

GALINHA ASADA GRILLED PERI-PERI CHICKENGet the recipe for peri-peri grilled chicken here.

whole-Thai-green-curry-chickenGet the recipe for whole-baked Thai green curry chicken here.

Get the recipe for braaied sumac chicken here.


    1. Place the chicken on a board, breast-side down, with the legs facing towards you.

      Step 1

    2. Identify the backbone then, using sharp scissors, cut up along each side of the parson’s nose and backbone. Cut up alongside the backbone from the bottom to the top, cutting through the ribs as you go. Remove the backbone entirely and reserve it for making stock. You can also snip off the wing tips to prevent them from burning. Keep these for chicken stock, too.

      Step 2

    3. Open out the chicken and turn it over. Flatten the breastbone with the heel of your hand until you hear it crack. This ensures the meat is all one thickness and cooks evenly

      Step 3

    4. If you like, use two wooden skewers to secure the legs and keep the bird flat. Run the skewers diagonally through the breast and thigh meat.

      Step 4

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