Perfectly Spatchcocked


I was recently at a party where someone asked me “What is the benefit to…what is it you call…where you cut the chicken in half and flatten it?” Ah yes! Spatchcocking. One of my favorite words and definitely my favorite way to roast a bird. So much that I even spatchcocked yesterday’s Thanksgiving turkey! You can fit a large bird more easily in a galley oven when it’s spatchcocked.


There are so many reasons why spatchcocking is the best way to cook a whole chicken. It’s the only way I’ll grill a chicken, especially over charcoal. The cavity takes the direct heat, not the delicate meat, so the meat grills evenly at a slower temperature, keeping in its juices. It’s the same in a Force 10 oven or similar galley stoves where the hot flame is directly below the roasting pan. And one of my favorite reasons for spatchcocking is the leftovers. When you remove the backbone, you don’t have all those tiny spinal bones to pick through in your stew pot.

Spatchcocking? What the heck is spatchcocking anyway? It basically means “butterflying” the chicken. And we’ll show you how….


Preheat your oven to 400º. With a very sharp knife make deep slices on both sides of the spine. Then using your kitchen scissors (we’ll call them “galley scissors”) cut through the bones along the spine.


Lift out the backbone and keep iced for crab bait. Or toss. Or save for your stock pot. Removing the backbone is my personal preference however some cooks just cut right through the middle of the spine.


Open the chicken and there you have it. You can see how placing this directly over a fire or hot flame only the inside cavity will get the burning heat, not the delicate skin and meat.


Flatten onto a pan and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Or with my favorite, a little truffle oil and truffle salt. Pop into the oven and roast for about 50 minutes until browned and juices run clear when poked with a knife into the thigh.


Tonight we are serving our chicken with a side of gnocchi that’s been cooked in tomatoes and garlic, reduced to a sauce. Then finished with a sprinkling of fresh tarragon.


We guarantee you’ll love this chicken and have a new appreciation for spatchcocking.

3 thoughts on “Perfectly Spatchcocked

  1. Pingback: Galley PiratesDirty Bird

  2. One of my favorite chicken recipes is “chicken under brick”. It’s Tuscan-you flatten the chicken( as you did) simple marinade-then do in skillet with a lid that I put 20lbs of Chucks free weights on to sear and cook. Awesome

    • We’ve got to try that! I’ve seen that done on a salt block too. I may have to get my old salt block out. My captain HATES it when I bring THAT on board! Happy cruising. Best wishes to Naia.

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