Roast chicken is the perfect meal to serve to guests. Or bring to a potluck. Or cook on Sunday to enjoy leftover for lunches all week. What is my favorite part of a perfectly roast Freedom Ranger chicken? The crispy skin, the dark red thigh meat, the plump breasts and the flavorful drippings….. ok, i guess i like everything about them, which is why we fill our freezers with them each summer. 😉
But as many home cooks know: getting a perfect roast can take time for each part to come to temp. The heat of your oven has a hard time getting through all the meat evenly when the chicken is left whole. Time to learn my favorite trick for a quickly cooked, perfectly crispy and fully done bird: spatchcock!
Spatchcock is just a fun to say term for ‘removing the spine and pressing the bird flat.’ The essential tool for this trick are really sturdy shears. You can do it with a sharp knife, but the risk of slipping and slicing your arm open are slightly greater. In this video you’ll see me making the second cut: you are aiming just to the side of the spine, avoiding the thigh bone. Don’t throw that spine away: add it to your roast and use it in your next batch of soup (after you gnaw off the crispy skin and decadent dark meat).
I cooked this 6+ pound fryer in about an hour after prep time, which took about the same time as the oven to preheat. A smaller bird can be cooked in as little as 40 minutes. I always use my meat thermometer to gauge doneness (you’re looking for 165) and a bit of resting time will make serving easier and your chicken juicier. The secret to my roast chickens: i season UNDER the skin as well as on. I often tuck in lemon rinds, chopped fresh garlic or fresh herbs. This go round i made a simple mix of salt and dried herbs. If for some crazy reason you DON’T want to eat the crispy skin, the meat will still have close contact with the seasonings.
Read on for the recipe for a perfectly roast chicken and learn how to spatchcock like a pro!