HOW TO… spatchcock a chicken
Brilliant for the barbie, and the perfect way for pimping up your chicken this summer, we asked Cornwall-based Etherington’s Meats how we go about spatchcocking chicken…
“Spatchcocking is a simple butchery skill that removes the backbone of the bird allowing it to lay flat and be evenly exposed to the heat, which all but guarantees crisp, juicy results every time and means faster cooking methods, such as grilling and barbecuing, can be utilised.
As always when cooking meat, quality is key. Before you start, pick the best bird possible. Small chickens (no more than 1.2kg) work best. Make sure there’s no bruises or dry patches on the skin, it should be plump to the touch, and when pinched, quickly retain its original shape.
Spatchcocking is a great way of locking in flavour, as the meat is kept on the bone when cooking. For a delicious dinner, try studding the bird with garlic and herbs before grilling to create a feast for both eyes and stomach.”
Etherington Meat’s guide to spatchcocking a chicken:
- To start, place the bird on a board and remove any string that has been used to truss the legs. Then, cut off the wing tips and the flap of skin at the neck end (don’t discard them as they are useful for making stock).
- Place the bird breast-side down, and with the cavity and drumstick ends pointing towards you, use a sharp knife or good poultry scissors to cut down either side of the parson’s nose.
- Continue to cut all the way along either side of the backbone and remove it.
- Score the breastbone lightly. Although this isn’t essential, this will help to flatten the bird.
- Place the chicken skin-side up and place the thighs and drumsticks inward. Press down hard on the breast bone with the palm of your hand to flatten.
- Using two skewers push the first one diagonally through the thickest part of the thigh, under the breastbone and up through the other side. Repeat on the other side, creating a cross with the skewers.
- Cook until the internal temperature reads between 75 and 80C.
Tagged barbecue, butchers, chicken, Cornwall, Etherington, Meats, Spatchcock, top tips