Dry Brined Spatchcock Chicken Au Jus is possibly the best roast chicken that you will ever eat! It’s tender, moist and incredibly flavorful. What’s even better is that it only takes 45 minutes to cook.
What is Spatchcocking?
Spatchcocking is a cooking technique whereby the backbone and sometimes the breastbone is cut out of the chicken allowing it to be flattened or butterflied. It results in a perfectly roasted chicken with crispy skin.
The reason is that spatchcocking provides perfectly roasted chicken with crispy skin is that allows the legs to be exposed to more heat so that they’re done at the same time as the breast. Also, more skin is exposed to the heat resulting in the crispy skin.
If you don’t want to spatchcock the chicken, you can also use the dry brine technique on Dry Brined Roast Chicken.
Here’s What You Need To Make Spatchcock Chicken
The ingredients for Spatchcock chicken are minimal:
- The Chicken: You’ll need a 4 to 5 pound whole chicken
- The Dry Brine: For the dry brine, you only need Kosher salt and baking powder.
- Olive Oil: Before baking the chicken, you’ll need to drizzle on olive oil to enhance the crispiness of the skin.
Why Dry Brining is Superior to Wet Brining
When you hear the word brine, you probably think of a liquid solution of salt, sugar, and water. The poultry is submerged in the wet brine for a period of time During this time, the brine soaks into the skin and the meat. The result is a more flavorful and moist poultry
While wet brining works well, dry brining is even better because it doesn’t soak the skin and plump the meat with water. Rather, the dry brine dries out the skin while flavoring the meat. The result is crispier skin and better tasting chicken!
For more information about dry brining versus wet brining, check out Serious Eats.
How Prepared the Spatchcock Chicken and Dry Brined it
- To start, I lined a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and placed a wire rack on the baking sheet.
- Then, I cut both sides of the chicken’s backbone with kitchen shears, removed it and cut it into 1-inch pieces.
The reason for cutting the removed backbone into pieces was that I used it later for the Au Jus.
- Next, I removed the breastbone so that the chicken would lie flat. I saved the breastbone for use in making the Au Jus.
- I placed the flattened chicken, skin side up on the wire rack, and tucked in its wings.
- Finally, I patted the chicken dry with paper towels.
- After that, I made the dry brine by mixing together Kosher salt and baking powder. You may think that baking powder is an odd ingredient for the dry brine. However, the baking powder promotes even browning.
- I liberally sprinkled the salt/baking powder all over the skin-side of the chicken, making sure that I had covered all of the skin surface.
That’s it – the chicken was ready to go into the refrigerator for about 10 hours to allow the dry brine to do its magic.
Time to Cook the Spatchcock Chicken
I prepped the spatchcock chicken in the morning before going to work. After about 10 hours when it was time to cook the chicken, I preheated the oven to 450° F.
Then, I removed I removed the chicken from the refrigerator, drizzled on some olive oil, and sprinkled it with some freshly ground black pepper.
I put the chicken in the 450°F preheated oven when the oven reached temperature. After about 45 minutes, the breast had reached 150°F and the thighs had reached 170°F.
The chicken was perfectly done! I removed it from the oven and covered it with aluminum foil for about 15 minutes.
Here’s How I Made the Au Jus for the Spatchcock Chicken
While the chicken was roasting, I made the Au Jus using the following ingredients: Olive oil, chicken backbone pieces and breastbone, onion, celery, carrots, vermouth, water, soy sauce, butter, and lemon juice.
- First, I browned the backbone and breastbone in some olive oil in a small saucepan over medium high heat until browned, about three minutes.
- Then, I added the chopped onion, celery, and carrots, and continued cooking the mixture for another three minutes or so.
- I deglazed the pan with the vermouth and added the water. I reduced the heat to medium low and cooked the mixture for 30 minutes.
- After that, I strained out the solids and returned the liquid to the pan. I boiled the liquid over medium high until it had reduced to about ⅓ cup. This took seven or eight minutes.
- Finally, I removed the pan from the heat, whisked in the soy sauce, butter, and lemon juice, and seasoned the Au Jus to taste with salt and pepper.
The result was the very best roast chicken that I have ever had. It was juicy, incredibly tender, and perfectly cooked. The Au Jus added a special touch! Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
Spatchcock chicken is flattened before cooking. This allows the chicken to cook more evenly so that the breast and thigh meat are done at the same time. Also, the chicken cooks more quickly and results in a crispier, golden brown skin.
Both spatchcock and butterfly are similar techniques for chicken. However, spatchcocking refers to removing the chicken’s backbone and breastbone and then flattening the chicken by pressing on the breast. Butterflying chicken means to slice a chicken breast horizontally almost three-quarters of the way and opening it like a book. To butterfly a chicken simply means to slice a boneless chicken breast horizontally almost three-quarters of the way and then opening it out like a book.
Dry brining involves rubbing the chicken with salt and baking powder. You can also include sugar and herbs in the dry brine. This way, the entire chicken is covered with the dry brine. Wet brining involves adding the salt and other brining ingredients to water or some other liquid and immersing the chicken in the liquid.
Baking powder enhances the browning of the skin.
The Spatchcock chicken is basically roast chicken. Therefore, a number of side dishes work well with this recipe like mashed potatoes, risotto, roasted potatoes, steamed broccoli, asparagus, etc. You really can’t go wrong with the side dishes.
Au jus, (pronounced like “zhoo”) is a French cooking term that literally means “with juice”. It refers to a light gravy made using fat drippings from meat like chicken.
If you’d rather not bother with spatchcocking the chicken, try my delicious Dry Brined Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables.
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Dry Brined Spatchcock Chicken Au Jus
- 4 to 5 pound whole chicken
- 1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium onion chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 medium carrot peeled and chopped (about ½ cup)
- 1 stalk of celery chopped (about ½ cup)
- 1 cup (8-ounces) dry vermouth
- 1 cup (8-ounces) water
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preparing the Chicken
- Using sharp kitchen shears, remove the backbone from the chicken. Cut backbone into several 1-inch pieces and set aside. With a boning knife, remove the breastbone; set aside. Flatten the chicken by placing skin-side up and applying pressure. Transfer skin-side up to a wire rack set in a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Tuck the wings. Pat dry with paper towels.
- Combine Kosher salt and baking powder in a small bowl. Sprinkle skin-side of chicken liberally with salt/baking powder. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Cooking the Spatchcock Chicken
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Remove chicken from refrigerator; do not rinse. Drizzle skin-side of chicken with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Roast chicken until thickest part of breast registers 150°F on an instant-read thermometer and joint between thighs and body registers at least 175°F, about 45 minutes total. Remove from oven; tent with aluminum foil for 15 minutes.
- While chicken is roasting, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small saucepan over high heat until shimmering. Add chicken backbone and breastbone and cook, stirring frequently, until well browned, about 3 minutes. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Deglaze with vermouth and 1 cup of water, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Reduce heat to maintain simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Strain out solids and return liquid to pan. Boil over medium-high heat until approximately ⅓ cup remains, about 7 minutes. Whisk in soy sauce, butter, and lemon juice off heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings.