To spatch or not to spatch?

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by jmardock, Jan 24, 2014.

  1. That is the question.

    I am new to smoking. I will be doing my first smoke on my analog MES tomorrow. I'm going to smoke 2 whole chickens. I am going to brine them overnight. I may put a beer can in the cavity, but if I don't, should I spatch them, or leave them whole? Pros & cons? What is the approximate smoking time difference?
  2. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I love to spatch. It speeds cooking time and lets the bird cook more evenly. Not sure on the time differences between the beer can chicken and the spatched chicken, but the spatched one should take between 70 and 90 minutes at 325˚. One thing, if you're brining, it's a good idea to thoroughly dry the skin and if you have the time place in the bottom of your fridge uncovered for a few hours to overnight. This will further dry the skin and give it a much better texture.
  3. once i spatched i never looked back, it also presents really well once done.
  4. Do you flip them at all?
  5. I haven't, if you want good crispy skin just cook at like 350 or so. or you could thru it skin side down on a hot grill for a few after smoking it.
  6. What is spatching?
  7. Spatchcocking, removing the back bone of a chicken and flattening the bird.

  8. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I take it a step further. I remove the backbone, keelbone, wishbone and ribs. So when it comes time to carve the breasts are boneless and there's nothing but skin to cut through to remove the leg quarters.
    snorkelinggirl likes this.
  9. Maybe this will be my weekend to Spatch a couple of yardbirds. I'm guessing one will fill a Bradley Rack, which I really like in my offset smoker main pit. Also have a pair for the upright when I cold smoke.  I guess I'll brine in salt and some Atkins friendly spices, Any other suggestions? 
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2014
  10. Do you spatch before or after brining?
  11. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I don't brine my chickens, but you can do it before or after. It is a bit easier to fit multiple birds into a container after they are spatched.

    You can flip your bird if you want on a hot grill to sear it, but during the smoking process it isnt needed.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2014
  12. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Either way is fine, though it's generally a little easier to do beforehand. Chicken is a little less slippery.
  13. Thank you all for the tips. Looking forward to my first smoke!
  14. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great idea to remove the wishbone and ribs as well. I've been making a lot of grilled spatchy chicken recently but had only been removing the keel bone and backbone, and then struggling a bit with the wishbone when piecing the chicken apart. I'll try it your way next time, sounds like it will be a lot easier at serving time. Thanks for sharing the suggestion!!
  15. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hey Case,

    I owe you a debut of gratitude with your spatchcock chicken posts. Your posts (especially the smokin-hot-spatchy one) inspired me to try spatchcock chicken for the first time about a month ago. My husband loved it so much I've had to make spatchcock chicken once a week since then. This technique is definitely one of the best things I've learned on SMF. Thanks for your awesome, inspiring, and instructional posts!!

    Have a great day!
  16. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks Clarissa! With chicken being cheap we have it once a week too. Sometimes more. Spatching is IMHO the best way to cook whole birds. I'm a bit lazy though and unlike you and MD I only remove the back bone most times. On special occasions I'll remove the others.
  17. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I just cut em in two. Less work and they turn out Perfect every time.

  18. I now spatch them unless I'm using a beer can in them.
  19. Thank you for the tips everyone. I did my 1st smoke this weekend. I spatch'd 2 chickens, brined them overnight, let them sit in the refrigerator a couple hours to dry out, added dry rub and smoked them with a mixture of pecan & cherry in my MES just under 2 hours. We had company over and everyone agreed they turned out amazing. Here are a few pics:

    I had already taken the smaller of the 2 out when I took this picture.

    I forgot to take the final picture until I had already cut the quarters off of one of them.

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