I’ve always been intimidated by roasting chicken. Yes, it’s usually simple to prepare, but it’s difficult to time in the oven to get perfectly crispy skin and cooked dark meat, without drying out the white meat. The solution: spatchcocking (butterflying) the chicken, which flattens the bird to create more even cooking for juicy white and dark meat AND crispy skin.
One problem… I was also intimidated by the actual spatchcocking process. It involves using kitchen shears or a chef’s knife to remove the backbone, then physically open up and flatten the chicken. You can ask a butcher to spatchcock for you, but I read article after article about how easy it was, and decided to go for it. Let the operation begin:
Placing the chicken with the backbone facing up, I cut along one side of the backbone, until the chicken was cut completely open. If I hit a snag along the way, I just adjusted where I was cutting – it was really easy. Then I did the same thing on the other side to completely remove the backbone. This was the grossest part, so have a trash bag handy. Then I flipped the chicken over, opened it up, and pressed firmly to flatten. You may hear a bit of a pop.
Now we are ready to season and roast. I created a Peruvian-inspired spice paste as an homage to rotisserie chicken. Rub the spice paste allll over (including under the skin, careful not to tear so that you get that crispy skin) and roast at 450. Every oven cooks differently, so the best way to know that your chicken is done is to use a meat thermometer. It’s ready when the temp reads 150 at the thickest part of the breast.
Peruvian Spiced Spatchcocked Chicken
This addictive Peruvian-inspired spice rub is reminiscent of rotisserie chicken. By spatchcocking (butterflying) the chicken, you get faster, more even cooking, which leads to perfectly cooked white and dark meat.
- 3-4 lb chicken, giblets removed
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
To spatchcock the chicken:
Place the chicken with the backbone facing up. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut along one side of the backbone until the chicken completely opens. Repeat along the other side of the backbone to remove.
Turn the chicken over so that the breast is facing up and press down to flatten. You may feel a pop if you press hard enough.
For the recipe:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil, and cover the foil lined sheet with a wire cooling rack.
Mix all ingredients, except chicken, together in a small bowl to form a spice paste.
Rub the spice paste all over the chicken to coat, including under the skin. To gently separate the skin, look for an opening at the top of the breast and wiggle your finger in between the skin and the meat, careful not to break.
Transfer to the baking sheet contraption and roast for 40-50 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 150 degrees at the thickest part of the breast and juices run clear.
Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve and serve with chimichurri, hot sauce, or just go full caveman.
Every oven cooks differently, so the most accurate way of telling when your chicken is done is by using a meat thermometer.