So you never spatchcocked a bird? Don't worry, it's not what you think! Spatchcocking is a way of turning a hollow, bulky piece of meat (bird) into a compressed, flattened piece of meat. BUT WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT??? Easy..a bird is basically a bulky, empty cavity similar to this....
It cooks unevenly and takes a while to cook. If only the bird was more of a condensed mass...like this
It would cook evenly, and quicker. Both sides could be seared in order to lock in juices....not to mention the WOW factor that will impress family and friends. The first few times (I'm not going to lie) you will think it not worth the time...but, be patient and practice. It takes me about 8 minutes to spatchcock a large hen.
1. Place chicken backbone side up.
2. Using kitchen or poultry shears, make a cut along each side of the backbone. Remove backbone. I freeze mine until I have enough to make a good chicken stock.
3. Using a sharp knife, make a cut straight down the middle of the breastbone. Now, bend the bird completely backwards until you hear a pop. The breastbone is now exposed. Work your fingers underneath the breastbone, pull upward until the breastbone breaks. Pull it out. This takes a little practice.
4. I like to loosen the skin from the meat. I then will put compound butter under the skin and work it into every part on the bird.
A compound butter is simply your favorite herbs and flavorings mixed into a stick of butter. I use
a food processor. Lemon zest is a must! Roll in butter up in a piece of wax paper. Refrigerate.
When the butter has hardened, unwrap and cut into pats.
5. Using a knife, make a small slit on each side of the bottom of the bird.
6. Tuck the right leg into the right side slit. Do the same with the left. Bend the wings backwards and tuck them behind its back. I use metal skewers to ensure that the bird stays tucked
7. Use a dry rub on each side of the bird. I like this recipe:
8. Before throwing that bad boy onto the smoker, grill, or barbecue- rub both sides with oil. This will ensure a crispy skin and will keep the bird from drying up will cooking. I use canola oil that I have infused with red chiles.
9. I like to barbecue it over indirect heat...about 320-350 degrees. The bird is still juicy and the skin is crispy! Breast side down for 2 hrs...then up for 2 hrs. If you want, place it back onto its breast 5 minutes before serving to make sure the skin is crispy. For extra WOW appeal, you can cover a brick with aluminum foil and place it unto the bird while cooking. (Bird Under Brick.) This will speed up cooking times slightly.
NOTE: If you like to use a mop sauce, make sure it contains an amount of oil so that the skin doesn't become soggy or leathery.
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