Dry brined with herbs, this butterflied roasted chicken is super flavorful and juicy! Using the spatchcock technique allows for even cooking in less time than a traditional roast.
Nothing is better than filling your home with smells of a fragrant roasted chicken. I especially like cooking the bird on a hearty bed of root vegetables, similar to my lemon and herb roasted chicken recipe. It’s a full meal all in one! But I wanted to try a few new techniques to make an even more flavorful meal.
As the holidays are approaching I feel like this year’s culinary buzz words for cooking your poultry is dry-brine and spatchcock, aka butterflied. Both of these preparation and cooking techniques are designed to save you time in the kitchen while adding flavor and even cooking.
Allowing your poultry to sit in a salt water brine or dry brine sprinkled on the surface helps slightly break down and loosen the muscle fibers, which in turn causes less contraction of the proteins when cooked, and less moisture is lost. During the process of brining, moisture can be absorbed into the muscle fibers, resulting in a juicier bird.
After reading more about dry brining, I decided to try a salt herb dry brine. The salt added directly to the surface of the chicken at first draws out the moisture through osmosis, the salt is dissolved in the liquid, then gets reabsorbed, creating concentrated salty goodness! Wet brines can leave the chicken flavor a little more diluted than dry brining.
Dry brining vs. wet brining – What’s the REAL benefit?
I made a dried herb (oregano, thyme, and bay leaves) and salt mixture, then liberally sprinkled it on the surface and inside the cavity of the chicken, and wrapped it in plastic wrap for 24 hours. I then rinsed the surface of the chicken and dried very well before removing the backbone.
To get an even crispier skin, you can allow the brined chicken to air dry in the refrigerator with skin exposed about another 24 hours before roasting. Dry brining is not for the salt averse, the savory flavors come through, and it’s terrific yet strong.
Now for the cooking… Spatchcock or butterflied preparation is mostly cutting the backbone out of the poultry. This technique allows you to open up and flatten out the bird, evenly exposing the entire chicken to the roasting temperatures in the oven. What does this mean? Shorter cooking time and even cooking of the breast and thighs. No more dry meat, yay!
Step-by-step guide: How to Spatchcock a chicken
A little muscle and grit to remove the backbone, and you’re all set! If you become a fan of this method, heavy-duty kitchen shears to more easily remove the backbone may be an excellent investment. Combining these two techniques are a winning team! You can serve this butterflied roasted chicken with your favorite holiday sides like whipped mashed potatoes and sauteed brussels sprouts with bacon, yum!
Benefits of butterflying a chicken
- Even Cooking– The chicken breasts and legs lay flat while cooking, the breast, and thigh should finish cooking around the same time. Shoot for 150-165°F for the breasts and 165-170°F for the thighs.
- Crispier Skin– The surface area of the skin is almost equally exposed to the heat when butterflied.
- Faster Cooking– Flattening the chicken out makes the meat thinner and quicker to cook, nearly cutting the cook time in half!