Chicken & Poultry/ Christmas/ Jamaican/ Main Dishes & Entrées/ Thanksgiving

Jerk Spatchcock Chicken

March 11, 2024

Learn how to spatchcock a chicken with this easy Jerk Spatchcock Chicken recipe. This butterfly chicken method is the best way to cook a whole chicken to juicy perfection and the Jamaican homemade jerk marinade infuses bold, spicy flavour into every bite.

jerk spatchcock chicken in skillet.

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Learn how to spatchcock a chicken with this easy Jerk Spatchcock Chicken recipe. This butterfly chicken method is the best way to cook a whole chicken to juicy perfection and the Jamaican homemade jerk marinade infuses bold, spicy flavour into every bite.

Check out this Roasted Herb & Garlic Butter Spatchcock Chicken recipe next. And if you love the bold, spicy, Caribbean flavour of Jamaican jerk sauce, try this traditional Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe, too!

close up of jerk spatchcock chicken breast in skillet.

Jerk Spatchcock Chicken Recipe

This spatchcock method will become your favourite way to roast a whole chicken. No brine or twine is necessary with this straightforward recipe! With golden brown, perfectly roasted skin, and juicy, jerk-infused meat just beneath the surface, spatchcock jerk chicken is incredibly mouthwatering.

And don’t worry; spatchcocking a chicken isn’t as hard as it seems. Once you learn how to butterfly a chicken, you’ll want to do it every time. Let’s dig in!

What is Spatchcock Chicken?

Spatchcocking (also known as butterflying) is a culinary technique that involves splitting a whole chicken in half by removing the backbone and flattening the carcass so each part of the bird cooks evenly. This method is used to efficiently roast or grill both chicken and turkey.

Why You Should Spatchcock Chicken

  • Cooks Faster: This chicken cooks in just under 1 hour, saving you at least 20 minutes of oven time.
  • Tastes Better: Typically when you cook a whole chicken, the white meat tends to dry out before the dark meat is completely cooked. Using this technique, the chicken cooks evenly so each part of the bird (breasts, thighs, legs and wings) is done at the same time, resulting in moist, juicy, tender chicken.
  • A Crowd Pleaser: The next time you have company, make this. It makes enough to feed a group of people and is easier to carve, making it simpler to portion and serve.
jerk chicken breasts sliced in plate.

Ingredients

  • Whole Chicken: Use a 3-4 pound chicken to serve 4-6 people.
  • Jerk Marinade: This homemade marinade is a rich blend of aromatics, fresh ingredients, a warm spice mix, and scotch bonnet pepper to add a fiery kick. It takes just 15 minutes to make and tastes so much better than store-bought versions.
  • Salt and Pepper: Add to taste.
  • Butter: Use butter to enhance the flavour and add moisture. It’s also a basting agent that contributes to crispy skin during roasting.
  • Chicken Stock: This helps keep the meat moist and flavourful while also creating a flavourful base for pan juices and gravy.

How to Spatchcock Chicken

Spatchcocking (Butterflying) Chicken

  1. Place the whole chicken on the cutting board with the breast side down. If there is excess fat or loose skin around the cavity, trim it away using kitchen shears or a knife.
  2. Starting from the tail end of the backbone of the chicken, use poultry shears or a sharp knife to cut along one side of the backbone. Then cut along the other side of the backbone, completely removing it.
  3. Turn the chicken over, breast side up. Open up the chicken and press down firmly on the breastbone with the heel of your hand to flatten it until you hear a slight crack. Tuck the wingtips behind the breast to prevent them from burning during cooking.

Spatchcock Jerk Chicken

  1. Place the spatchcocked chicken in a large zip-top bag or a shallow dish. Pour the jerk marinade over the chicken, ensuring it’s well-coated. Massage the marinade into the chicken then seal the bag or cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight for maximum flavour.
  2. Remove chicken from fridge, and let rest on counter to take the chill off and preheat the oven to 450°F (200°C). Transfer chicken to a roasting pan or a baking sheet dolloped with butter along with 1/4 cup chicken stock and leftover marinade. Roast for 10 minutes, then turn oven down to 400°F (200°C). Roast for another 45 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) or until juices run clear.
  3. Baste twice (30 min then at 45 mins), spooning pan juices over the skin. Allow the chicken to rest for about 10 minutes before carving, then serve and enjoy!

Recipe Substitutions

  • Seasoning: Although this tastes amazing with homemade jerk sauce, feel free to season the chicken however you like (with a spice rub or marinade). Consider using a blend of lemon, garlic, and herbs like thyme or rosemary for a refreshing and aromatic flavour profile. Alternatively, try a Mediterranean-inspired seasoning with olive oil, paprika, oregano, and lemon zest for a citrusy and herbaceous taste.
  • Grilled Spatchcock Chicken: Spatchcocked chicken is also excellent for grilling and gives the meat a smoky depth. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and grill the marinated chicken skin-side down first. Grill for 20-25 minutes on each side, flipping halfway through, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C). Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.
basting jerk chicken in skillet while cooking in oven.

What to Serve with Spatchcock Chicken

  • One Pan Meal: Add chopped veggies to the bottom of the roasting pan to make an easy family meal. Place the marinated chicken on top and the juices from the meat will flavour the vegetables. Try adding bell peppers and potatoes.
  • Roasted Vegetables: This is a classic pairing. Serve chicken with roasted brussels sprouts, asparagus or carrots.
  • Salad: Salad is a refreshing contrast to the spicy, savoury flavours of jerk spatchcock chicken. Try it with this Avocado Salad Recipe.
  • Rice: Add to the Caribbean flair by serving the chicken with one of my Jamaican rice recipes. Pumpkin Rice with Coconut Milk and Jamaican Rice and Peas are delicious options.
jerk chicken served with rice and peas and coleslaw on plate.

Tips for Butterfly Chicken

  • Use poultry shears or a sharp knife. Sharp tools make the spatchcocking process easier and more precise, ensuring clean cuts and a well-prepared chicken.
  • Instead of discarding the backbone, save it for later. You can make homemade chicken stock for soups or sauces.
  • Don’t skip the marinade. It makes a huge difference in the flavour and also tenderizes the meat. Let it sit for at least 4 hours so it can fully penetrate the meat.
  • Thoroughly coat the spatchcocked chicken with jerk marinade, ensuring it’s well-covered for maximum flavour infusion.
  • Dollop butter over the chicken during roasting and baste it with pan juices to enhance the flavour and add moisture. It’s also the key to achieving a golden-brown, crispy skin.
  • Allow the chicken to rest for about 10 minutes after roasting before carving to allow the juices to redistribute, ensuring moist and flavourful meat.

Storage & Reheating Instructions

Once the chicken has cooled, store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. For longer storage, place the container of jerk spatchcock chicken in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the fridge overnight before reheating.

To reheat, preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), place the chicken in an oven-safe dish, cover loosely with foil, and bake for 15-20 minutes until warmed through. Alternatively, microwave individual portions on a microwave-safe plate covered with a damp paper towel for 1-2 minutes until warmed through.

jerk spatchcock chicken in skillet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the downside of spatchcock?

Some people are offput by the presentation of spatchcock poultry. If you want a traditional roasted chicken or want to cook your bird with stuffing, this recipe may not be for you. But the pros far outweigh the cons!

How long does it take to cook a Spatchcock chicken?

The exact cooking time varies depending on the size of the chicken. It generally takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour to cook in the oven. The chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

Do you flip spatchcock chicken when cooking?

It’s not necessary to flip a spatchcock chicken in the oven. However, if you’re grilling the chicken you need to flip it halfway through so both sides cook evenly.

Interested in more Delicious Chicken Recipes? Check These Out!

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jerk spatchcock chicken in skillet.

Jerk Spatchcock Chicken

Taneisha Morris
Learn how to spatchcock a chicken with this easy Jerk Spatchcock Chicken recipe. This butterfly chicken method is the best way to cook a whole chicken to juicy perfection and the homemade jerk marinade infuses bold, spicy flavour into every bite.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Marinating Time 4 hours
Total Time 5 hours 10 minutes
Course Chicken & Poultry
Cuisine Jamaican
Servings 5 servings
Calories 252 kcal

Equipment

  • Poultry Shears or Sharp Knife For spatchcocking the chicken by removing the backbone.
  • Large Zip-Top Bag or Shallow Dish For marinating the spatchcocked chicken. The bag or dish should be large enough to hold the chicken and allow it to be evenly coated with the marinade.
  • Thermometer A meat thermometer is essential to check the internal temperature of the chicken, ensuring it reaches 165°F (74°C).

Ingredients
  

  • 1 whole Chicken 3-4 pounds
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup Jerk Marinade or use store-bought
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp Butter
  • 1/4 cup Chicken Stock or broth, add more as needed

Instructions
 

Spatchcocking (Butterflying) Chicken

  • Place the whole chicken on the cutting board with the breast side down. If there is excess fat or loose skin around the cavity, trim it away using kitchen shears or a knife.
  • Starting from the tail end of the backbone of the chicken, use poultry shears or a sharp knife to cut along one side of the backbone. Then cut along the other side of the backbone, completely removing it.
  • Turn the chicken over, breast side up. Open up the chicken and press down firmly on the breastbone with the heel of your hand to flatten it until you hear a slight crack. Tuck the wingtips behind the breast to prevent them from burning during cooking.

Spatchcock Jerk Chicken

  • Place the spatchcocked chicken in a large zip-top bag or a shallow dish. Pour the jerk marinade over the chicken, ensuring it's well-coated. Massage the marinade into the chicken then seal the bag or cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight for maximum flavour.
  • Remove chicken from fridge, and let rest on counter to take the chill off and preheat the oven to 450°F (200°C). Transfer chicken to a roasting pan or a baking sheet dolloped with butter along with 1/4 cup chicken stock and leftover marinade. Roast for 10 minutes, then turn oven down to 400°F (200°C). Roast for another 45 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) or until juices run clear.
  • Baste twice (30 min then at 45mins), spooning pan juices over the skin. Allow the chicken to rest for about 10 minutes before carving, then serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Combine chicken stock with leftover marinade, pour the mixture into the skillet to enhance the cooking process. Use this liquid for basting, and as the chicken cooks, it will naturally thicken, creating a flavourful gravy.

Nutrition

Calories: 252kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 8gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 849mgPotassium: 1369mgFiber: 19gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 19467IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 180mgIron: 9mg

Note, the nutritional information is calculated using a nutrition facts calculator. It is a rough estimate and can vary based on products used.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Leave a star rating and a comment below! You can also tag @theseasoned.skillet and use #theseasonedskillet on Instagram!
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