The Food Lab Video Series: The Science of Spatchcocking

The Food Lab

Unraveling the mysteries of home cooking through science.

Serious Eats


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[Video: Written by J. Kenji López-Alt; produced by Chris Mohney and Nick Perron-Siegel]

Editor's Note: Several years ago, we produced a Food Lab video series for Serious Eats. The only problem? It lived behind a paywall, and almost nobody got to see it. Now, we're finally releasing it to our readership for free. You can check out more episodes here.

I’m gonna keep this as short and sweet as possible. This video is about roasting chickens. There are many ways to roast a chicken. Many of them are excellent.

But here’s my advice, and it’s been the same for almost a decade now: spatchcock it.

Spatchcocked chicken has been split down its back (the easiest way is to cut out its backbone with a pair of sturdy kitchen shears). This process helps the chicken cook more evenly, increases the amount of crispy skin, and leads to record-fast cook times. Bonus: if learn how to do this to a chicken, you’ve got the skills to roast the fastest, crispest, juiciest spatchcock Thanksgiving turkey, too. (Read the details on spatchcocked turkey here.)

Sound good to you? Excellent! Need more details? Watch the video! I’m not here to handhold anyone. (Except my daughter when she’s crossing the street.)