Butterflied Chicken

Roast chicken is something that I usually reserve for “special” occasions.  Like when we have company or I have more than 45 minutes from the time I walk in the door to get food in my belly.  But it doesn’t have to be like that.

Really, it doesn’t.

There’s no reason why Tuesday night dinner can’t be just as “special” as Sunday supper.  Of course, having guests at our table is special but so is any reason that gets us eating dinner at the dining room table and not in front of the Tivo.

I really think we need to institute a “no tv until after dinner” rule at our house.  I know it would cut down on the amount of food that somehow fails to make it from the plate to the mouth and ends up on the floor.  Of course, this would in no way impact the “breakfast is eaten in front of the tv” rule.  There’s no way I can balance my need for steel cut oatmeal and Good Morning American in HD separately.  They are a combined sport at BAH.

But I digress.  Want to enjoy roast chicken any night of the week?  Then I highly recommend you butterfly it.  Or, as I originally typed, flutterby it.  You could take it a step further and put a hot brick (wrapped in foil) or hot cast iron skillet on top of the chicken while it cooks.  Once you remove the backbone, a whole world of possibilities opens up to you.

Butterflied Chicken

Adapted from Jenna’s Everything Blog

BAH Note: I have to be honest, I had the man at the market cut the back out of the chicken for me.  Yes, he looked at me funny when I asked…I think he was worried I would want him to weigh the chicken without the backbone…but the chicken went into the back completely intact and came out spineless.  That backbone is currently sitting in my freezer waiting for me to try my hand at some chicken stock. I imagine a flattened chicken would be quite easy to brine for some extra moist meat.  Next time, I might give that a try.

  • 1 whole roasting chicken (not a fryer), approximately 3 pounds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 lemon, cut into quarters

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.

Remove the giblets from the chicken and place the chicken breast side down on a cutting board.  Carefully cut along one side of the backbone then along the other and remove the backbone.

Turn the chicken over and firmly press on the breastbone to break it and flatten the chicken.  Dry the chicken well with paper towels and transfer to the sheet pan.

Place the rosemary, garlic, and lemon under the chicken and coat the skin with olive oil.  Season generously with salt and pepper and roast for 45 minutes to an hour until the skin is golden brown and the meat registers 160 to 165 degrees.

Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving.

{printable recipe}

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6 Responses to Butterflied Chicken

  1. Brick chicken ROCKS. I’m with you sista, no reason why our Tuesday meal can’t be as snazzy as our Sunday roast. Great meal, one of my favorites.

  2. JenniferA says:

    Here’s my too for not eating dinner in front of the TV – buy new living room furniture! Works like a charm. We got ours in June & my husband is still wondering if we are ever eating in there again. Heh.

    P.S. – a nice pair of kitchen shears and you’ll be removing backbones like a pro.

  3. I’m with you–let the butcher do the dirty work! Looks great!

  4. This is one of Noel’s favorite chicken techniques…I think mainly because this is also called spatchcocking, and he just likes saying that ;-)

  5. Jenna says:

    Nice picture! That’s a gorgeous chicken, alright. I’ll have to try the brick/cast iron method sometime soon . . . thanks for reminding me that I need to make this pronto. And it’s awesome that your meat guy did the spine removal for you–though it’s actually kind of fun to cut it out.

  6. Beth said it first but I also get to…wondering if you had heard the word spatchcock? I think I first heard Michael Ruhlman use that term and it just has an old kind of charm to it; it’s from the 18th century…guess they were dispatching the cock!

    In any event, your chicken looks lovely and I’m betting you would love something warm like this in Alaska! Heck…i’ts been chilly enough here I would love it too.

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