Save time and enhance flavor with a simple shortcut to juicy roast chicken with just a few snips of your kitchen shears!
Learning to butterfly (a.k.a. spatchcock) a whole chicken is an easy, foolproof technique for ensuring an evenly cooked, juicer bird. To butterfly a chicken means to remove the chicken’s backbone and lay it out flat like a butterfly. This simple technique is easily accomplished with a simple pair of kitchen shears. The result is … perfectly roasted chicken that’s juicer, crisper and done 15 minutes faster than a traditional whole roasted chicken!
That’s because flattening the chicken exposes more surface area to heat, which reduces overall cooking time, and also results in the white breast meat and dark leg meat reaching doneness at the same time. And even cooking means juicer meat and a crisper skin!
Another plus is that roasting a whole chicken saves money, since whole chickens cost less per pound than cut-up chicken. And of course, you’ll have chicken bones leftover, which can be used to make delicious homemade chicken stock. Making your own bone broth not only saves money, but results in a far healthier and flavorful stock than store-bought varieties.
This beautiful classic dish is as delicious as it is stunning! With it’s rich savory seasonings and bright burst of tangy lemon flavor, your family will never know this savory Roasted Lemon Spatchcock Chicken takes just minutes to prepare!
How to Spatchcock (Butterfly) a Chicken…
Step One: Rinse and pat dry one whole chicken (about 3-4 pounds). Place the chicken breast side down on a work surface with the legs facing you. Grab a sharp pair of heavy duty kitchen shears.
Step Two: Grab the bird by the tail. Using sharp kitchen shears, carefully cut along the right of the backbone from the tail to the neck.
Step Three: Turn the bird with the legs facing away from you. With a firm grip on the neck, carefully cut out the backbone. (If you’re right handed, turning the chicken is easier and safer, because it allows you to keep a firm grip on the bird without having to cross over your left hand to cut.) Be sure to save the backbone for making delicious and healthy homemade chicken stock.
Step Four: Flip chicken over and open it up like book, laying it flat on a work surface. Use the palms of your hands to firmly press down on the breastbone to flatten the chicken.
Congratulations! You’ve just butterflied (spatchcocked) a chicken! Now we’re ready to dress our beautiful bird!
Creating pockets of flavor: Use your fingers to gently separate the skin of the chicken from the breast and thigh meat to create pockets. (Take care to avoid detaching the skin from the bird entirely.)
Starting at the top with the neck, slide your fingers under the skin and gently separate the skin from the breast meat. Then, move to the bottom tail area to continue loosening the skin from the breast meat. Finally, move to each side of the bird, and run your fingers under the skin to separate the skin from the thigh meat.
Seasoning the bird: Rub half of the flavorful seasoning paste under the skin, covering the breast and thigh meat. Next, rub the remaining paste all over the skin. Then, slide the lemon slices under the skin in a single layer. (Depending on the size of the bird, you should be able to fit 4-6 slices under the breast skin and two slices under the skin of each thigh.)
Now that our bird is dressed and ready to go, let’s toss some seasoned baby potatoes onto the baking sheet for the perfect one pan meal!
Succulent and savory, this quick-n-easy Roasted Lemon Spatchcocked Chicken is bursting with flavor! This bird is so delicious, planning for leftovers can be a challenge (did I mention I have two teen boys). A great solution is to roast a larger bird, or two small ones at the same time. That way, there’s extra meat on hand for creating quick-n-tasty meals, such as savory soups and salads.
P.S. Remember to save the bones for making delicious and healthy homemade chicken stock.