RECIPE: Spice Rubbed Spatchcocked Chicken

Spring is sooooooo close, I can feel it. Can you feel it? When spring comes, I want to eat lighter with cool salads and grilled meals, but we are just not there yet. We are in the wild swings of spring. In fact, it's snowing outside right now (so depressing). Yet, it's going to be 50's this weekend. The cold blustry days still call for comfort food and slow roasting in the oven. Those dinners, you usually make on a weekend where you have time to baby a whole chicken or beef roast for hours. Fortunately, you can cut the time down on roasting chickens by spatchcocking the chicken, making roasting easier for a weeknight. It's a method of cutting out the back spine and flattening the bird, so it cooks evenly and quickly. This method is also great for grilling. I will be uploading a how-to video on doing this technique on my youtube channel, in my Kitchen Basics playlist. Please subscribe so you don't miss it (shameless plug ;) )!

So back to this dish. The rub is very easy and allows for a sweet, smokey crispy skin. I used a baking sheet with a rim, to catch juices and allow for an even roast. Use those juices liberally with a brush to baste the chicken as it roasts. This was sooo good. My family loved the flavor of the rub. I suggest if you can, make a double batch and keep it in a glass jar to have on hand for even quicker meal prep (I would call it "Smoky-Sweet"). I do the same with my coffee rub as well. Rubs are great to have ready in your spice cabinet for speedy cooking.

I'm counting the days until we can move from roasting to grilling! Come on spring!

Spice Rubbed Spatchcocked Chicken
Adapted from the New York Times food section


4-5 pound whole chicken, spatchcocked, patted dry (Save the spine if you like in the freezer to use for stock later)

1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar 
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 
1 teaspoon of Ancho chili powder 
1 teaspoon paprika 
1 teaspoon dry mustard 
1 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper 
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 dried bay leaves, crushed in your hand finely 
1/2 teaspoon of onion powder 
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder 


Mix rub ingredients in a small bowl. Spatchcock the chicken. Do this by taking kitchen shears and cutting the back spine out of the chicken. Flip the chicken over so it is breast side up. Then with the palm of your hand, push down on the breast area until you hear a 'pop' and the chicken lies flat. Place in a pan or deep dish, breast side up. Loosen skin so that fingers can wiggle underneath. Flip the bird again and rub 1/3 of the rub all over the open cavity. Flip bird back over so it is breast side up. Spread the rub evenly under the skin then finally, all over the top of the skin too. Let it sit in the rub for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 400˚. Have the chicken come up to room temperature for an hour before baking. Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet lightly sprayed with olive oil. Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes, maybe more. Use a basting brush to baste the chicken with its juices as you go. You want a meat thermometer to register at 150˚ in the thickest part of the thigh or breast and the juices to run clear. Let sit, tented with foil, for 10 minutes before carving and serving. I like serving this chicken with spiced potatoes (recipe here) and some steamed broccoli. 

* note, you can use a deeper pan, raise the chicken on a broiler rack and place the potatoes all around the chicken, and let the potatoes cook in the juices with the chicken. This would be delicious, but fair warning, not low calorie. 

Some recipe process shots:



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