writer traveler photographer

Spatchcock what?

I learned a new word. Spatchcock. As in, “Do you know how to spatchcock a chicken?”

Well, I’ve recently been spatchcocking chickens. It sounds a little disgusting, if not downright perverse but I promise you this is all on the up and up.

Spatchcocked chicken

The funny thing is that I’ve been cooking since I was 15 and have never heard the term. In case you don’t know either, it’s a way of cutting a chicken so you end up with a splayed or “butterflied” bird that bakes pretty quickly. It’s also a popular method of preparing a chicken for the BBQ but I haven’t tried that yet.

In a nutshell, you remove the backbone and sternum or keel of the bird, spread its legs, flip it over and flatten the thing out. Then you gussy it up with herbs like rosemary or summer savoury, add a little oil and lemon juice then bake for an hour. There are loads of recipes floating around but this one is simple and delicious. I also added some chunked up potatoes and carrots during the cooking process.

I learned about this from my friend Donna Lee Cain. She brought a spatchcocked chicken graced with veggies to my home one night. I had just been home a few days after being in the hospital for a hip replacement. So getting this was a treat. And I was so impressed with this meal that I vowed to take up the sport of spatchcocking as soon as I was mobile.

I’m now a convert.

There are lots of “how-to” videos on the internet like the one below. Let me know how you make out!


  1. Darlene Surette Darlene Surette
    November 17, 2010    

    Sounds yummy Sandra!!Must give this a Try!!

  2. Marjorie Kildare Marjorie Kildare
    November 18, 2010    

    I’m a great cook…so I’ll spatchcock a chicken next week, for sure!

  3. November 18, 2010    

    Great cooking demo!!

  4. November 18, 2010    

    Hi Sandra,
    I love funny and perverse, and I love your new blog. Very clean. Great idea. I need
    to update my static web site too, but haven’t found the time because
    my blog gets so much traffic and work. So, keep in touch in bloggyland.
    All the best Sandra!

  5. November 18, 2010    

    Sounds yummy, Sandra. Thanks for sharing.

    And congrats on the new blog. It looks great!


  6. margo margo
    November 28, 2010    

    I was all set to try this and then I looked at the video and got a little wary… I mean I’ve only been eating meat for about 2 months so maybe this was a little over ambitious. The chicken is in the sink and your not home to call for a new game plan or a pep talk to go for it. Poor little chicken. Scared little Margo.

  7. November 28, 2010    

    Margo you are so funny. Just close your eyes and do it (just don’t get your fingers in the way.) Although spatchcocking a chicken is a lot easier than cutting and peeling a squash … and not half as dangerous.

  8. margo margo
    November 29, 2010    

    Done! And delicious… will make tasty lunches for me this week. Great post, can’t wait to read the next cooking item!

  9. November 29, 2010    

    Good news about your successful spatchcock Margo! Hope the others who posted also tried it?

    Thanks everyone for your positive comments. Starting to get the hang of this and enjoying it a lot!

    By the way, you can find more of my recipe columns at Life As A Human.http://lifeasahuman.com/author/sandraphinney/

  10. Sharon Sharon
    December 11, 2010    

    Hi, Sandra! Great blog… I’ll visit often… Spatchcocking is a great way to BBQ a chicken… sometimes it’s called ‘Chicken Under a Brick’ as some recipes call for a foil wrapped brick to go on top (or sometimes a cast iron pan). It helps the chicken cook all the way through without being dry. 🙂

  11. December 11, 2010    

    Thanks Sharon. I didn’t know about the brick … makes sense!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Welcome! This is where I occasionally post a story that's not filed under My Work ... or give a behind-the-scenes commentary (when fit to publish.) You'll also find notices about upcoming workshops, such as memoir or travel writing. Enjoy your visit and come back often. Better yet, subscribe!

EDITORS, please click on My Work and Photo Gallery in the menu bar to get the big picture of what I do.


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.