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sPATCHCOCK 101

(No.... this isn't R-rated)

SPATCHCOCKING is a technique used to open up a game bird (chicken or turkeys are prime targets) in order to cook it more evenly in less time.  I get a little giggly every time I say "spatchcock" - I suppose if I had said it back in the day at Star of the Sea, I might have had to go to confession!

If you are a fan of lacquered or crispy skin, the high temperature typically used to cook spatchcocked chicken will deliver fantastically browned skin and an evenly cooked bird.  You'll be a pro at this technique if you have 2 things:  a good pair of poultry shears and CPR skills (you'll see why below).

  POULTRY SHEARS   If you cook tons of birds, these Jaws-of-Life shears are a must, especially if you impatient like me, and want your bird cooked quickly, and with crispy skin.  Mine are by  Wustof , and if I'm lucky, will be passed down through several generations.  Simple kitchen scissors can't do this job, and using a knife is simply too hazardous.

POULTRY SHEARS

If you cook tons of birds, these Jaws-of-Life shears are a must, especially if you impatient like me, and want your bird cooked quickly, and with crispy skin.  Mine are by Wustof, and if I'm lucky, will be passed down through several generations.  Simple kitchen scissors can't do this job, and using a knife is simply too hazardous.

  INSTRUCTIONS:   1.  Rinse and dry your bird and put it on a clean surface, breast side down (you can use the "pope's nose" as a guide - it should be up, as in this photo).

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.  Rinse and dry your bird and put it on a clean surface, breast side down (you can use the "pope's nose" as a guide - it should be up, as in this photo).

 2. Starting on the right, cut straight up parallel to the backbone until you get to the top.  You can cut away any blobs of fat that get in your way and discard them.

2. Starting on the right, cut straight up parallel to the backbone until you get to the top.  You can cut away any blobs of fat that get in your way and discard them.

 3.  Now do the same on the left side, cutting from pope's nose to the neck.

3.  Now do the same on the left side, cutting from pope's nose to the neck.

 
 4.  Save that backbone and store in a freezer bag with other bones to make stock.   Now flip your bird over.

4.  Save that backbone and store in a freezer bag with other bones to make stock.   Now flip your bird over.

 5.  Make an indentation with your finger about a third of the way down the breastbone.

5.  Make an indentation with your finger about a third of the way down the breastbone.

 6.  Here's the last step, cracking the sternum so the bird lies flat.  7.  Using your best CPR technique, put the palm of one hand over the indentation, top it with your other hand and exert downward force until you feel (and hear) the crack.      

6.  Here's the last step, cracking the sternum so the bird lies flat.

7.  Using your best CPR technique, put the palm of one hand over the indentation, top it with your other hand and exert downward force until you feel (and hear) the crack.

 

 

Congratulations, you have spatchcocked your bird.  For best baking put your chicken on a cooling rack (sprayed with cooking spray), atop a sheet pan (lined with foil) for baking.  Turn her legs inward so they are "knock-kneed" (as in the photo above), and tuck her wings into her sides.

Season the chicken's underside and topside with salt, pepper, olive oil and whatever else you love.  Roast it at 450 for 20 minutes, and then 375 for another 20-30 minutes until a thermometer put into the thigh reads 155 - 160.  Remove and tent with foil for 10-15 minutes before carving and serving.