How to spatchcock a Chicken

How to spatchcock a Chicken by Chris Jones, our Head of Food & Drink Apprenticeships

A spatchcocked chicken cooks faster and more evenly. The increased surface area is able conduct heat much faster than that of a whole bird.

Spatchcocking also exposes more of the skin to the heat which results in more crisp skin. You know we all like our crisp skin.

The nature of the flattened out bird gives us much more surface area to work with. No more fighting with the cavity. Consider this extra area an expanded palette for your flavor masterpiece. More area for rubs, sauces and other seasonings.

A whole chicken saves money. It’s much less expensive to buy a whole chicken than the sum of its parts

Step 1:

Rinse the whole chicken, inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. Place the chicken, breast-side down, on a steady cutting board. You’ll need a pair of kitchen shears or a sharp knife. If using a knife, be sure it’s sharp! A dull knife will fight you and there’s a good chance you’ll get cut.

Step 2:

Begin by cutting along the right of the backbone from the neck to the tail.

Step 3:

Next, cut along the left side of the backbone, just as you did on the right side.

Step 4:

Flip the bird over and force it open like a book. Traditionally, this breastbone is removed by cutting down both sides of it with a sharp paring knife.
Another option at this point is to completely remove the entire breastbone with a knife or scissors the same way you did with the backbone. What this will do is give you two chicken halves, or a “split spatch”.

Step 5:

Turn the Chicken back over and push down in the centre. Now, you’re ready to cook!


Classic Chicken Spatchcock Recipe by Chris Bason, our Head of Hospitality Apprenticeships

  • 1 whole chicken
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • 55g Butter
  • 15g parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Once cooked, brush with melted butter, sprinkle with parmesan and grill to crisp.

Chicken Spatchcock with piri-piri marinade by Chris Bason, our Head of Hospitality Apprenticeships

• 1 whole chicken
• 4 red chillies, chopped (deseeded if you don’t like it too spicy)
• 2 tsp sweet paprika
• 3 garlic cloves crushed
• 2 tbsp chopped parsley
• 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
• Or jar of readymade piri-piri marinade sauce
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• lemon wedges and Tabasco sauce (optional), to serve

Put the chillies and garlic in a food processor with a good pinch of salt. Blend to a paste, add the paprika, vinegar, parsley and olive oil. Mix well and marinade over the chicken, rub in well. Leave to marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight if possible.

To cook in the oven, heat to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and cook for 35-40 mins on a baking tray. To char the skin, grill for a further 5-10 mins. Serve with lemon wedges, and Tabasco if you like it hot.

Always probe the thickest part of the joint to achieve a 75C core temperature to ensure food safety.
Garnish with sprigs of fresh watercress

Preparing and cooking Chicken develops skills learnt by apprentices when working towards Food & Drink Manufacturing Apprenticeships & Hospitality Apprenticeships. For more information about Apprenticeships contact Cambrian Training Company at or Tel: 01938 555893.