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Spatchcock. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a butterfly?

back to the coop

There seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding the ol’ spatchcock and what it is exactly. But alas, we’re so much more than just a poultry supplier – we also supply solutions regarding all things poultry, and in this case, that means answers.

What is a spatchcock?

In general, a spatchcock is a young chicken, usually 3 weeks of age, that’s prepared by means of spatchcocking. However, it should be noted that other types of poultry can also be spatchcocked.

Spatchcocking was believed to have been first referenced in 18th-century Irish cookbooks and refers to a specific way of preparing the chicken so it can be flattened to roast or bbq in half the time. Due to the nature of cutting through the bones in order to flatten the bird, the technique became increasingly easier to practice on smaller birds – hence why it became more commonly associated with young chickens over time.

How do you spatchcock?

Using a sturdy pair of kitchen scissors and an optional pair of skewers, you’ll basically be butterflying the chicken (or quail, etc.).

  • Turn the chicken upside down with the legs facing toward you.
  • Cut down either side of the pope’s nose (tail) through the ribs, all the way to the top. Be sure not to throw away that centre as it can be used to make a great stock.
  • Flip the chicken over and flatten it down with your hands. If you want it to hold its shape throughout the cooking process, use each skewer to poke through the leg and into the diagonal breast (so the 2 skewers end up in an X shape).

Why buy a spatchcock?

Due to the flattened shape, a spatchcock cooks in a fraction of the time it takes to cook its larger counterparts. More importantly though, because of the chicken’s young age, spatchcocks are more tender and have a more delicate texture, resulting in an elevated flavour profile. Although the same reason it can half the cooking time is also the reason many people don’t cook it right; which is why it’s considered a gourmet product that usually calls for experienced butchers and chefs to handle.

Where can you buy spatchcock?

At M&J, of course!

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