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VOL. 40 | NO. 30 | Friday, July 22, 2016

Spatchcocking? Funny word, good results

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Strange word, huh? It was for me, too. I’ve been cooking and reading recipes and articles on food preparation for a long time, but this is the first time I have run across spatchcock.

Last week my column was about food preparation words that are not seen on a daily basis by casual chefs, but I failed to find this word when I was doing my research. I didn’t run across it until this week when I was reading a recipe from Kraft foods.

Now I know how to spatchcock. The recipe at right will teach you, if you don’t already know how.

From the world of Wikipedia, spatchcock is a “historical term for a culled immature male chicken but increasingly denotes a preparation technique. The spatchcock, also known as “spattlecock,” is poultry or game that has been prepared for roasting or grilling by removing the backbone, and sometimes the sternum of the bird and flattening it out before cooking.

The preparation of a bird in such a manner for cooking may also be known as butterflying the bird. The term “spatchcock” is used when the backbone is removed, whether or not the sternum is removed. Removing the sternum allows the bird to be flattened more fully.”

The word is of Irish origin, from the late 18th century, meaning to split open a game bird or poultry to prepare it for cooking. However, in Britain, it can also mean to add a phrase, sentence, or clause in a context where it is inappropriate, i.e. “a new clause has been spatchcocked into the bill.”

I think I will stick to the Irish term for now. I am more Irish than I am British, anyway.

So I made the recipe given from Kraft, and it was quite good, although I have to confess, I did not use Kraft BBQ sauce. I used Rendezvous’ from Memphis, of which I am very partial.

How to spatchcock (or butterfly) a chicken

For best results, dry chicken completely before cutting so it is not slippery. Place chicken, breast side down, on cutting board. Starting at the tail end, cut up towards the neck along one side of the backbone, and then cut up along the other side of the backbone to remove it. Place chicken, skin side up, and press down firmly to flatten.

This technique – splitting, then flattening a chicken – yields a perfect roasted chicken in half an hour – about 15 minutes faster than a whole roasted bird. It exposes more skin, which crisps up nicely at higher temperatures. The basic method is easy and you can customize it with your favorite ingredients.

If you have never tried this method, maybe you should; especially on the grill. It is yummy. I think I’ll make the spatchcocked chicken with potatoes next.

All of Kay’s past recipes can now be accessed on our website at www.dailyrecord.us.

Kay Bona is an award-winning columnist and photographer. Contact her at kay@dailydata.com.

Spatchcocked Chicken with Potatoes

1 spatchcocked chicken

Coarse salt and ground pepper

4 thin lemon slices

4 sprigs thyme

1/2 pound new potatoes, quartered

1 yellow onion, cut into 8 wedges

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Season chicken with salt and ground pepper. Using your fingers, loosen skin from breast meat; tuck lemon slices and 2 springs thyme between skin and meat. Place chicken, breast side up, in a pan. In a bowl, toss potatoes, onion wedges, and 2 sprigs thyme with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Add to pan.

Roast chicken until juices run clear when pierced between breast and leg (an instant-read thermometer should read 165 degrees when inserted in thickest part of a thigh, avoiding bone), about 30 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before carving.

Grilled “Cola-Q” Chicken

1 cup cola

1/2 cup KRAFT Original Barbecue Sauce

2 Tbsp. hot pepper sauce

1 whole broiler-fryer chicken (3 lb.)

Heat grill for indirect grilling: Light one side of grill, leaving other side unlit. Close lid; heat grill to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, cook cola and barbecue sauce in saucepan on medium heat 10 min., stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in hot sauce. Reserve 3/4 cup sauce to serve with the grilled chicken.

Cut out backbone of chicken carefully with kitchen shears or sharp knife.

Place chicken, skin side up, on work surface; press firmly to flatten.

Place chicken, breast side down, on grill grate over lit area; cover with lid. Grill 15 min.; turn, then place over unlit area. Grill 25 to 30 min. or until chicken is done (165ºF), monitoring for consistent grill temperature, turning and brushing occasionally with remaining barbecue sauce mixture for the last 15 min. Serve with the reserved barbecue sauce mixture.

Grilling a Spatchcock Chicken

For best results, grill chicken on clean grates. Let stand 15 min. before carving.

How to Grill with Indirect Heat

When grilling over indirect heat, the food is not cooked directly over the heat source. The covered grill then acts like an oven, so there is no need to turn the food. Use this grilling method for foods that require at least 25 min. of grilling time or foods that are so delicate that direct exposure to the heat source would dry them out, such as roasts, whole chickens, thick steaks, ribs or delicate fish fillets.

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