Roast a bird in half the time with this recipe for spatchcocked roasted chicken with garlic, lemon and rosemary.
Before you start thinking that I’m going all medieval on my poultry, let me clarify:
What exactly does “spatchcock” mean?
- To spatchcock a bird means that the backbone (and sometimes the breastbone cartilage) is removed from a chicken (or other poultry) and laid out flat —otherwise known as a butterflied bird.
- A spatchcocked cooks more quickly and more evenly because the surface of the bird lies flat on the pan or grill.
- Food historians guess the word “spatchcock” derives from an abbreviation of the phrase “dispatch the cock,” and might have originated in Ireland.
This is such a great way to roast a whole bird since you can season it well, and it cooks faster and more evenly than it would in its usual form. All you need is a whole chicken and good pair of kitchen shears. Or, even better, ask the professional person behind the meat counter to do the dirty work for you.
Besides cooking faster and evenly, butterflying your bird allows better access to the skin pockets, which means you can push more seasonings onto the bird. That means more tasty chicken, too!
While the oven is on, it’s a perfect time to slide a pan of vegetables alongside the roasting chicken to complete the meal, like these crazy-delicious Crusty Smashed Potatoes or this recipe for roasted Cumin-Lime Carrots.
spatchcocked chicken with lemon and rosemary
Yield 4 servings
- 1 3-pound whole chicken, backbone removed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Diamond kosher salt (or 2 teaspoons Morton brand salt, or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 garlic clove, grated or finely chopped
- 1 lemon
- Heat your oven to 425 degrees.
- Tuck the chicken's wing tips behind the breast bone and place on a shallow rimmed sheet pan.
- Mix together the olive oil, salt, rosemary, and garlic in a small bowl. Carefully separate the skin from the breast meat with your fingers, and smear half the mixture over the meat and skin. Flip the bird over and rub it with the rest of the seasoning.
- Place a large ovenproof skillet (such as cast iron) over medium-high heat until very hot. Coat the pan with a little oil.
- Put the chicken in the pan skin side down and place another heavy skillet on top of the chicken to weigh it down. If you don’t have another heavy pan, use a skillet weighed down with a can or two of tomatoes.
- Cook 10 - 12 minutes, until the skin is dark golden brown.
- Remove the weight, then gently turn the chicken over with tongs, so you don’t tear into the delicious, crisp skin. Slice the lemon in half and place it flesh side down in the pan.
- Transfer to the oven to finish cooking, about 20 more minutes. The legs should wiggle freely and the juices run clear.
- Carve the chicken into pieces and serve.
Courses main course/chicken
Hi there! I’m Karen, a mother of two and a professionally trained cook certified in holistic nutrition.
As the recipe developer, photographer and publisher of Familystyle Food, I share recipes and tips for making easy seasonal meals that are healthy and flavorful.
Have a question or feedback? Get in touch or leave me a comment below — I love hearing from you!