citrus spatchcock chicken

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photograph by Jeffrey Placzek

~ spatchcock chicken ~

My friend Shelly introduced me to the idea of cooking a “spatchcock” or “butterflied” chicken at home. This method of cooking a chicken is so amazing, I’m quite sure we’ll never go back to the old way of roasting a chicken again. The poultry cooks more evenly and much faster, resulting in a juicier, more flavorful bird. Try it and see for yourself.

Jeff and I made up the marinade and he did the rest while I was enjoying a creativity night over at my friend Clare’s studio. This is, hands down, the best roasted chicken we’ve ever made!

To Spatchcock a Chicken:

Using a sharp cooking shears, remove the backbone of the chicken. (save this for making poultry stock.) Flip the chicken over and press down on the breastbone until the chicken cracks and lays flat.

Place bird in a large ziplock bag. Squeeze citrus juice all over bird. A combination of orange, lemon and lime is amazing. Add olive oil, salt, pepper, and freshly pressed garlic. Seal bag and allow to marinate for 3-24 hours.

Place chicken on a cooking rack over a jellyroll pan, roasting the citrus peels alongside the chicken. Roast at 375 degrees F for 50 minutes or until juices run clear.

Remember to save the bones for chicken stock.



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  26 comments for “citrus spatchcock chicken

  1. Jennifer | Mother Thyme
    February 14, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    I have never cooked a chicken like this before but you have inspired me to try! I bet it is juicy and delicious!

    • Melissa
      February 14, 2012 at 11:27 pm

      You’re going to love it! This simple change makes all the difference! xo

  2. February 15, 2012 at 8:34 am

    I’ve seen it cooked this way before but didn’t realize it had a name. It looks beautiful and I bet the combination of citrus flavors made this dish incredibly light and tasty. Thanks for the tip!

    • Melissa
      February 15, 2012 at 9:01 am

      You’re welcome! I had no idea how good it would be, but my friend Shelly swears by it and makes a chicken like this every week. I’ll never go back to the old way of roasting a chicken again 🙂 Thanks for commenting! xo

  3. Amy
    February 21, 2012 at 2:31 am

    looks tasty!!Thanks for sharing

    • Melissa
      February 21, 2012 at 6:58 am

      you’re welcome! 😉

  4. March 29, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Your chicken looks beautiful! I think that you have convinced me to actually try this method since everyone else I know seems to love it 🙂 Your recipe looks yummy (as always 🙂

    • Melissa
      March 29, 2012 at 8:35 am

      Thanks so much! I bet you’ll really like it. The only way we roast chickens in our house. 🙂 xo

  5. June 18, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    I will be trying this tomorrow- it looks excellent, and I can’t wait to give it a try!

    • Melissa
      June 19, 2012 at 6:49 am

      Hello Ruth! Thanks for stopping by 🙂 enjoy the recipe! xo

  6. Robin
    June 19, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Whats a jellyroll pan? And if I don’t have one, what else would work?

    • Melissa
      June 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      Hi Robin! a jellyroll pan is a big baking sheet with a little one inch wall on it. essentially a big cookie sheet 🙂

  7. Victoria
    September 15, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Does there happen to be a video demo of how to cut the chicken? This looks so delicious! Thanks!

    • Victoria
      September 15, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      Never mind! I found some on YouTube! Should have known! LOL!

      • Victoria
        September 15, 2012 at 7:28 pm

        How to Spatchcock a Chicken

        • Melissa
          September 15, 2012 at 8:00 pm

          thanks for posting this very informative link! 🙂

          • Victoria
            September 16, 2012 at 12:12 am

            You’re welcome! I’m very visual and need a video! :)))

          • Melissa
            September 16, 2012 at 8:26 am


      • Melissa
        September 15, 2012 at 7:59 pm


    • Melissa
      September 15, 2012 at 7:59 pm

      Hi Victoria! you’re going to LOVE it! xo

      • Victoria
        September 16, 2012 at 12:13 am

        I’m sure I will. It looks soooo delicious!
        Thanks for posting the recipe! 🙂

        • Melissa
          September 16, 2012 at 8:26 am

          sure! xo

  8. Karsten
    April 14, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Also the way you cut the chicken for grill

    • Melissa
      April 15, 2016 at 12:41 pm

      yes, we prepare chicken for the grill like this too 🙂

  9. Mickie Young
    April 14, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    This is also great on the grill!

    • Melissa
      April 15, 2016 at 12:41 pm


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