What the heck does it mean to “spatchcock” something?

Also known as butterflied chicken, the term “spatchcock” is thought to be a 17th century Irish shorthand for “dispatching the cock”; meaning to open a chicken carcass in order to cook it. This technique involves splitting the chicken by removing the backbone so you can flatten it, resulting in cooking more quickly and evenly with crispy flavorful skin.



Yield: 4 Servings

1 whole chicken, 4 pounds (approx.), defrosted & patted dry


  • 1 T brown sugar 
  • 2 ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp allspice


  • ½ stick (1/4 cup) butter
  • 1 Tbs minced garlic
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt



  1. Spatchcock Technique: With poultry shears or kitchen scissors and chicken breast side down, cut along one side of the backbone and then the other. Remove the back bone and flip the bird over. Press down on the center until you hear a pop and it lies somewhat flat. 
  2. Mix the dry rub ingredients in a small bowl. Spread the rub all over the chicken. Place on a baking pan and refrigerate, skin side up for 2-24 hours. 
  3. Mix baste ingredients in a small bowl with a basting brush. Set aside. 
  4. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Roast the bird until the juices run clear, approximately 40 – 50 minutes. 150º internal temperature. 
  5. Alternately, heat the grill and place the bird on the grill grate when the coals are hot. Baste every 5 minutes; this adds an extra dimension of lemony deliciousness. Flip at 20 minutes and continue cooking until 160º internal temperature.
  6. Remove from the oven or grill, cover the bird with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.