Tips From The Kitchen: Spatchcock Chicken

Looking for a new item to add to your Memorial day barbecue menu? Why not try a whole, grilled chicken? First, you’ll want to spatchcock. Yes, spatchcock – not a pirate term, but a cooking term where you remove the backbone of the bird and then open it like a book and press it flat.

If we haven’t sold you quite yet, here are the benefits of butterflying a whole chicken.

  • It’s easier to marinate.
  • It decreases the cook time.
  • It results in more uniform roasting or grilling, as opposed to a trying to grill a whole bird.
  • The skin is up and exposed to the heat so as it cooks, the skin becomes brown and crispy.
  • It is very easy to carve and serve to a large group.

Follow these simple steps to achieve perfectly grilled chicken with ease.

  1. Place the whole chicken, breast side down, on a clean cutting board.
  2. With a sharp pair of kitchen shears, cut along each side of the chicken’s backbone from the tail to the neck. The backbone can be discarded or saved to make stock.
  3. Turn the bird over, breast side up, and press to flatten the chicken. The keel bone may crack (this is the one that separates the two breasts), but that is fine.
  4. Tuck the two wings in, and your chicken is now prepped and ready to cook!
  5. If you are grilling, it may be easier to turn the chicken if the bird is cut in half – just use your shears to cut between the two chicken breasts, resulting in two equal halves of the chicken.
  6. Marinate in desired marinade or brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill sauces are delicious brushed on as well! Check out our large variety here:


While we are talking chicken, it is important to remember food safety. Chicken can harbor bacteria, so it is important to store and cook it correctly to prevent cross contamination with other foods.

  • When properly stored, the shelf life of chicken past the sell date is 1-2 days. Cooked chicken lasts about 7 days if stored properly. If you are not going to use the poultry within 2 days of the expiration date, it should be wrapped well and frozen.
  • Be sure to refrigerate as soon as possible. We like to place our poultry on a rimmed baking sheet and place on the lowest shelf in the refrigerator. This prevents any juices from dripping on other foods in the refrigerator.
  • Do not wash poultry in the sink – this just spreads the bacteria all over your sink area.
  • Have a clean work surface to work on and make sure other ingredients are not close enough to be contaminated.
  • Wash hands and utensils thoroughly.
  • Use a clean, sanitized cutting board and knife/kitchen shears solely for the poultry. Be sure to clean and sanitize the board and utensils once you are done with hot, soapy water. They could also be sanitized with a bleach solution (1 Tablespoon bleach to 1 gallon of water).
  • Make sure the poultry is brought to the correct temperature when cooked – white meat should be 165°F and dark meat should be 175°F.
  • Remove the meat from the heat source when it is within 5° of the final cook temperature. Cover with foil and allow to rest 10 minutes before carving and serving.

Happy grilling!

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