There are a million and one different ways to prepare a chicken. You can fry it, bake it, grill it, roast it, and even spatchcock it. Cooking chicken can be an incredibly simple thing to do and a quick way to throw dinner together. It is so versatile and can be so flavorful when prepared correctly. So, read on to find out exactly the difference between spatchcock and normal chicken and see which one appeals to you.
The Biggest Difference
When you spatchcock a chicken, you butterfly the chicken by removing the backbone and breast bones. If you’re cooking a whole chicken, wings, drumsticks, etc., the bones are left intact during the cooking process.
It may sound confusing, but I’ll explain the differences below. If you’ve never cooked one before, check out my spatchcock recipe, where I walk you through the entire process of preparing one.
So, What is Spatcocking?
The first thing that needs to be determined is what spatchcocking even is. At its very core, spatchcocking is just a fun name for the butterfly method of cooking chicken.
Spatchcocking a chicken means you are cutting out the backbone and pressing the chicken flat, so it cooks all at the same level. There are so many reasons to spatchcock a chicken, and many people will say this is the best, most flavorful way to prepare a chicken.
Purpose of Spatchcocking A Chicken?
There are so many great reasons to spatchcock a chicken versus cooking it in a more traditional sense. Since the chicken cooks on the same level all in one layer, you do not have to worry so much about cooking times. The chicken will cook more at one time, rather than the breast cooking faster than the thigh or vice versa.
Seasoning is also easier since there is no flipping required of the meat. Usually, you have to season one side, cook it a little bit, flip and reseason and hope they are even. Or, you season both sides while it is raw and some falls off, and you still have to just hope they are even.
With spatchcocking, the chicken is all facing upwards so you can season it all at one time, ensuring that the seasoning is nice, and even so, your chicken will be perfectly flavorful!
In addition to being perfectly seasoned, the skin will also all cook the same and at the same rate. It will be perfectly crispy all over, and no parts will be undercooked or soggy.
This gives you a more even cooking of the chicken, and no one will complain that someone else has a crispy piece while they don’t. That’s always a plus, right?
Since the chicken is lying flat on the grill, it is easy to lift it off the grates and transfer it to your cutting board. This results in easier cutting and serving of the chicken as well. No more having to angle knives and forks and fighting bones. Simply pull off the wings and thighs and cut into the rest!
Is It Hard to Make Spatchcock Chicken?
Spatchcocking can be an intimidating thing to try out for the first time. You have to cut in precisely the right place and make sure you have flattened the chicken correctly. Preparing chicken in other ways can be much easier while you get up the nerve to try spatchcocking. There are so many flavorful, easy, great ways to prepare it!
What’s The Difference Between Spatchock and Normal Chicken?
Spatchocking is different than preparing a chicken in the “normal” way. While you cut along the spine and flatten the chicken to spatchcock it, you do not do this to prepare it regularly. There are multiple ways to prepare it otherwise.
You can put a whole chicken on a grill. I’ve cooked a whole chicken more than once, and the Pit Boss makes it so easy to do.
That said, it is not all one layer like a spatchcocked chicken. It may or may not cook evenly. The breast might cook faster than the thighs since they are higher up and need to be removed before the thighs are done cooking. They risk being dried out while you wait for the rest of the chicken to cook.
Seasoning the chicken can be more difficult when it isn’t flat as well. You have to turn and flip the meat while it is raw or cooking, and since you can’t see the other side, it is harder to tell if the seasoning is even.
Sometimes you end up with one garlicky side and one salty side!
You do not have to cook your chicken whole, though. While spatchcocking is done to a whole chicken, you can prepare regular chicken however you want.
You can cook the pieces separately, doing just the breasts or just the thighs, or just the parts you like! There’s no right or wrong way to cook chicken, as long as it is cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F/74°C.
Whichever way you choose to cook it, make sure you cook it correctly and thoroughly, bringing it to the right temperature. This is incredibly important as cooking it all the way ensures the risk of bacteria is lowered.
Whether your spatchcock your chicken or prepare it in a different way, storing it is the same. Make sure you cut it small enough to fit into containers or sealable vacuum packages.
You can store it in the refrigerator for up to four days, or you can store it in the freezer for up to two months if in a plastic container. If you vacuum seal it, the chicken will last much longer. Either way, put the date on the container if you can so you can keep track of how long it is good for and when you should eat it up by.
Spatchcocking a chicken and preparing a chicken regularly are two very different things. Many will say that spatchcocking is even better than preparing the chicken in any other form.
Hopefully, this article helped you understand the differences between spatchcock chicken and normal chicken.
It can be difficult to do the first time but will get easier the more you try it. Whichever route you take to prepare your chicken, make sure it is thoroughly cooked to the right temperature. Store it the correct way and eat it all up before it goes bad. Have fun with the seasonings and enjoy your meal!