Lemon & Rosemary Roast Spatchcocked Chicken

Lemon & Rosemary Roasted Spatchcock Chicken

It’s difficult to take a photograph that does something as delicious as roasted chicken justice.

It’s difficult mainly because when face to face with a fragrant lemon and rosemary roasted bird, I want to get myself to the dinner table as quickly as possible, not futz around with making a spatchcocked chicken look cute for a picture.  You understand, I’m sure.

Wait.  There it is again.  That word.  Spatchcock.  It was in the title, too.  What does it mean?

You probably already know, I mean you look at food blogs, after all.  But my boyfriend, who is reading this over my shoulder, is wondering what the heck he just ate for dinner.

Spatchcocking is just another word for butterflying.  Sorry to disappoint you with such a simple explanation, but since it’s my favorite way to roast a chicken, I deem it worth sharing.  The backbone is removed and the bird is pressed and flattened.  A spatchcocked chicken will cook faster, more evenly, and allow all of the skin to crisp.  You can roast a spatchcocked chicken in the oven, as I have here, or you can grill it for an even more life-changing experience.  Plus, it’s a funny word for a process that yields a kind of funny looking bird.

To spatchcock a chicken, place it breast-side down.  I work on a rimmed baking sheet so the mess is contained.  Use kitchen shears or a sharp chef’s knife and cut along each side of the backbone.  Toss the backbone in the freezer and save it for your next batch of chicken stock.

Spatchcock Chicken

Flip and press the breastbone to flatten.  Done; you have now spatchcocked.  Thinly slice half of a lemon and slip a few slices under the skin of the chicken, along with a sprig or two of fresh rosemary.  Rub generously with salt and pepper.

Spatchcocked Chicken with Lemon & Rosemary

Lay the chicken over baby potatoes and roast until the skin is golden and crispy, the potatoes are browned on the outside and creamy on the inside, and your kitchen smells absolutely unbelievable.

Spatchcocked Chicken with Lemon & Rosemary

This roast chicken is so unfussy, I can’t bring myself to fuss too much with pictures.  I hope you’ll forgive me; I’ve got to put the camera down and get to the table.  Who doesn’t love a good roast chicken?

Lemon & Rosemary Roasted Chicken

Lemon & Rosemary Roast Spatchcocked Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
I used to fuss more with roasted chicken, rubbing herbed butters under the skin and changing the oven temperature to get the skin just right. I can honestly say that this easy recipe with just a few ingredients yields a bird every bit as delicious.
Recipe type: Dinner, Entree
Cuisine: French, American
Serves: 4
  • 1 Chicken (3-4#)
  • ½ Lemon, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 Sprigs of Rosemary
  • 1½# Baby Potatoes (or larger potatoes cut into wedges)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. To spatchcock the chicken, lay it breast-side down on a cutting board or sheet pan. Cut along both sides of the backbone. Remove the backbone (you can save it to use in stock). Remove any excess skin. Flip the chicken, so it is skin-side up. Press to flatten.
  3. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Loosen the chicken's skin and insert lemon slices and rosemary needles over the breasts and legs. Rub the outside of the chicken well with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  4. Place potatoes in a roasting pan. Drizzle very lightly (about 1 tsp.) with olive oil, sprinkle with a sprig or so of rosemary, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and place the chicken over the potatoes, skin-side up. Roast until the skin is crisp and the juices run clear, about 50 minutes. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before carving. Serve with the roasted potatoes and pan juices.



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