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I've spatchcocked a lot of chickens, but....

jeffinsgfjeffinsgf Posts: 1,259
edited 8:50PM in EggHead Forum
none matched last night's results.

Brined two whole chickens for 4 hours, rinsed, dried, dusted with DP Shakin' The Tree, and put in the refrigerator uncovered for 2 hours.

Cooked at 375 raised direct for about an hour and a half. Wife likes her chicken well and truly done. I like mine juicy, but don't like under-cooked. Hit the perfect balance last night.

Did one other thing different...I removed the breastbone. Seems like a little thing, but it completely changed the way the bird lay on the cooking grid. Everything laid much flatter than when I would just smoosh it. Really good video on how to remove the breastbone here:

Things I took away from the cook...

1) Remove breastbone.
2) Brining is worth the effort.
3) Raised direct is better than normal height indirect.

Had friends over and we fell on one of the birds like a pack of hyenas -- nothing left but completely stripped bones. Served with Swiss chard bread pudding and fresh green beans from the garden.


  • MickeyMickey Posts: 18,734
    Just asking: Could you have cut the center of the bone and kept it in (still laying flat)?
    Reason for asking is I think (could be all in my mind)food is better with the bone.
    Your thoughts?
    Salado TX Egg Family: 3 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • jeffinsgfjeffinsgf Posts: 1,259

    Watch the video. The only bones you're removing are the backbone (as in a normal spatchcock) and the breastbone, which is mostly cartilage. I've done it dozens of times by cracking the breastbone, as outlined on the Naked Whiz site, but removing it changes the way the bird lays, and I think it cooked much more evenly. The rib bones are still there to give the breasts their shape and flavor.
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 18,734
    :blush: :blush: :blush: :whistle:
    You are correct: watch the video :blush: :blush:
    Ok will do that next time. Do a lot of spatchcocked.
    Salado TX Egg Family: 3 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • jeffinsgfjeffinsgf Posts: 1,259
    My first one didn't go quite as smooth as the guy in the video, but didn't miss it by much. The second one popped out just exactly like the video. It's amazing that the little piece of cartilage that you cut through keeps that keel bone in place so firmly otherwise.
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    jeffinsgf, I take that keel bone and cartilage out most every time. Sunday we grilled two chicks spatchcock and under 3 pounds. very very good. I have also done the low sodium flavor brine with great results. ;) Tim
  • loco_engrloco_engr Posts: 3,673
    What is your brine recipe?
  • SmokeyPittSmokeyPitt Posts: 9,860
    Good tip. Thanks for sharing. I tried my first spatchcock last week and I loved it. It seems like removing the breast bone is pretty simple and will allow it to sit flatter. I also like the idea of removing some of the tissue from where the backbone is cut. Better presentation.

    Which came first the chicken or the egg?  I egged the chicken and then I ate his leg. 

  • Charlie tunaCharlie tuna Posts: 2,191
    Thanks for the tips--i'll be trying it today !
  • BigABigA Posts: 1,157
    thanks for the info and video. would you be willing to share the brine recipe with us? :) :)
  • JLOCKHART29JLOCKHART29 Posts: 5,897
    That sounds great. Wish you had some pics of it! ;) I have done a lot of Spatchocks myself but never with bone removed. Will have to try that.
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    While your waiting for a reply look this link over. Tim :)
  • NibbleMeThisNibbleMeThis Posts: 2,293
    Good feedback.

    I need to try removing the keelbone again. I have watched that video before and mine did not come out anywhere near as easy. Practice, practice, practice.
    Knoxville, TN
    Nibble Me This
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    BigA, Look at my reply to loco_engr. Tim :)
  • jeffinsgfjeffinsgf Posts: 1,259
    What I'm sharing here comes Michael Ruhlman's book on charcuterie, which is the process of salting, smoking and curing meats to enhance their flavor and to preserve them. It is a book that I highly recommend for anyone with an Egg, even if you never plan to make your own cured meats. There's really valuable stuff in there.

    Ruhlman's basic brine recipe for any meat:

    One gallon of water
    1 cup of kosher salt
    1/2 cup of sugar

    To this, add your choice of herbs and spices. His suggestion for poultry is:

    a couple bay leaves
    a head of garlic sliced horizontally
    one onion, sliced
    three tablespoons coarsely crushed black pepper
    2 lemons

    What I used yesterday:

    bay leaves
    most of a garlic head (a few cloves missing)
    one onion
    lots of coarse black pepper
    one lemon
    two tablespoons Dizzy Pig Shakin' The Tree

    Brine 4 to 12 hours (more for larger birds) then rinse under cold running water, pat dry and let the bird sit uncovered in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours.

    When I seasoned the chicken after the brine, I made a paste with Shakin' The Tree and butter. I schmeared that under the skin of the breast and thighs.
  • NC-CDNNC-CDN Posts: 703
    Thanks for the link. Good video. Easy to follow. I'll be sure to do that next time I do one. Maybe this Friday actually.

  • jeffinsgfjeffinsgf Posts: 1,259
    Great stuff on that page. How have I missed that? I thought I'd memorized every page of Thirdeye's site. :laugh:

    One thing mentioned there, that I did not mention in my recipe post (and should have) is cooling the brine. If you put your chicken in the hot brine, you'll make some really great chicken soup. :woohoo:

    Using Ruhlman's base recipe, I use 1/2 gallon of water to dissolve the salt, sugar and spices, then fix a half gallon of ice water (more ice than water) and dump it in after everything has simmered for a while. Then that goes in the freezer until it is room temp or below.
  • jeffinsgfjeffinsgf Posts: 1,259

    I need to practice more, too, but it seems to me that the critical part is that first cut. I had to make two cuts to release both sides of the keel bone.
  • BigABigA Posts: 1,157
    thanks fr the info, i will have to give those a try.
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    If you like brining chicken try it on pork. :P

    Here is a past post I had a lot of fun with. :P
  • eenie meenieeenie meenie Posts: 4,393
    jeffinsgf, I normally just give my chicken a big whack with a heavy skillet to flatten it out. I'll have to give this a try sometime.
  • jeffinsgfjeffinsgf Posts: 1,259
    I think you'll like it. It amazed me. Like you, I've always whacked or strong-armed it flat. Then, when cutting the chicken one half gets the keel to fight around. By popping it out, the whole body was as pliable as a half empty water balloon and when it was done, splitting it in two couldn't have been easier and the presentation was better.
  • jeffinsgfjeffinsgf Posts: 1,259
    Brined pork chops are a favorite around here. I'll have to try "Brine Lite".
  • loco_engrloco_engr Posts: 3,673
    Thanks Tim
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