Have you ever gone out to a restaurant and had the best chicken of your life, only to think to yourself why doesn’t my chicken taste this good?
Chicken is one of the most popular and readily available proteins in the world. Almost all cultures have their own classic Chicken dish. This is because chicken and eggs are both fantastic and renewable food sources. They are fairly easy to raise as well.
Beyond the fact that it’s readily available and easy to source, chicken is also simple to cook, right? Well this is both true and not true. Chicken is easy to cook and is extremely versatile, however chicken is also one of the easiest things to screw up. So what takes a chicken dish from being a boring weekday “1950s mom” meal and pushes into a gourmet experience? Texture!
If you think about all the good chicken you’ve ever eaten in your life it doesn’t matter what kind of meal it was if it was good chicken it was juicy and tender. So today I am going to explain how to use two simple techniques that will elevate your next chicken from simple to scrumptious. Why are rotisserie chickens so delicious? because they maintain their juices. So here are two ways to make your chicken both flavorful and juicy.
No this is not some dirty new move for the bedroom. This is the simple act of removing the spine of a bird. Simple? Really? Yes! Simple! I promise you, anyone can spatchcock a chicken, you can also use this technique for your Thanksgiving Turkey and cut your cooking time nearly in half. Its an easy technique that will allow you to make sure you cook your chicken evenly.
Have you ever roasted a chicken and tested the breast and it seems to be cooked then when you pull the chicken out the thigh meat is raw and bloody? Then to top it off you stick the chicken back in to finish cooking and suddenly the it becomes ridiculously dry. What happened? Well not only does dark meat take longer to cook, but when you pulled the chicken out to cut into it you removed that perfect layer of skin that was holding in the moisture that allows those juices to redistribute back into the meat when the chicken cools enough.
This simple technique will take 5 minutes and will keep that roasting blunder from being a problem.
Here’s the step by step:
Step 1. You need a whole chicken. (Here’s a tip when dealing with raw chicken. People are very afraid of raw chicken and for good reason, salmonella is no joke. But if you keep your chicken stored in the container you’ll be cooking it in you can keep the raw chicken juice from leaking on your counter or refrigerator.)
(Also when dealing with raw chicken for your countertop bleach will be your best friend.)
Step 2. Pull out the neck and giblets that may be in the chicken’s cavity and set aside in a container.
Step 3. Flip chicken over (breast-side down) and cut around the spine using sharp kitchen Shears. Set aside spine with giblet bowl, and clean out any other giblets.
Step 4. Flip your spineless chicken over and arrange it so the bones are down in the pan and the legs and breasts are right-side-up.
There’s your Spatchcocked Chicken.
Now to prepare it for cooking…
I mentioned two techniques to make your chicken taste gourmet… here’s the second… Butter-rub.
Fat is essential to any good food. But when roasting chicken using a butter rub will greatly improve the texture and flavor of your chicken. Using a butter rub on chicken is like buying poultry insurance. It adds flavor while keeping the chicken from drying out and will help brown the skin. So you end up with a beautiful finished product.
Here’s how to cook your spatchcocked chicken with a butter rub.
Step 1. Preheat oven to 375.
Step 2. Dry the chicken
Step 3. Rub butter on the chicken both on top and under the chicken skin. (Use 1 tbsp per pound of meat for chickens. Just an FYI This ratio doesn’t work the same for turkey.)
Step 4. Add salt, pepper and herbs.
Step 5. Cut an entire head of garlic in half and place under your chicken. (i used to place in the cavity of the chicken before I learned how to spatchcock a chicken so this mimics the same effect.
Step 6. Share a drink with your chicken! Add about a half cup of dry white wine.
Step 7. Put your chicken in the oven for about 45 minutes. Here’s another tip for those of you on a budget. I don’t have a convection oven so I store my stoneware in the oven and keep it in there when roasting food because I find that it distributes the heat a little better.
Step 8. Cook until chicken is about 160 internal temp. If your chicken didn’t brown as much as you would like, finish for 5-10 minutes under the broiler.
Check back for my roasted veggie recipe!