I love cooking a whole roast chicken. They’re so tender and juicy, with a crispy brown skin, and everyone can have their favorite part. But I didn’t always feel that way. It used to be that I could never get the skin to be brown and crispy and when the thighs would finally be done the breast was overcooked.
Not anymore. I’ve solved all of those problems! And, the best part is that you only have to use two ingredients: a whole chicken and salt. Everything else is optional.
Now, to make a whole bird cook evenly requires a good pair of poultry shears, aka kitchen scissors, to spatchcock the bird. Spatchcock? Yes, spatchcock. It’s a simple process of cutting out the spine so the bird can be laid flat and thereby cook much more evenly.
Steps for Spatchcocking A Bird:
- Remove any giblets and whatnots from inside the bird. Set aside.
- With the bird laying spine up, use the poultry shears to cut the skin along the spine from tail to neck. Repeat for the other side of the spine. I do this to mark where I’m going to cut through the meat.
- Starting at the tail, cut through the meat alongside the spine all the way up. You will have to cut through the ribs, which is quite easy. They are sharp though! Repeat on the other side of the spine. Set spine aside with the other bits.
- (Optional, but recommended): Cut off the wing tips at the first joint. They have a tendency to burn.
- Turn the bird over and use each hand to push down on each breast firmly so the sternum weakens and the bird lays flat. You can also use a knife to score a line in the sternum so it’s easier to break.
Spines, necks, and wingtips all go in a bag in the freezer for making stock. Organs are cooked and fed to the chickens (the cannibals!).
Now that the bird is spatchcocked you can start cooking!
The Easiest, Crispiest Roast Chicken
One whole chicken
Pepper (optional, but delicious)
Root vegetables (optional, but highly recommended if you don’t have a covered roasting pan)
Preheat oven to 450F.
Pat spatchcocked chicken dry. Lay flat in dish. I use a 3 qt casserole dish, but a roasting pan works as well.
Optional: Place washed, peeled, and chopped root vegetables around the chicken. I use carrots and potatoes. If you are using an uncovered dish then you should really, really, really add the vegetables as they will soak up the grease and keep your oven from being splattered.
Sprinkle salt over the whole bird. I use two big pinches – I would estimate about 1-2 teaspoons at most. Sprinkle with pepper if desired.
Bake for 45-60 minutes or until thighs are done. If veggies were added be sure to stir them around every 30 minutes or so.