How to Spatchcock a Chicken

  • By: Elizabeth Farmer
  • Date: January 29, 2017
  • Time to read: 2 min.

How to Spatchcock a Chicken

Spatchcocking is a useful and easy to learn chicken preparation technique. The end result is a chicken that has been opened out and made flatter. When the chicken is made flatter you have the advantage of the chicken cooking a great deal quicker than a whole bird would. This is a perfect technique for cooking a chicken on the barbecue. Also, because more skin will be exposed to the heat you end up with plenty of crispy skin, compared to cooking a trussed whole chicken in the traditional way. Personally, I just love have some crispy skin when I eat chicken.

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Here is the method I use to spatchcock a chicken. This method is also known as butterflying because the chicken is flattened so it rather looks like a butterfly with open wings once the process has been completed.

I like to use the small cheap and cheerful chickens from my local Co-op that are on sale at the moment for £7.50 for two. They weight about 1.5kg each, I find these smaller chickens are much easier to spatchcock than a large chicken. I find cooking the two chickens this way gives me 8 meal sized portions and I get to keep and freeze the leftover bones to make bone broth at a later date.

Spatchcocking requires a sturdy pair of poultry shears or strong kitchen scissors.


This method is very easy but quite difficult to explain so I have added some photograph at the end of this post. I hope these will help to make the process clearer.

  1. Remove the chicken from the packaging and take off any trussing.
  2. Turn the chicken over onto it’s breast side and have the parsons nose pointing towards you.
  3. Take the poultry shears or scissors and cut either side of the spine.
  4. The spine can then be removed and used to make bone broth.
  5. Turn the chicken over and flatten it out by pressing the breast with your hands.
  6. The chicken is now ready to cook.

Once the spatchcocking process has been completed I then use the chicken to make a variety of recipes. Most of the recipes involve making a tasty marinade, letting the chicken sit in the marinade overnight and then either roasting in the oven or in the summer cooking on the BBQ.

Spatchcock Chicken Recipes Coming Soon

Easy Jamaican Chicken

Piri Piri Chicken

Poultry Shears

Here are some poultry shears or tough kitchen scissors that I would recommend if you want to make spatchcocking a quick and easy way to prepare a chicken.

OXO Good Grips Spring-Loaded Poultry Shears, BlackOXO Good Grips Spring-Loaded Poultry Shears, BlackGelindo Kitchen Scissors - Heavy Duty Stainless Steel- Spring Loaded Shears - Sharp Blade- Safety Clip- Rust Free- Comfortable Handle- Great for Poultry, Fish, Chicken, Beef, BBQ, Herbs & PlasticHeavy Duty Stainless Steel Kitchen Scissors Great for PoultryWISLIFE Culinary Scissors - Best Kitchen Shears for Poultry, Seafood, Scallop, Herb, ScissoringKitchen Shears for Poultry, Seafood, Scallop, Herb, Scissoring



Poultry Shears

Trussed Chicken Straight Out of the Packaging

Chicken Trussed Before Spatchcocking

First Cut Along the Side of the Spine

Cutting by the Chicken Backbone

Second Cut on the Other Side of the Spine

Cutting Through the Second Side of the Chicken Backbone

The Spine Removed

Chicken with Backbone Removed

Flatten the Chicken out with your Hands

Use the Palm to Flatten Out the Chicken

Completed Spatchcock Chicken

Completed spatchcock chicken

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