A spatchcock chicken is breaded and oven “fried” to crispy goodness. Less mess than a regular fried chicken recipe, and much healthier, too.
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder (NOT garlic salt)
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp coarse black pepper, divided
- a 4 to 6 lb chicken
- Preheat oven to 400º. Get a broiling pan ready (alternatively, you can use an oven-safe cookie-cooling rack placed on a large rimmed cookie sheet).
- Melt the butter in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add the panko rumbs, garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon of the kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of the black pepper. Stir to combine. Allow the crumbs to get a slight tan, stirring occasionally for around 10 minutes. Some crumbs will be darker than others. The darkest should be the color of cinnamon, the lightest as pale as straw. Scrape the crumbs into a bowl so that they stop cooking.
- Meanwhile, use sharp kitchen shears to cut the backbone out of the chicken (this is called spatchcocking. See how easy it is to do here. Be sure to save the backbone along with the neck and organs for stock). Turn the chicken breast side up and push down on the breasts to flatten the bird so that it will cook more evenly (sometimes it won’t flatten well and so I fold it in half such that the skin of one breast touches the skin of the other. Then I lay it down again and it stays nice and flat for me).
- Turn the chicken breast-side down and sprinkle the skinless top with ½ teaspoon of the kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of the black pepper. Flip it over. Scoop the breadcrumbs onto the skin side of the bird, one spoonful at a time. Smoosh them down with your fingers after each addition so that they spread out covering the whole skin and so that their butteriness makes them stick to the bird and to each other. You may not need all the crumbs (there are extra because I knew you would taste some after they finished toasting, and also to account for the ones that will inevitably fall off as you’re spooning them on).
- Slide both hands under the bird and carefully lift it onto your broiling pan. Don’t worry if some crumbs fall off: You can add a few more if you have some left. If not, no worries.
- Put the chicken in the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350º F. and cook until a thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken reads 165º F. Be sure that the thermometer isn’t touching a bone. ** Note: If the crumbs start to get too brown towards the end of the cooking time, tent the bird with foil.
- Carve into pieces. Watch a very helpful video from Food & Drink showing how to carve the chicken into pieces and also how to test for doneness. Note that I like to additionally carve each breast into to pieces by cutting it in half width-wise (yielding two plump square-ish pieces, not two long rectangular pieces, from each breast).
** The cooking time will vary dependent on the size of your chicken. It’s best to use a cooking thermometer to determine doneness.