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How To — Spatchcock a Chicken

another pantry
Safia Shakarchi — 2022

In our ‘How To —’ guides we’ll be taking you through different techniques to up your game in the kitchen. There might be that one recipe you really want to make but there’s probably a step in the process that has totally put you off, and we feel you, so we’re setting out to help demystify a few things.

If there’s anything in particular you want us to make a guide for, just drop us an email at and we’ll get to it.

We’re starting off this series with spatchcocking a chicken. It’s one of those techniques you’ll see in a recipe and probably immediately avoid, or you might even have no idea what it is, and you’re not alone. In our Spring 2022 Edit, you’ll spot it in Nuno Mendes’s Piri Piri Chicken, so it felt only right to explain what it all means.

“Spatchcocking a chicken reduces the cooking time significantly, meaning more time for you to enjoy your Sunday and still have a seriously good roast chicken for lunch.”

Although it seems like a bit of a weird one, when you try it you’ll find it’s actually pretty simple and it can take your roast chicken up a notch. It reduces the cooking time significantly, meaning more time for you to enjoy your Sunday and still have a seriously good chicken for lunch.

Step one

Pat your chicken dry and place it top side down on your chopping board.

Step Two

Locate the backbone of the chicken with your fingers. Using a strong pair of kitchen scissors, carefully cut along one side of the backbone, all the way from top to bottom. Repeat, cutting along the other side of the backbone.

Step Three

Carefully remove the bone you have just cut loose, open up the chicken a little and flip over.

Step Four

Using the palm of your hand, flatten the breasts down so that the chicken becomes more of an even height throughout.

Step Five

This one is optional and more for looks, but you can also cut off the feet of the chicken should you wish to.

It’s as simple as that. Now you’ve prepared a chicken that will roast in about half the time, cook evenly and taste just as delicious. This is also a great one if you want to pop a whole chicken on a BBQ.

Photography: Safia Shakarchi
Food Styling: Hattie Arnold

Read more: Nuno Mendes’s Piri Piri Chicken

Try out your new-found spatchcocking skills by making a whole roast piri piri chicken from our favourite Portuguese chef, Nuno. Click for here the recipe.

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