This is one of the most flavorful chicken recipes you will ever try! This Spatchcocked Chicken gets brined for a couple of hours (which turns its meat really juicy), then gets marinated for 2 hours before it gets roasted on a rack.
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What's Spatchcocking A Chicken?
Spatchcocking a chicken means removing its main backbone and cooking it flat open. It's the same as butterflying a chicken. This helps the chicken cook more evenly. It also helps the chicken cook much quicker than roasting it whole and uncut for example.
Brining Chicken For A Real Juicy Meat
Brining is what keeps the meat juicy and tender while it gets roasted or baked. It also helps to season the meat to its core.
HOW TO BRINE: You need to make the brine and let it cool first before you add the chicken to it. To make this brine you need water, white wine, kosher salt (not table salt), honey, bay leaves, garlic cloves, and a sliced lemon. Add all these to a large cooking pot and bring to a simmer, stirring until the salt dissolves. And ta-da! the brine is ready. But needs to cool down first because we don't want to cook the chicken at this point.
COOKING TIP: Warm brines are used for smaller cuts of meat. Chicken fillet, legs, drumsticks etc. They are used to brine something quickly in 30 mins to 1 hour before cooking. To use a warm brine let it cool down slightly, for 15 minutes, before adding the meat to it.
Once the brine has cooled down completely, submerge the chicken in it and refrigerate overnight. Or you can leave it in the brine for up to 24 hours if you like.
The downside when it comes to brine is that it softens the meat. Due to adding and locking moisture to it. Therefore, don't expect a crispy skin on this roast chicken. If that's what you are aiming for, skip the brine altogether and simply marinate overnight instead.
The marinade for this Spatchcocked chicken is made with various spices and herbs that are turned into a thick paste with the addition of lemon juice and olive oil.
Once you rub it all over the Spatchcocked (butterflied chicken) and under its skin as well, leave it to work its magic for about 1-2 hours at room temperature. During this time the chicken also gets to room temperature. So there isn't a sudden swift in temperature when added to the hot oven, which is something that alters meat texture.
Roasting A Spatchcocked Chicken
I prefer to roast Spatchcocked chicken on a rack instead of laying it on the pan. This way it's pretty similar to an oven-grilled chicken as it allows the fat to drain off the chicken. Another bonus to this is that you get a better idea of when the chicken is cooked. If too many juices keep dripping from it, it means it isn't cooked yet.
But to keep your oven clean while doing this, use the rack of a roasting pan and cover the surface of the pan with aluminum foil. Or use your oven's rack and a sheet pan covered with foil underneath it. So the juices drop on the foil which you can discard afterward and you won't have to clean burned pan juices.
How Do I Know It's Ready?
To tell if the chicken is cooked and ready to come out of the oven check how much it is dripping. If it drips slowly it means it is done. If it drips too much it means it needs a few minutes longer. The safest and best way to ensure properly cooked and juicy meat is to use an instant-read thermometer. It should read 165°F / 74°C when inserted in the thickest part of the leg.
Resting The Meat
Is very important as it allows it to lock its juices. If you cut it right away all of the delicious juices that keep the meat moist and tender will run out of it. So let it stand as is, on the rack, outside of the oven for 15 minutes before cutting. And also keep in mind that the temperature will rise slightly inside the chicken during this time.
To finish off this chicken I like to brush it with a mixture of honey and lemon. I like the extra sweet and sour flavor kick it adds. But that's just a little bit of extra. You can skip it if you want, as it doesn't alter flavor too much. It just gives an extra shine to the chicken. Plus, you get to brush off the top of the chicken from all the over-browned little bits of the marinade.
Serve It With
Serve it like a Greek with dried oregano sprinkled on to it and fresh lemons to squeeze on top.
SIDES FOR SPATCHCOCKED CHICKEN:
- Classic Greek Salad
- Roasted Greek Potatoes Recipe With Feta Cheese & Oregano
- Marinated Tomato Salad With Herbs
- Marinated Cabbage & Carrot Salad
- Oven Baked Feta Stuffed Peppers
- Htipiti (Red Pepper & Feta Dip)
Spatchcocked Chicken Brined and Roasted
- 1.8 - 2 kilogram / 4 - 4 ½ pound whole chicken
For The Brine:
- 2 liters water
- ⅓ cup kosher salt
- 150 ml white wine
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 large garlic cloves
- 1 lemon sliced
For The Marinade:
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅓ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram or thyme
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice fresh
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
(Optional) For Glazing:
- 3 teaspoons lemon juice fresh
- 1 tablespoon honey
To Serve With:
- dried oregano
- 1-2 lemons cut in quarters
Make The Brine:
- Place all of the ingredients for the brine in a cooking pot and bring to a simmer. Stir for 1-2 minutes until salt dissolves.
- Remove from heat and let cool completely. Add the chicken to the cooled brine making sure the chicken is completely submerged. Then refrigerate overnight or from 8 to 24 hours.
Marinate The Chicken:
- Remove the chicken from the brine. Place it breast side down. Using kitchen scissors cut out the backbone of the chicken. Flip the chicken and with the palm of your hand press firmly over the breast bone to flatten the chicken.
- Tap the meat dry all over using paper towels.
- In a small mixing bowl mix together all of the ingredients for the marinade until thick paste forms. Rub it all over the chicken on both sides. Rub some under the skin of the breasts also.
- Marinate the chicken at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
Roast The Chicken:
- Preheat oven to 425°F / 220°C. NOTE: Make sure your oven is well-preheated to the desired temperature before adding the chicken.
- Season the skin of the chicken very lightly with some table salt and ground pepper.
- Place the chicken on your oven's rack or the rack of a roasting pan.
- If you are using the oven's rack place a sheet pan under it covered with foil. If using the roasting pan add also a piece of foil under it. Wet the pan a bit for the foil to stick in place.
- Roast the chicken for about 45 minutes. Or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the leg reads 165°F / 74°C.
- Remove from the oven and let the meat rest for 15 minutes before cutting.
(Optional) Add The Glazing:
- Mix together the honey and lemon juice.
- With a pastry brush, rub it all over the chicken removing any burned bits of the marinade paste.
- Serve sprinkled with dried oregano on top and fresh lemons to squeeze on top.
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